A Holiday to Scotland

It’s no secret that my heart lies in Scotland. I adore the place. I’m actually convinced that somewhere down the line I must be part Scottish.

Initially we booked this holiday as we were meant to be doing the River Ness 10K but my injury meant I couldn’t run. As I’d now been more and more active we decided to make this an active holiday and make sure we got in some decent long walks.

We stayed in a lodge on the South side of Loch Ness in a small village called Whitebridge. The same site (although a different lodge) from when we stayed in March. You can read all about it here: My Holiday to Scotland

In reality it turned out not being able to run was possibly a good thing. Where we stayed was on the marathon route and the road was closed from 7am meaning we’d have needed to leave before then for a race that didn’t start until 10.45! Not ideal.

The lodge we had this time was smaller than the last but very cosy and still had a log burner and hot tub.

When we stayed last time we discovered a lovely little tea room on our last day so this time we visited it on our first day (and a few times after) We had lunch there before heading out to Farigaig forest for a walk. The walk actually turned out to be more of a hike as we started a steep climb up a rocky path through the forest. We followed a route that was meant to give us magnificent views of an old fort. Despite following the route for an hour we never found it! Annoyingly I tracked this walk on my Apple watch as a hike and it didn’t log a distance or map! I reckon it was probably around 3 miles though. We then returned to the tea room for a hot chocolate and cake!

Hot chocolate and Coffee Cake

The next day we went out and cheered on the marathon runners. Where we were stayed was between miles 2 and 3. I thought the runners would all be through in little over half an hour but we were there almost an hour. I was surprised to see people walking already but I suppose when spectating you don’t know the runners journey or marathon plan. They could have been run/walking. I cheered them all on. We then headed out to Ullapool. It was just over two hours away with a bit of traffic. After our day back as we headed about around 5pm I was surprised to see there were still marathon participants on the course! I spotted the same people who’d been at the very back of the pack walking, they were still walking and between miles 19 and 20 (I think) Walking a marathon must be absolutely gruelling.

Loch Ness Marathon

The masses entering Whitebridge

The next day we went to Aviemore in the Cairngorms. We had breakfast at the café we’d gone to after participating in Aviemore parkrun. We then went to the Glenmore Forest for more walking. We knew we wanted to walk the perimeter of Loch Morlich but also wanted to add in something a tad more strenuous as Loch Morlich is flat. When we picked up a map we saw that part way around the Loch there was another route that would take us on a circular “strenuous” route then drop us back at the Loch to carry on. All together this should have been 5 miles so how we ended up at almost 9 miles I’m really not sure! The route was stunning and worth it to find the hidden An Lochan Uaine (The Green Lochan) which looked like a fairy pool. However it was really difficult. We climbed up for a long time and it was quite steep, however this wasn’t the problem. When it came to going down, the downhill wasn’t as gradual. We had to climb down a really steep rocky path which was difficult to navigate. Some of the steps down were huge and hard for someone of my height! I thoroughly enjoyed it though.

The Green Lochan

After a 9 mile walk the previous day, we decided on a shorter walk the next day. In the lodge was a walk to Foyers that was 3 miles. On route we’d stop off at the tea room too. We walked to Foyers and decided to go down and see the Falls of Foyers before going back to the tea room and then heading back. Again some how a 6 mile round trip turned in to another almost 9 mile walk! This wasn’t too bad in terms of hills but we did have to pass over a river using stepping stones! I was so nervous crossing. I don’t trust my balance at all and every time I went to step there was a big gust of wind. I was convinced I was going to get blown off. Luckily I didn’t!

The last two days of our holiday were forecast to be rainy. It turned out the rain wasn’t as bad as they said but we didn’t want to head out on a walk and for it to turn heavy so we spent time relaxing in the lodge, going in the hot tub and visiting a couple of shopping places.

When it came to heading home the journey was an utter nightmare. The motorway was closed due to a lorry fire on one side and a large car crash on the other side, probably from people looking at the lorry! We had to take a detour along with lots of other people that added 2 hours on to a 10 hour car journey! It was exhausting!

