Wednesday, 22 March 2017

This Girl Can

There was a bit of buzz recently around the #thisgirlcan campaign and amongst other debates, whether ‘girl’ was an appropriate term to use for the target audience.  Personally, the campaign resonated with me (and I prefer the use of the word girl to woman as the latter makes me feel I should be old and sensible) as a representation of normal/real people doing what they could, and hopefully caring little about what other (negative) people might think.  That latter point is always the hard bit, with so much perceived social (and often internalised) pressure around looking a certain way, and the idealistic views of what ‘athletes’ (or females in general) ‘should’ look like.

Hard to dismiss these thoughts about ourselves sometimes, but who are we (or others) to judge on size, shape or anything else, if that person has the motivation to get out there and do something…to try, and to persevere……even when there is often no glory (more often blood, snot and tears), no prizes and very little chance of ever being a podium finisher.  They CAN do it…and they are.
From that latter point however, and I refer back to James Stewart quite often….go read his story, or listen to his interviews on WHW or TalkUltra podcasts, and you’ll hear how ‘an overweight NED from Croy’ (paraphrasing something James may have said on occasion) ended up winning the iconic Rocky Racoon 100 mile race in the USA!  Maybe the unperceivable CAN sometimes become a reality.

So I digress, and what I really wanted to write about was the feeling around ‘can’, and trying new things, different things, or re-visiting in an effort to improve, to adapt, and to over-come feelings or niggles. 

Many people get injured, or have weaknesses.  Sometimes they ask (the jury of social media) for advice….sometimes they post, but don’t *really* want advice…inevitably they get it anyway, and then dispute as a way to deflect what is often viable advice (to be fair, often can be a lot of tosh too).  I’ve a number of these niggles, from past lives and mis-adventures, and one of the things I’m trying to focus on this year is to stop avoiding these, as essentially these could be the pea under the mattress that derails my potential, and sees me miss my goal.

There’s a lot of ‘can’t’ flying around: ‘I can’t do that, my XYZ won’t’…and I’ve often been in that camp too…my medial ligament in my right knee being one target of such comments.  I was in the mindset that this weakness, caused by historic injury, put me off certain things in the gym – I avoided squats, lunges and the like.  This year that’s not acceptable, and I’m picking these exercises off, little by little, back to basics with no/low weights, less depth, fewer reps….and I’m already reaping the benefits and see progress where once I thought there could be none.  My knee CAN do these, and CAN get stronger. 
Focusing on a more holistic approach (yes, I’m going to talk yoga again), and again, stretching and strength, balance and stability that comes with regular practise, and approaching with a learning mindset (you can’t expect to just get ‘into’ something new and be a guru, or even be that good at much of it).  This is also seeing the rewards come.  There’s no quick fix, and there’s always more work to be done. It won’t happen at once, there are no quick fixes, and you have to listen to your body.  Tease it, challenge it positively…and it will reward you with the gains.

It’s not just about a relentless focus on that one specific stress area either.  Rewards come from training the rest of the body to function efficiently…core strength, mental capacity, upper body strength (anyone ever get sore arms after a long run?!), and there are so many elements we CAN influence and CAN improve.  Good things rarely come by chance.  Most of us have to work for it (or we all do at some point…even those more blessed will face a time where they too will have to adapt and change, to improve, or often just to continue.

So take a look at what you are doing.  Are you avoiding and hoping weak areas will pass unnoticed, or go away over time?  What can you do to address them now and improve your physical or mental well-being?  Can you seek treatment by way of physio or sports massage?  Can you try a new class or cross-train?  Can a PT or coach or buddy help you look at things differently?  And where you think you have no time to train/stretch your body or mind, can you get up earlier, take a lunch break or can you fit something in between chores or TV in the evenings or weekends?

Nothing is beyond you, you CAN and should give it a try!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Being Led Astray

I had a wee Google for quotes about being led astray and the one on the right appealed.  Interestingly there were also a few about 'looking for scapegoats'....

