Pint number 33 given

I’d been meaning to give blood over the festive period but didn’t manage to… so it was good that the blood service text me the online login to sign up for an appointment and I made an appointment for today at 11.

It would be my 33rd pint of blood I’ve given, and we decided to go into town earlyish to get a good full breakfast before it. I also had a couple of coffees and a couple of glasses of water.

I did the usual questionnaire before giving and the iron / haemoglobin prick test. To give blood, as a female your blood / iron levels need to be 12.0mg or higher (up to 15)

Sometimes I’ve scraped just above 12mg and sometimes under it (so I wasn’t able to give). But this time I was surprised to get 14.5mg! The main thing I’ve changed is I’ve stopped taking a multivitamin for a few months… (I ran out and didn’t bother getting them again). And I’ve been trying to eat a bit better for the last few weeks… maybe it was the tasty chilly (lean mince) I had for lunch all week. Ha.

Whatever, it’s good to know that my iron levels are good. Afterwards was the usual tea cake reward and a drink of black currant and a wee sit down.

Today is of course a rest day and with the weather the way it is I might maybe go for a wee nice nap later on to recover. It’s all about balance.

If you want to (and can) give blood – click the link above. It’s easy. 🙂

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First interval session of 2020

Sorry about the last post.. looks like some of it got lost… but here I am again. Hopefully this one will work better.

This morning I was up and out for 6:45am for my first effort / interval session of the year. Historically I really don’t enjoy speedwork, but I know it’s good for you so I should do it more often.

Today’s session was a trial run for my marathon training… a 10 minute warm up, then 400m in HR zone 4, then 400m recovery x 8 and a 5 minute cool down.

I planned to run near the Clyde, near my work, because I know it’s flat and it’s a nice wee place to train, with even ground.

I ran the 10 minutes there and noticed that the strong winds that were forecast weren’t here yet. I slowed a bit when I got towards the Clyde, at the end of my warm up, to see if the Clyde would maybe show me what way the wind was blowing but it was pretty still. So I just started.

From the Millennium bridge, along East towards STV, not quite flat out, but my watch – Coach Kylie on my Garmin was telling me I was in my ‘desired heart rate zone’. Boak.

Before I knew it the first one was over and I turned around to go back, a slow recovery jog. Instead of covering the same ground 8 times, I decided I’d go over the bridge and run the next effort 400m past the Crowne Plaza hotel, then turns around and did my recovery 400m back to the starting point.

And I repeated these two efforts, 4 more times. Towards the end, the rain started and I felt a bit too over dressed / warm. But it was fine. Maybe shorts or capris and a T-shirt and jacket are required from now on.

Here’s were my splits.

1:43, 1:44, 1:48, 1:52, 1:46, 1:44, 1:52, 1:47

All in all I felt good – perhaps given the little pre workout boost I had at 620am… a mixture of lots of things including about 50mg of caffeine. It seemed to kick in when I needed it anyway.

It was pretty dark and miserable for most of the time, but I managed to run a little further than I expected, just over 5.6 miles in 48 mins.

What I do like about these types of runs are the graphs and stats you get out of garmin afterwards…

My heart rate was up in the high 160s on the efforts, just right and it went up to 171. Boak. Average 155. And my cadence was good, higher than the usual.

I nearly timed the run exactly, but had 30 seconds left to run when I got to my house, so I finished with the usual of the running just past it hoping no one would notice.

I stopped and my garmin told me I had a new threshold pace / HR to accept – 7:55 min mile / 166. That’ll do.

Afterwards I had a good serving of yoghurt with added protein powder, plus some blueberries and fruit and fibre. And a coffee, which I thought twice about drinking. But it all seems fine.

It’s good to be able to do this sort of thing and to have done it maybe an hour or so before it got light (and stormy) was even better. Let’s see if I can keep up the effort sessions!?

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Wk1 into Wk2 & Chilli

Last week was a continuation of the week before training wise, but I got a bit of a bolster from the New Year starting and hopefully some fresh plans ahead for 2020.

Last week I ran 4 times / 23 miles, and I did a few walks / 8 miles including a nice walk in Chatelherault Park on Hogmanay.

I had planned in training as strength, run, strength, run, strength etc… but listened to my body and took some needed rest days (x2).

I’d like to make these weekly posts more regular, so hopefully you’ll be hearing from me each week where I decide my training and plan what’s coming up the next week. (If you find it hard to keep motivated, it could be something you doreview your training / exercise / eating each week – and plan for the following week).