 

Tagged , , , ,

International parkrun Day

On October 6th it was International parkrun Day. It marks 14 years since parkrun started! I don’t need to harp on about how amazing parkrun is as you all know already that I love it.

Before the Saturday I’d already completed one run/walk. When I was seeing a physio she told me when I made my return to running, to start off with so little running it’s mostly walking. She suggested 30 seconds running and 4.5 minutes walking so that’s what I did. My first run/walk I did 20 minutes on the treadmill and I’m pleased to report it was pain free.

Saturday it was time to test it out over the 5k distance. I donned my apricot parkrun t-shirt and started by doing the new runners briefing. I went to the start line and my fellow parkrunner Claire came to join me. She asked me what my goal was. I told her to get round pain free but as we started I said I wanted to try and stay under 20 minute miles. We walked and chatted and Claire’s watch continuously beeped with her pace as it kept telling her she was behind pace but it was good as she told me where we were at. Mostly around an 18 minute mile. However on the runs I was banging out 11-12 minute miles! Say whaaaat?! Haha I am aware it was only for 30 seconds though.

The parkrun was pretty uneventful to be honest but this was good, I got round, it was pain free and to top it off I did it in a good time. A surprisingly good time actually. I finished in 49:58 with 30 seconds running and 4.5 minutes walking! Bearing in mind my average parkrun time is about 45 minutes. Mind blown!

Afterwards I was absolutely buzzing! I’m praying this good luck continues. And just to finish off, here’s a silly selfie taken before hand!

parkrun selfie

I Tried A 600 Calorie in 60 Minute Workout

I’ve really been enjoying exercising at home on a Friday which is my day off work. I’ve been using YouTube videos and have really been enjoying the ones on Popsugar Fitness’ channel.

The other day I spotted one called “Burn 600 calories in a 60 minute workout with Jeanette Jenkins” The 600 calories in an hour caught my eye so I decided to give it a go.

The workout begins with a warm up and I’m not afraid to admit that by the end of the warm up I was already sweating a little. You then move on to a couple of mini circuits doing a series of moves a couple of times. Something I like about the Popsugar workouts is one of the people doing the workout will always be the “modification” so if you’re unable to do a particular move, you can copy the modification instead.

Screenshout of the workout

Screenshot of the workout

The moves combine both upper and lower body so you’re working all of your body. There are some high impact moves but you can always copy the modification if you’re unable to do these. There’s lots of moves that help improve your balance and stability too as well as some plyometric exercises.

The routine finishes with floor exercises focussing on the core and then you move on to a cool down and stretches.

I really enjoyed this routine. It was fast paced and really didn’t feel like an hour. Most of the exercises were manageable and I only needed to follow the modifications a couple of times. But the big question is….Did I burn 600 calories?

Apple Watch Stats

I’m never quite sure what the active calories versus total calories are telling me but it was pretty much 600 calories on the active calories and well over on the total. Very impressed with this workout and I’ll definitely do it again.

Do you use YouTube for workouts?

What are your favourite YouTube channels?

Tagged ,

What’s Been Happening Lately

It’s been over a month since my last proper blog post. Since becoming an injured runner it’s been hard for me to blog because I’ve not really had much to blog about.

Last time I wrote I was going for a practice parkrun walk which turned in to a walk with a twist. Since then I’ve been able to go back to the gym and exercise properly, although I’ve yet to return to spin. I’ve been on holiday to Scotland where we did lots of hiking and I’ve been back to parkrun twice.

The first time I did parkrun it took me over an hour. It was pain free but foolishly I wore new Nike trainers that absolutely ripped my feet to shreds. It was really bad, so bad it took two weeks before I could comfortably wear shoes again!