Anyway, it's been one of those weeks where I've allowed myself to be diverted from the fairly strong focus I have had, with the distraction of a couple of lovely days away on Islay, being immersed in the wonders of Bowmore and Laphroaig malt whiskies....along with some fine food, and rather more sugar and caffeine than an average week.

It's always a challenge with these events, and while I managed to resist too much alcohol, the sweeties took a bit of a battering.....'calories on "holiday" don't count'.....

And I did manage a couple of short training runs while I was there, much to the amusement of my colleagues (one of these involved going down the wrong track, ending up on a pebble beach in a downpour, and my headtorch packing in....)

Hopefully I can remedy the indulgences, as, although training has been lighter as it's a semi-taper week, it is RACE week......with Glentress marathon tomorrow! 

Last year I ran it in just under 6 hours, and it's a tough old shift (and it was jolly cold, icy etc), with some challenging climbs and descents (1,500m of ascent in total across a 2 lap course).  It will be an interesting test tomorrow, although I'm not sure how my pace will compare.  I don't want to end up broken or needing several days/week recovery, so I'll be taking that into account as I scamper round the trails optimistically.

I'm half looking forward to it, and the chance to catch up with friends....

Race report next week!

Friday, 17 February 2017

Go Compare......Don't!

It’s that time of year where everyone is ramping up their training and going all out to post on social media about how good (mostly) or bad it is going.  Strava links appear on Facebook in abundance with ‘check out my run which I did while you were sitting slouched at your desk drinking coffee and trying hard to resist the pile of sweeties in the snack trough!’ and ‘look at me grinning atop the latest peak I have summited’.  (BTW, I know I’m prone to posts of a similar nature!)
I’ve probably blogged about this before, maybe often.  I see a number of people getting caught up in this again this year with ‘OMG, you’re doing loads more miles/ascent/lifting than I am’.
Control what you can control.
They are not you.  They will not be running your race for you.  They do not live your life.

'Killer Hill' (Blackford)
Pic by Clark Hamilton
They’ll have their own challenges to contend with, and maybe while you are out at the weekend tearing up the heather, they are working, or doing night-shifts, or dealing with their respective families and ‘other commitments’. 
While you’re getting up at the crack of dawn, they are still sleeping off their bottle of wine and fajita-fest from the night before.  They may not have posted for a few weeks as they’ve been sick…but you’ve not noticed that…you just hone in on their ‘come back’ AMAZING jaunt up Conic Hill, and it puts the fear right into you.
Don’t do it.  Focus on being a better you.  Fit what you can, as best you can, into your life.  Plan and prepare (training and food)!  If you’re hurt or under-the-weather, think about what else you can do instead of your ‘usual’ (be that 30, 40 or 100 miles a week).  Don’t fight through viruses that will wipe you out for weeks or months.

Stay positive and focused! Adapt, change, deliver!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Feeling the Heat

As part of my renewed vigour this year, I was keen to ensure I was putting enough emphasis on training elements that weren’t just all about running…a long way…slowly.

Being married to a PT is a blessing a curse…Clark tells me a lot of good things (about how to train better and smarter), and I haven’t always acted on them, despite wholeheartedly agreeing with (most of) them. 
Doing what I’ve done before, won’t necessarily get me where I want to go.

So…what can I do differently…
Aside from the obvious focus on eating less crap, drinking more water…I’m making a conscious effort to get back into Pilates and do regular hot yoga.  I’ve been a fan of Pilates for many years (still totally missing the guru that is Gill Webster) and have joined a local class (in Braco Church Hall (man is it cold in there some weeks)) and gone back to basics with a bunch of middle aged locals.  Who knew that the basic moves could ‘hurt’ so much two days later when you really focus on doing them ‘right’, having been out of practice for the best part of a year…!?!  Thanks Gi, it’s definitely working!

Having previously been a doubter of yoga (did a class with a load of old ladies years ago and it was proper dull!), at the end of last year I found some ‘pop up’ hot yoga classes, being run in Bridge of Allan, by Jack and Jules from Heat Fitness, back in the UK after a life in Aus (or something like that…not my story to tell!).  So I gave it a try and loved it…despite being significantly challenged by my lack of balance (see previous posts about falling over a lot!).
Skip forward a couple of months, and having found it hard to make the BofA Friday evening class often enough, Heat finally got their studio at Springkerse opened, and with a cracking “£20 for 20 days” introductory offer, it would be rude not to try and make this work!