An avg of 12k steps a day was good and because I was off work, sleep was amazing with an average of 9 hrs per night. With some longer sleeps and some naps, but I also woke up early a few days. Nearly there.

Here’s what I did:

Sun 29: Spin & Runners Circuits 
Mon 30: 4.5M
Tue 31: 5M walk / rest
Wed: Rest
Thu: KB strength 
Fri: 6.5M
Sat: Rest / 30 min walk
Sun: 8.3M 

I was a little sore after the mostly bodyweight workout on Sunday… but not too bad. I have learned not to overdo it. But it meant I needed a rest day on Wednesday, and took one on Saturday, two days after KB strength. It all worked out well and I feel good on it.

I ran 4.5 miles to finish off my annual mileage for 2019, and then a 6.5 miler on Friday am and a longer one today with a nice 8oz steak after it. I probably didn’t need the prawns. But hey ho.

Now here’s the plan for next week:

Mon: Spin & Circuits
Tue: Run – 8 x 400m:400m
Wed: Run
Thu: Squat Strength 
Fri: Run
Sat: Deadlift Strength
Sun: Long Run

There are no rest days above, but I’ll take it as it comes with the strength training. I might rest on Thursday… or even Saturday.

This year I’m going to try to exercise a bit more inline with my hormones / cycle… I have a plan ready to start and I’ll explain it more soon. Once it kicks off.

Today I made some chilli for dinner and I’ll have it for lunch. It was a recipe from Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight Cook Book.

It was meant to have canned pumpkin in it (an American thing?)… I couldn’t find any so I just used tinned carrots. And I also blitzed the beans as I don’t really like them whole. I also added a small tin of chopped tomatoes. Easy peasy.

It says it makes 4 portions but I think it probably makes 8. And I think it needs at least double the spices to make it taste hot like chilli.

Recipe from Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight Cookbook – serves 4:

450g lean mince (turkey or meat)

1 red or yellow pepper

1 onion

1 tin black beans

1 tin kidney beans

1 tin chopped carrots

2 tables spoons tomato paste

1 small tin chopped tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon chilli

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt / to taste

1 1/2 cups water

1. Brown the mince, rinse off excess liquid.

(2. If you don’t like beans, blitz them in a food processor first with some water)

3. Mix it all together, bring to the boil then simmer for 30 mins.

If too thick add water, if too runny, simmer some more.

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Start as you mean to go on …

This morning … after a rather long sleep … I got up late and Fit Girl and I went a New Years Day run time blow off the cob webs.

The weather was ok, not too cold and not too blowy, with no rain. We went an easy 4 miles to the new transport museum and back.


Before I started, I had a bit of a sore head, and I really didn’t feel like it. As you likely know, I gave up alcohol just over 10 years ago, so it wasn’t a hangover… (thankfully)… more like a sinus headache. I was pretty sure the run would clear it, and lucky for me it did.

I’ve been setting goals for a while now… ever since in 2008 I decided it was time to shift some weight and get fitter and healthier. Over the next 6 months I embraced exercise and ate a bit better, and gratefully the lbs came off.

See this post for more:


Then the goals changed… to running a 5k, a 10k and a triathlon for charity. Then over the years I pushed myself to train for half a marathons and at the end of 2010 I ran my first marathon. 2011 was my first official marathon for breast cancer care… and since then I’ve kept on running.

In 10 years I’ve run just over 10,000 miles, and although 2019 was a bit of a push in December to get up to 1,000 miles. Along the way I’ve had many gadgets to help me, and even more friends and clients to help me be motivated, and I’ve motivated them.

Gadgets include – a garmin to track my miles and heart rate (now with music on my 645), and the heart rate monitor strap, aftershockz bone conduction headphones and my wee Nikon key mission 80 camera (which I’m sad to say seems to be discontinued now).

People are too many too mention, but I’m grateful for all the runs I’ve done with others. In 2019 I seems to run 95% of my runs with others, it’s a great position to be in and one I hope to continue going forward.

Now here are my fitness goals for 2020:

It seems 1,000 miles is about average for me each year. It seems like a good goal to set. But this year I’ll set it at the start of the year and keep on top of it (instead of having to cram in many miles in December!) if I aim for 80-85 miles each month, with a few lesser months and a few lower months that should do it.

So goal 1 for 2020 for me is: run 1,000 miles. (Just 996 miles to go then!)

For 2019 and previous years, the months I tended to run a lot was when I had a race planned in – March 2019 I did two half marathons, October 2019 I did a half marathon… and the months before them had higher mileage. So it’s clear that events motivate me to run and train.