I’m still doing well with Weight Watchers (or WW as it’s now meant to be known) and I’ve nearly lost 1.5 stone. I did put on weight after holiday though! I’m not worried about that at all though as I know I’ll lose it again.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet as that pretty much brings me up to date and now I can start individual posts on runs and workouts etc. I just didn’t want to start blogging again without bringing it all up to date.

The Running Awards

I’ve been nominated for a Running Award in the Personal Blog section. Click the red button to vote for me, you know, if you want to!

 

What My Return to Running Will Look Like

Now that I’m almost pain free I’ve started to think about my return to running. My view on it has really changed.

No more worrying about times:

Previous to my injury I was so determined to improve my time all the time. I was disappointed if I went over a 15 minute mile. I was annoyed if I went over a 45 minute 5k. There’s one thing this injury has taught me and that’s to enjoy running. Run because I can not because I have to.

No more signing up for races:

The main thing I panicked about when I got injured, was the races I’d entered. I had the Gosport Golden Mile, River Ness 10K and the Great South Run. I still went ahead and ran the Gosport Golden Mile which was a huge mistake but hindsight is a wonderful thing! Luckily I’ve managed to get my entry fee back from the Great South Run so that just leaves the River Ness 10K who won’t refund or let me defer. I guess I just have to let that one go. I no longer want that pressure of “I have to be able to run this distance” I want my running to be for me. Although I do really want to do the 5 mile beer and cake race again!

The end goal is not a marathon:

Some runners feel the end goal is to run a marathon. They work their way through the distances and then sign up to a marathon or ultra. I just want to be able to run. I want to complete a parkrun but after 5K anything else will just be a bonus.

Social Running:

One thing I do definitely want to do is return to Breakfast Club. Running with people I know and a nice chatty breakfast afterwards. I think if I do end up going over 5K, this will be it. It’s half an hour out and half an hour back. It’ll be nice to see how I progress through this but I’m not going to think “I want to run 4 miles, or 5 miles or 6 miles” etc. My progression will come naturally the more I run when I can run.

Now I just have to figure out how to get rid of this last little bit of niggly injury!

A Walk With A Twist

I went for a walk on Friday. I’d decided to do a “parkrun practice” I don’t really want to return to parkrun until I’m able to do it in under an hour. Anyway as I made my way down to the beach I thought “I’ll walk the course in reverse” And that I did. I started heading towards the second turnaround point and was thinking “At least this will give me something to blog about” I’ve struggled finding content as my blog is more of a diary but with nothing really happening it makes posting a struggle.

I was walking along enjoying the weather, warm with a breeze to keep me cool, and listening to snippets of people’s conversations as I overtook them or they overtook me. I was just thinking about how I might turn around at the slipway to avoid having to walk over the shingle section at the bottom of the slipway when I overtook an older couple. Then I heard someone fall, and I mean really fall.

I turned around and the lady from the couple was on the floor crying out. I immediately went back to her and asked if she was ok. She was crying out in pain and I think in shock a bit. She had a huge lump coming up on the side of her forehead and her face was cut and bleeding from multiple places. She was holding her knee too. I told her not to move but just have a little assess of how everything felt. She told me she didn’t think she could get up. She felt extremely sick and dizzy and everything hurt and asked me to call an ambulance. I rang 999 and whilst talking to the operator she repeatedly asked her husband if she’d knocked her teeth out. This became a real concern for her so she must have given them a fair old whack.

As I spoke to the operator he told me my call had gone through to the Isle of Wight and he was having trouble finding where we were on the mainland. I tried giving them landmarks but my mind was blank on road names. I asked her husband if he could think of anywhere but I think he went in to shock too as he couldn’t speak.

The operator told us we weren’t to move her at all and asked if one of us would be able to go up from the promenade on to the roadside to flag the ambulance down and take them too her. I told her husband I’d go up on to the roadside as she’d probably feel more comfortable with him there. I went up and looked out. The ambulance took a whole 30 minutes to arrive! It felt like time was standing still! The longest 30 minutes of my life!