The first time you go into ‘the box’ (actually a fairly big room), the heat is immense (38-40 degrees celcius) and you wonder how you will ever be able to do anything useful.  You do get used to it after a few minutes, and start to get all the benefits it brings – for me in particular the appeal was around driving increased length and flexibility into my muscles, to offset all the pounding the running brings, and the potential to help prevent injury.  There are a number of other benefits quoted (see the website for more!), and the more I attend (trying to commit to the 0630 class at least once a week), the more I feel these develop.  Combined with my other training, things are definitely starting to take shape!
A few observations:

-        It’s not all skinny hippy-types doing yoga, there’s a broad cross-section of society – men, women, national athletes to the other extremes, and everything in between…and don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be ‘better’ at it than some more generously proportioned or “old” people….(and don’t be put off by the svelte, skinny people!)

-        Listening is key – there are few demo’s, part of the training is to focus on the dialogue and move accordingly.  There are a couple of moves I’m still struggling with where to fixate my gaze (and consistently ignore Jules request to stare forwards at my outstretched fingers…but I know she’s right and that’s what I should do….)

-        It’s sweaty!  The first class, I looked around as a river of perspiration cascade off my head whilst doing ‘Standing Bow’ (or something similar), wondering if everyone else had the same going on….turns out they did!  (Two towels are best…one for your mat and one to mop your brow!)

-        It’s a great workout – the calorie burn is good (yes, I’ve been wearing my Garmin), and there’s definitely significant strength gains to be made....and DOMS to be felt a couple of days later!

-        There’s no chanting, or funny ‘ommmmmmm’ noises (hurrah!!)

-        You’re allowed to hydrate during the class (a couple of folk have asked!)

-        Don’t moisturise your hands/feet the night before….this makes grabbing your feet/ankles during some of the balancing postures a bigger challenge than it already is!

-        When you’ve tried it, you’ll want to do it again!  I’ve recommended to several people and most of them are now devoted!

-        It takes a while to stop sweating afterwards…even post-shower…..cue me driving to work in a vest in the middle of winter so I can get dressed and do make up at the office sweat free!

-        100% feel great afterwards…and now miss it when I’ve not been!  If only it were closer, and I had more hours in the day!
So hopefully you'll get the idea that I'm quite enjoying this new element to my training, and it's something I hope to continue throughout the year.  I'm sure the heat adaptation will do me good for the sunnier climes of Chamonix later in the year!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Oooops, I did it again!

Ah well, maybe that's the falling out of the way for the year?!  I certainly hope so!

Photo by John Kynaston / WHW Race Family
It was the annual West Highland Way race January training weekend last weekend, and always a great opportunity to catch up with a big group of lovely people, run on the best trail in Scotland, and have a good scoff at the Oak Tree Inn, who are not averse to hosting a bunch of sweaty ultra runners in various states of joy, despair, sobriety and drunkenness!
My plan was to join on the Saturday and do a 20 mile out and back.  The 'full' run is 30 miles to Inversnaid and back, but I've not done that distance in January for a few years, and felt that 20 would be plenty for this weekend.  I was going to be running with Carol, which meant good company for the day, and an opportunity to explore 'the low road' which I hadn't yet been on!

I was also mostly planning to take the van, and stay over, if the run went well, and the lure of chat and a wee glass of wine got the better of me....

I don't have pretty knees at the best of times
However......this happened.....(I do wish I'd picked that bit of skin off my left knee before the pic.....)

After a lovely 11 miles out to cover most of the low road - which is lovely, and has some interesting steps and climbs on it, and is much more in keeping with the true feel of the further lochside path....covered mainly with Carol, and chats with others, including Lorna and Kirsteen, who had run Rowardennan to Millarochy to join us...we ventured on the return, and just shy of Rowardennan....BOOM....down I went!