And it’s important for me to have some easy months training wise when I’m on holiday, so I’ll factor them (March and late June) as lower months.

I’m 40 in 2020 and although I’ve written before about how bad and painful marathons can be… and I’m vocal about that too… it seems the pain of the rather warm London 2018 has worn off… and I’ve entered a marathon for 2020.

(See my post here about what they don’t tell you about running marathons: ouch – which I haven’t re read recently – maybe I should?!… ).

On top of that I’ve entreated the Garscube 10k on 19 January, and it would be great if I could do an event per month… I’ve pencilled in some others… but I’m a bit short of an event in February and September- any ideas (10k to 20 miles) gratefully accepted. Ideally in Scotland, or maybe north England. Or maybe I’ll just do a run that fits in with my training.

So goal 3: train for and run the Strathearn marathon at the start of June and aim for an event every 1-2 months.

Then there’s strength training. As part of getting fit in 2008 I joined a gym and the instructors showed me what to do. But by bit I learned what worked and I read up on it as I went too.

Since then I’ve learned a lot and had some PT with the handsome Ross Jackson from lean lads lifestyle… (not that I want to be a lean lad, but it’s safe to say he knows what he’s talking about). And now I’ve got our own Garagym which has everything we need on our doorstep.

I’ve learned what works for me and I’m keen to do circuit training and HIIT work on the bike, alongside weights work – compound moves, progressively increasing the weight I lift.

This should cause changes in my body, which as I’ve been getting older… my weight I creeping back up again, but I’m not making that a goal – except for keeping a track on it to see what changes and progress I make.

Men… you can turn off at this if you want… Recently I’ve been reading about how it’s good for women to train in then with their menstrual cycle… I’ve been tracking my cycle in my garmin app for a few months now and it’s 28 days long on average, so it can be split into 2 blocks – before ovulation and after.

I’ll not go into detail about it all, but I’ve made a four week training plan which I’ll share later. It’s basically strength training in the first two weeks before a PB session 2 weeks in, then a mixture of HIIT and circuits in the second two weeks of the cycle.

I’ll start it when I go back to work, and this week I’m doing a few circuit sessions to get my body used to it.

So goal 3: compliment my running with strength training which suits my lifestyle and body.

My other goal is to not to do with fitness, and I’ll share that soon… but if it all works out, it should help me be more settled than I was in 2019 and should help me to achieve the goals above too.

Now if you’re looking to start as you mean to go on and set some goals in 2020, you can too.

Way back in 2012/13 when I was about 4-5 years into my journey of change… I wrote this – if youre waiting for a sign – this is it –

If you’re looking to make some changes, give it a read and it might help you.

Your goals don’t need to be as lofty as running 1,000 miles a year – (remember I started off from scratch in 2008 and just aimed to run and do the gym more to lose weight).

They could be as simple as walking 4-5 times a week, or changing what you eat and drink to be more healthy. Or walking 10,000 steps a day.

You don’t need to make it a New Years resolution, just use the new year as a push to start strongly and afresh again 1-3 goals, and get others to help and support you. What will you do?

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1,000 miles in 2019 – run!

That’s me, with one day to spare and a bit of a last push in December, I managed to run 1,000 in 2019.

We were up just before day break and we ran the remaining 4.5 miles up to Maxwell Park and back.

This year I’ve run with lots of people, Eileen at the start of the year, Debbie and Fit Girl through out, the crew from BBC Scotland Runs about 16 times… this one below was when we got soaked with just 5 minutes to go.

… and I’ve also coached quite a few people too, Audrey, Lisa, Camilla, Fiona, Jen and Chloe (and Nicola with a plan). It’s been good to help others and see them achieve.

Below is my annual graph… December looks a bit silly with about 134 miles, but it was worth it. August was next highest with 115 miles for the month. I do more miles when I’m training for events, so I’ll need to keep that in mind next year. I’ve already signed up for two and plan to sign up for others in 2020.

I also ran with Jen and Glynis and their bots in Ellon in August… I must see if I can do that again next year st some point when I’m up visiting my Dad again. They’re some of the friendliest people I know and the cake afterwards was amazing.

May and June In 2019 were my lowest mileage months, 60 miles each, in May I was away on holiday (but kept the gym up) and in June I wasn’t very well. But hey ho, I managed to average about 80-85 miles a month.

Halfs in March (X2), and the end of September saw the miles build up towards then (even though I was on holiday in September too).

It’s a bit warm out today… the birds seem a bit confused and don’t know what’s happening and I’m considering moving to wearing shorts and t shirt again, but we’ll see. Winter is probably just around the corner again after a freak warm week.