Once the paramedics arrived I led them down to her and I was so surprised by the way they spoke to her. The first thing the paramedic said was “Is there any reason you’ve not attempted to get off the floor?” She became flustered and was trying to explain she didn’t think she could get up so I interjected and said we’d been advised by the operator not to move her. She then tried to explain what had happened and he cut her off by saying “We know you tripped, they all saw it” He was so short with her. It made me feel quite sad that he spoke to her like that when she was clearly shocked and a bit panicky.

I said my goodbyes and left them as the paramedic took her to the ambulance. I just went home after that. I’d been out a lot longer than I expected and felt a bit deflated by everything. Up until the point where I’d stopped to help, I’d actually managed to keep up a pretty good pace and was pain free.

Tagged

If We Were Having Coffee…

I’ve not had a lot to blog about lately as I’m still injured so still not running. However, there’s been a few things going on so I thought I’d do a chatty post as though we were chatting over a cup of coffee.

Flat White

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you I’m going back to the classroom. Well sort of. Work offered a free course with at home learning. At the end we get a level 2 qualification in Common Childhood Illnesses. I’m half way through 2 out of 3 units and so far I’m enjoying it. It’s informative and giving me another string to my bow. The only down side is, it’s all handwritten! I’m not used to writing for long periods of time anymore!

Common Childhood Illnesses

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you a recently went to a 40th Birthday party. It was in a very cool industrial venue that was so unique. I’d love to have held an event there but sadly it’s been pulled down soon. The party was an 80’s theme so we dressed up and sang the night away. I had to chair dance though as this was a little while ago when my injury was still sore.

80s party

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you I’m still injured but very slowly making a return to exercise. I did 15 minutes on the exercise bike which was pain free. So a couple of days later I did an exercise DVD. I was tentative. I was scared some of the movements might hurt or aggravate my injury but again it was pain free. My injury feels 90% better now and the physio has told me there’s nothing else she can do but it’s knowing how to get rid of the remaining 10% now!

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you how excited I am that the heatwave is over. There’s one good thing about this injury and that’s that I’ve not had to run in this heat! I’m rubbish in heat, let alone trying to run in it. I’m very much an Autumn/Winter person. I don’t care if I’m running in the dark and rain. It does not bother me one bit. Look at these apples growing on my neighbours tree. A sure sign Autumn is on the way.

Autumn Apples

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that Weight Watchers is working wonders for me. In 5 weeks I’ve lost 12.5lbs and 5% of my body weight. I’m really pleased with how easy I’m finding it.

Weight Watchers 5% Certificate

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that I went for a coffee with Sarette who runs Woofs with Wilson. We went to The Pump House in Gosport. I’d heard of it, but I’d never been before. It was so lovely. It’s in an old pump house, as the name suggests, and is small but perfectly formed inside with outdoor seating too. As we arrived early, we sat inside and had a lovely natter with Heather the owner. I had a flat white and a slice, well I say a slice, it was more like a slab of coffee and walnut cake. It was delicious and hand made in house!

Coffee Cake

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you that after going for coffee Sarette asked me if I’d like to join her on a walk with Wilson! Honestly, I didn’t need asking twice! It was a big fat yes please. We went for a lovely walk at Stokes Bay and once again I was shown paths I didn’t know existed and how they linked to places I did know. I wish I’d tracked the walk on my watch but I reckon we walked around 1.5-2 miles. We walked on trails and shingle and my injury was absolutely fine!

Woofs with Wilson and I

Woofs With Wilson

Action shot of Wilson jumping for stones

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you I went on a walk with Maria from work. We walked along Stokes Bay up to the Gilkicker fort and back. It was 2.8 miles so almost a parkrun and again was absolutely pain free. It was a chatty pace though so perhaps not quick enough for a parkrun just yet. We had a good old natter and then went for a coffee afterwards.

Apple Watch Walk Stats

That now brings me pretty much up to date with everything that’s been happening. Hopefully as I return to exercise I’ll have a little more to blog about. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to run some time in the future!