I'd had a few stumbles earlier in the day, so it shouldn't have come as much surprise.  And boy, did this one sting!!   Both knees, both thighs, both forearms (somehow my brain told my body to not put my hands out to save me)....and luckily not my face (Carol's first question!  Mine was 'have I smashed my Garmin??').  Carol was a great first responder and made sure I didn't get up too soon, and that nothing was hanging off.....

Photo by Fiona Rennie
When I managed to get up (with Carol using her unbroken collarbone side to help me), I had a rush of blurred vision and nausea and needed support to walk along a short while to a big rock, where we could administer some paracetamol and get some big gloves (by this point I was proper Baltic!).  Carol phoned Lorna to come rescue me, and I felt ok-ish to start walking for a few minutes, and then an adrenaline fuelled shuffle.  Come Sallochy, and Lorna wasn't quite there, so I opted to push on (feeling super guilty for wasting Lorna's time (however she managed to rescue someone else later, so not a totally lost cause)).

Made it back, to complete 22 lovely miles!  And straight into the Oak Tree for a seat by the fire, and big cup of coffee (thanks Julie, I owe you one!), and then remembered my emergency £10 and got some soup, while Laura (first aider) checked out the bleeding knees (another ruined pair of XBionic tights :-().  Decided I wasn't dying, nor did I need antiseptic scrubbing!  After a shower (thanks Helen), and the challenge of getting into my skinny jeans(!) Sean also checked me out when he got back from sweeping, and we decided, other than having had my second set of painkillers too soon, I was ok to drive home (I was still feeling a bit puggled and needing a rest with my feet up!).

Photo by Fiona Rennie
3 days of rest...Sunday and Monday suffering extremely pounding head (we think there was some concussion), Tuesday a little more 'normal', so back to some training on Wednesday with hot yoga before work (postures involving kneeling were a bit of a challenge) and a short, flat run after work...decided there is not material damage, and with arnica pills, massaging with arnica lotion, and taking care, I will focus on getting on with it.  There's nothing else for it!

Thinking about my gait on today's run, I think I have a bit of a roll out on my right foot, probably from the historic medial ligament damage, weak adductors, tight IT, probably some glute issues.....aaaah, plenty to work on then!  Plenty of time to make progress, and I've treated myself to some shiny new Hoka Speedgoats...just in case!

More another day..... 

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Embracing the power of positivity

It's been an exciting start to the year, with that all important CCC place secured for August.  Having this goal now confirmed has set the cogs firmly in motion and now it's all about that journey, being focused on how I will achieve it, staying positive and surrounding myself with as many positive people as I can! 

Yes, there was the lurgy, the 'bad' run at Arrochar, and yes, there are some ongoing injuries and imbalances to address, but a wise man posted on social media last night about busting through those 'limits', and that's exactly where my head is at!  Constantly working on how to train whilst not compromising health or weak points, and building the strength to overcome! Be that through training, or better nutrition decisions.

I've kick started the year with similar gusto to last year - Garmin records a similar activity and run count (slightly higher mileage this year) and a shift from several Versaclimber sessions into Hot Yoga and Pilates...along with slightly more strength and conditioning sessions in the gym!  Taking action on the points I knew I needed to address....I do still need to start building those Versaclimber sessions back in.....somewhere!!

There's plenty more to blog about, when time permits.....I've a whole heap to say about last weekend's fabulous 'Glee Club' Feshiebridge weekender and my first jaunt on the Burma Road, my journey with hot yoga, and the joys of back to basics with pilates.  Not to mention some deadlift, chest press and squat PBs!  And some weight loss to boot!

For now - happy days, happy training, early alarm calls and a 'just get the f*** on with it' positive attitude!  Do what's right to get you where you want to be!

And here's some happy  photos...
Carol, Lorna, Dawn, Me
At the "Secret Trig"
Climbing in snowy Glen Sherrup
On the Burma Road, Aviemore
Glee Feshie Weekender

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Do run run run.....the Marcothon...

I wanted to capture all the random 'poems' I've been writing as I work my way through the Marcothon for 2016...and successfully manage to achieve the running (minimum 3 miles, or 25 minutes every day in December)...and have written some variation of a rhyme each day...with questionable levels of success...