Well that’s me – 1,000 miles for 2019. Thanks to everyone who ran with me and helped me in the last year. It’s been a great help to get me out the door and I hope I’ve helped others too.

Did you set any goals this year? If so, did you achieve them?

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Wk52 into Wk1

My focus to get 1,000 miles for the year seems to have worked… I have one run left, 4.5 miles which will get me up to my goal. Next year I’ll run more in summer to prevent me having to do this again. But I’m glad I managed to get on it this month and run the 134 required. (More than my May and June mileage out together). I’m pleased I managed to stick with it.

Here’s what I did last week:

Mon: Rest
Tue: 7M
Wed: 4.4M (25.3M)
Thu 26: 3.4M wi Ewen (21.9)
Fri 27: 9.6M
Sat 28: 7.8M wi Debbie
Sun 29: Spin & Circuits

And here’s my plan for next week:

Mon 30: 4.5M
Tue 31: Spin & KBs Strength
Wed: 6M
Thu: Spin & 5×5 Strength
Fri: 10M
Sat: Rest
Sun: Spin & KB

I’ll likely give blood one day too:.. not sure which day but I’ll figure it out. Back into the gym from tomorrow. Starting off with bike intervals and circuits, then moving on to strength work from the following week. Hopefully I don’t get too sore from it.

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9.6 miles in the rain and cold 🥶

I looked at the weather last night and it said, raining, feels like 3’C. Brrrrr. And I can confirm that’s exactly what it felt like.

I planned 8-10 miles, to knock off some of the 22 miles I had left to do before the end of the year (to get me to my 1,000 mile goal). I decided I’d run up to Pollok Park and about, maybe through Bella, maybe through Maxwell Park…

I ended up making up the route and decided I’d go along Maxwell Drive to head towards Bellahouston Park. I thought I’d split the run down into 2 mile chunks, then as I went on, I split it into 3 miles or 5ks.

It was raining right from the start but not too heavily… I had started to try to avoid the puddles, but before long I was running through them, feet soaked. It didn’t help when I nearly got soaked by a passing car at a bridge going up to Maxwell Drive… but luckily it seemed to miss me.

As I was running through Bellahouston my watch ticked off 5k in about 27 minutes. I was running comfortably and faster on my own than with others, but I have to say it didn’t feel as enjoyable running on my own. I don’t do it often, and I found myself feeling niggles and pains that weren’t usually there. And of course they went away, as if they were in my head anyway.

At least it was light. And there was also the thought deep down that I’m lucky to be able to go out and run for an hour and a half… rain or cold, or not.

I saw a few other runners out, but not many. More (crazy) people were out walking … I guess dogs need walked whatever the whether and hopefully their gear was more waterproof than mine was.

At about 4 miles I’d thought about pulling the run and just running home for about 6 miles. That would leave 16 miles to do in 4 days – easily achievable… but before I knew it I was on track to do about 8-10 miles as planned.

The miles were ticking off and before I knew it I was at 10k I’m about 54 minutes so nice and steady. By now through my legs were soaked through, and the rain had soaked through to my pants… cold wet legs… bloody winter.

I imagined myself down somewhere in Spain or somewhere, 15-20’C, nice and warm and pain free. My legs felt a bit like they were ceasing up, but going on autopilot at the same time.

My jacket I was wearing is wind proof, not water proof, so an hour in I was feeling cold and wet on top too. I do have a warm waterproof running jacket… but it’s in the loft. Great place for it. Think I’ll be getting it down today!

I got to 7 miles coming out of Pollok Park – that’s where I know I have about 2 miles to get home so I knew I’d get to 9 miles. A miracle given the way I’d been thinking on the run.

My heart rate had been easy throughout, apart from going up the hill in Pollok Park and for the last two miles where I decided I’d push it a little. Back over the small bridge and this time a car did soak me, but it didn’t matter… I was soaked through by that point anyway.

I ran towards my house and 9 miles ticked off… then I ran down towards the Clyde to finish it off and wind down a bit towards the end. At 9.6 miles I thought about rounding it up to 10 miles … but f that.

That leaves 12.3 miles to do before the end of the year. 7 miles ish with Debbie tomorrow will leave 5.3 ish to do in 3 days. Easy peasy. Remind me to do more miles each month next year!

I came home, soaking wet, and for the first time ever stripped down in the front porch (people can’t see in from outside)… my legs red raw, I went straight into the shower and it wasn’t too nice. Cold hot… whatever, you know the feeling.

A roll and sausage or two might help me recover I think. 😉

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