 

Tagged , , , , ,

The Lost In A Book Tag

I’ve had this post in the making for a long time and actually can’t remember where I found it! I know that’s committing some sort of blogger sin! But anyway, on to the tag.

1. Do you have a specific place at home to read in?
I tend to read in the bath or in bed. Sometimes I’ll go in the bath just to read my book for an hour haha I try to read every night before bed.

2. Where do you like to read?
In the bath.

3. Do you use a bookmark or piece of paper?
If I’m reading an actual physical book (quite rare these days) then I use a bookmark.

4. Can you just stop reading or do you have to get to the end of the chapter?
I prefer to get to the end of a chapter. When reading on my Kindle it tells you in minutes how long a chapter will be. If I don’t think I can stay awake that long, then I won’t bother starting.

5. Do you eat or drink whilst reading?
Not usually

6. E-reader or real book?
Both have their advantages. I like that you can take lots of books anywhere with you on a Kindle. However, there are certain books I think need to be real books e.g. autobiographies with pictures in or large coffee table books

7. Music or television whilst reading?
I’ll have music on whilst I read but it tends to be classical otherwise I end up singing along and not actually reading.

8. One book at a time or several?
One at a time otherwise I’d just get confused.

9. Read at home or everywhere?
I tend to only read at home but I’ll take my Kindle on holiday or on long drives or if I know I might be waiting somewhere a while e.g. doctor’s surgery.

10. Reading aloud or silently?
Silently.

11. Fiction or non-fiction?
I tend to read a lot of fiction. The only non-fiction I tend to read is auto biographies, although I haven’t read one of those in a long time.

12. Do you read ahead or skip pages?
Never!

13. Break the spine or keep the book like new?
I don’t break the spine intentionally but they do end up breaking when you read books, especially thicker books.

14. Do you write in books?
No!

15. What is your favourite book?
Tricky! I really enjoyed The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen which I read last summer. The Harry Potter books will always be favourites too.

16. Do you buy books new or second-hand?
I tend to just buy for my Kindle so obviously they’re new but I have bought lots of books from charity shops.

 

Tagged ,

International Cat Day

I always desperately wanted a dog as a child. Probably not the opening line you expected on a blog post about International Cat Day. I never got a dog. I’ve still never owned a dog. I have however owned 4 cats. I guess they were my Mum’s compromise on the whole dog thing.

When I was 3 my Auntie Su moved to Canada. I inherited her cat Minstrel. He was black and white. I’m guessing that’s how he got his name. I don’t have any pictures of him so instead have a picture of my Auntie and I as we waited for her taxi to take her to the airport the day she left for Canada. Minstrel was run over. You’ll soon notice a theme here.

Su and I

After Minstrel I was given my next two cats Meme and Rusty. I named Meme after a cat in a story a teacher told me at school. It was about a black and white cat that rode on a Ferris wheel at a fayre. I was only meant to get one cat but I guess my Dad couldn’t resist the 2nd when he went to get them. I was around 6 or 7 when I got them.

Meme and Rusty

They were both really independent cats and were never lap cats. I grew up with these cats and have so many memories of them. I used to push them around in a pram in the garden for as long as they’d let me. My neighbours poisoned Rusty because she used to go on their garden. Both cats would wait for me at the top of the hill when I came out of school. Meme died first. She was run over by a car. Then Rusty lived until I was around 13 or 14. She too was run over.

It must have only been a year or so later that I got Freddy. He was named after Freddy Boswell on the tv show Bread. A house on my road had a sign in the window saying they had kittens and somehow I managed to convince my Mum to let me have one.

Freddy

Freddy was a nightmare cat. He learnt to open doors, he’d charge at your feet, he’d jump out and surprise you. He was a nightmare and was constantly called “That bloody cat” I only had Freddy for a year or two before he too was run over. I’ve just text my Mum to see if she remembered Freddy and her response was “That bloody cat” haha. It was thanks to Freddy that I was never allowed another cat.

Are you a cat or a dog person?

 

Tagged