Day 1
The Marcothon has just begun
And I've no excuses not to run
On holiday in Aviemore
So getting it done was not a chore!

With many lovely trails to choose
After an extra long-lie snooze
To Craigellachie we did go
Looking for the falcon, which was a no show!

Day 1 is done, it's in the bag
And now on Facebook we're all quick to brag
Not every day will be such fun?
But we will get all 31 done!

(3.1 miles at Craigellachie Crags)

Day 2
The holiday's over
But we'd time to spare
To grab a last gasp
Of fresh highland air

A quick wee blast on the Speyside Way
Is a lovely start to any day
Thankfully it's starting to rain
So going home's not such a pain!

(4 miles on Speyside Way)

Day 3
Day 3, and into the hills we went
Up above the cloud, time well spent
Trying to keep steady momentum
To burn off the fajitas in my tum

My knees were sore both up and down
After falling off my mountain bike like a clown
I never seem to stay upright
Even when I try with all my might

I thought of those less fortunate than me
Who haven't discovered the running glee
To clear the mind and free the head
My motivation to get out of bed!

(4.8 miles Blairdennon)

Day 4
A hangover run, there's always one
Bu the Marcothon still has to be run
A fresh sunny blast up Killer Hill
Wearing my shorts, so my legs they did chill!

The sun shone brightly in my eyes
But my legs kept moving, much to my surprise
Now it's time for the sofa, some tea and a nap
And to catch up on last nights tv...I bet it's crap!

Another short one for day 4
With 1000 ft of climb, well, just a little bit more
Another green tick on the Marcothon chart
Getting this off to a pretty good start!

(4.2 miles at Blackford)

Day 5
These are the hard ones, in the dark
Getting up before the lark
Rewarded though with a nice sunrise
With the hills set on fie before our eyes

Cold and crisp beneath our feet
No sign of black ice, what a treat
Just a short trip to Braco park
Me, Cori dog, and hubby Clark

Last day of work, gotta go back tomorrow
So going for a spa day to ease the sorrow
And then it'll be back to the grind
Analysing booze sales at Christmas time!

(4.4 miles - Braco Castle Loop Short)

Day 6
Day 6 and to another place
I attempted to inject small bursts of pace
Ended up confusing Cori dog
And being scared of imaginary people hiding in the fog!

The run was done and time to spare
Ten minutes to stretch and do press ups off the chair
The dog has it easy, he's off back to bed
And I've got to go into work instead!

(2.6 miles intervals on Sheriffmuir Road)

Day 7
Managed to leave the dog in bed
And went out on my own instead
Tried to keep a steady pace
Working on my fitness base

A fasted run, it's hard to smile
When you've nothing left in the last half mile
Into a head wind, up a hill
Why can't you lose fat by popping a pill?

My bad knee buckled on the last bend
Luckily my better knee is on the mend
I stayed upright and carried on
And to Taylor Swift kept singing along!

Home now and the dog's not chuffed
He came downstairs and huffed and puffed
He'll get a run later with his 'dad'
So hopefully he's not too sad!

(5.8 miles - Braco Castle Loop)

Day 8
A lack of sleep, too much awake
Does not a sprightly runner make
Feeling a bit tired and jaded
The alarm I snoozed
But the ringing never faded

Photo by Clark Hamilton Photography
Shorts, t-shirt - it's warm out there
And I've messed up my 'brand new' hair!
Another few miles to the shop
Means the Marcothon we've not stopped!

(3.3 miles to Braco)

Day 9
With Christmas lights still glistening in my head
Once again it was time to get out of bed
A German bratty in my tum
Meant I'd no excuses not to run

Returning to a familiar trail
Up to the Cattle Grid, I would not fail
The headwind up was pretty tough
But Cori dog and I are made of stronger stuff

Steady back down, tail wind instead
My hair like Lois noodles blowing round my head
A smoothie to make and then work to be done
Day 9 complete of the Marcothon fun!

(4.7 miles Cattle Grid, Sheriffmuir)

Day 10
Was great to get up in the hills
For sunshine and some windy thrills
The wind was blowing with such might
At times it was hard to stay upright!

Up and along some Ochil tops
Just one other runner did we spot
Another 9 miles on the log
At least 3 of those were through the bog!

Today the knees were a bit jaded
On some of the downhills I felt a bit faded
Tomorrow we will need to see
If the rest of the Marcothon is to be!

(8.8 miles Glen Sherrup)

Day 11
An easy run thru the woods today
After a long-lie, well it is Sunday!
We kicked thru leaves and slipped and splashed
It certainly wasn't like a Santa dash!

More work today, fixing runners
This time of year, there seem to be hunners
Keeping on top of their aches and niggles
And quite often having fits of the giggles!

Day 11, ticked complete
And no disasters with my feet
A third is gone, lots still to do
With many more rhymes needed to get me thru!

(3 miles Keir Woods)

Day 12
Up before 6 and out the door
To rattle out another 4
Feeling the Monday morning love
Think we needed a motivational shove!

Back to a route we've already done
We're not doing the every day new option
And every corner did Cori dog sniff
Making Clark grumble 'that dog's just taking the piss...'

Stretch, shower, smoothie and back to the grind
There's no let up, it's Christmas-time
At least we've got the running to keep us sane
Still playing along in the Marcothon game!

(4.4 miles Castle Loop)

Day 13
Today was a day I could easy have said
Let's just roll over and stay here in bed
But up we got and out into the fog
Clark, me and Cori dog

What a fabulous moon we saw
That was worth going out the door
A perfect sky, splattered with stars
No other people, and no pesky cars

A lovely run, the stresses gone
I was even singing one or two songs
And once again it's time for work
With lots to do, no time to shirk!

(4.7 miles Cattle Grid)

Day 14/15
Tonight we went for the midnight double
Up Killer Hill to stay out of trouble
Dark and misty, no super moon
What a pair of crazy loons

I missed day 14's early start
A restless sleep and missed alarm
Then the quandary of a run to fit
To not end up with a Marcothon quit!

One rhyme or two, another quest
To put my brain cells to the test
Just the one, it's too taxing
It's night time, I should be relaxing!

(2.1 and 2.5 Killer Hill)

Day 16
Day 16 and I'm still in
The hunger for dinner did not win
Today I'd left it pretty late
And had to pass the miles by counting to eight

An 8am rise after yesterday's party
Meant no time to get it done smartly
It prayed on my mind, all through the day
But work has a habit of getting in the way

A basic flat out and back
Keeps the tick list on track
Tomorrow a long run is the plan
Out with Glee Club, led by Stan!

(2.9 miles Braco)

Day 17
Winter miles make summer smiles
And that's just fine with me
I've had a fabby day today
Running around with friends from Glee!

Fifteen miles at a social pace
Will get us ready next year to race
Around the Braeval three lochs loop
Then to the café for cakes, toasties and soup

Furthest run for a long time
Tonight I might self-medicate with wine
Feeling please with how it went
Focusing on the training has been time well spent!

(15 miles Braeval)

Day 18
No views today just miles of fog
Lucky to keep eyes on Clark and Cori dog
My mission today, on the climbs to keep going
So my arms kept a-swinging, even when my pace was slowing

One week from now it's Christmas day
We'll still be running, come what may
That's me over 1,500 for the year
I think that's earned me a celebratory beer!

More work today, stacking Famous Grouse
A bottle should be in every house
At least my run is done for the day
So a happy wee smile will help me on my way!

(5.3 miles Blairdennon)

Day 19
The weeknd DOMS are firmly here
Along with the Monday morning fear
A week of mayhem lies ahead
I wish I could just stay in my bed

So off we went a simple loop
Dark and damp, a murky gloop
Three miles kept us in the game
Until tomorrow when we have to do it all again!

(2.9 miles Castle loop)

Day 20
Let's do this again
We've so much to gin
Just a little to lose
To loosen our trews

Cold? it's minus three
And thick fog, nothing to see
But once we got high
Crystal clear skies

Another short 'fast' one
I think it was fun
Skating along
With no time for songs

Turkey lunch today
But it's not yet Christmas day?
The end is in sight
Let's not put up a fight!

(3 miles Sheriffmuir)

Day 21/22
This week's double had far less appeal
Storm Barbara arrived with a wintery feel
Tired and cold, a fight to stay awake
But with such a good streak, our commitment could not break

Pondering on a route to give us some shelter
In case the wild storm sent us flying helter skelter
No trail tonight just quiet lanes
Moving with care to avoid any sprains

Still in the game, and now off to the city
An early morning flight, it ain't going to be pretty
Maybe a chance for day 23 down south
Depending how much alcohol passes my mouth!

(2.2 and 2.5 Blackford/Sheriffmuir Mast)

Day 23
Waiting for Barbara to bring her worst
We managed a run in the 'daylight' first
The route we chose more swamp than path
But I've earned a mulled wine and afternoon bath!

With work all done until next week
Time to sit down, rest, eat and sleep
Yet promise we did, everyday to run
And we will keep doing the Marcothon

It's been a challenge to get this far
Juggling work and life and visits to the bars...
We're almost there, not far to go
And maybe in this last week a run in the snow?!

(2.7 miles Gathering Stone)

Day 24
A bimble round Keir Woods today
With weather ranging from sunshine to grey
A quick dash into Tesco first
To grab a couple of things, I feared the worst!

The car park empty
And shelves full of plenty
An easy job done
Then on with the run!

The storm had been
Her destruction was seen
But for us it was calm
And we came to no harm!

(3.1 miles Keir Woods)

Day 25
A merry Christmas to everyone
But let's not neglect to Marcothon
Yes it's windy, before the sprouts
We've got to stay in this, that's not in doubt!

A blowy yomp up Killer Hill
My head was fuzzy but I wasn't too ill
To make it to the top but not very fasy
Once again I reached it last

So that's it done, the Christmas run
Time to kick back and chill, have fun
Another wee glass or two of fizz
Will make this Christmas day the biz!

(4.8 miles Killer Hill)

Day 26
Storm Conor's here and plenty of snow
Up into the Ochils we decided to go
We headed into the eye of the storm
Climbing up the steep ascents to keep us warm

Stunning views across the tops
We took a couple of photograph stops
Then about turn and into the hurricane blasts
Meant none of our miles were remotely fast!

We made it back to the car in one piece
And only burnt off a little of yesterday's feast
My toes still numb and eyeballs sore
But created some memories and that's what life's for!

(5.2 Blairdennon)

Day 27
If only every run a tailwind there could be
I'd always be running pretty speedy!
With out and back a headwind return
So extra effort and calories to burn!

A 'tempo run' for me at least
Burning off the Boxing Day feast
Dry and clear, a little sun
And feeling ok, it was a decent run.

(4 miles Sheriffmuir / Mast)

Day 28
Back to work for me today
So an early three to help me on my way
The boys not impressed by the early start
Or the uninspired route around Braco Castle park.
(3 miles Castle Loop)

Day 29
It's getting close, we're near the end
The lurgy is brewing, driving me round the bend
Another run up Sheriffmuir
In the dark again, that's for sure!

The sun just glimpsing across the hill
Gives a simple morning thrill
Now smoothie time and off to work
There's stuff to do and I must not shirk!

(4.7 miles Cattle Grid)

Day 30
Today wasn't pretty
I'm feeling fairly sh!tty
A very short slow one
Just the bare minimum

(2.2 miles on the Sheriffmuir Road)
Day 31
I'd hoped to finish with more of a bang
Instead of a whimper before the bells rang
I lasted the month, more than some
And now this year's Marcothon is done!

I left my lungs and a trail of snot
As in between walks I broke into a slow trot
I watched for the boys, who'd gone way up the hill
As I sat on a rock and popped another flu pill

Mission accomplished, pat on the back
But much more pride for Clark than that
A year ago, from a hospital bed
He may never run again they said!

Team Hamilton, we did the task
The month of December we had a blast
A run of sorts, every day
Now it's time to pack 2016 away!

(3 miles around the bottom at Killer Hill)

December total = 128.9miles

2016 done!