John Muir Way Ultra Training Log Week 4

It has been another challenging week fitting in training around the every day things that go on. The anti blister socks seemed to do the trick and I haven’t been troubled by that this week. Thursday was a tough 90 minutes after work and then Saturday was long run day. 3 hours is the longest so far and Billy agreed to come and pick me up so that I didn’t need to do the big down hill. The first hour was fine and I mainly zoned out and got on with it. I felt hot at this stage and took off my jacket. 3hr up hill

The discomfort and wanting to stop set in at around 90 minutes and the weather turned a bit colder and darker. I turned back at 2 hours and was feeling sore all over. This is not a great feeling with an hour still to go. I walked a bit up the hill eating some crisps. My stomach cramps and general feeling of nasuea were a bit concerning and the last hour was a real battle of wills to keep going. I made my way through 3 Starbursts but overall the fuelling wasn’t great today. Aside from the sweets I manged a handful of crisps and not nearly enough fluids. I need to do better. 3 hours done nonetheless.

end selfie

The rest of Saturday was more or less a washout and I struggled to refuel, feeling nauseous the rest of the day. Again, a day makes a big difference and I feel a lot better today. I am hopefully ready for the challenges that lie ahead this week.

This week’s log:

Monday – REST

Tuesday – 45 minutes 5.2 miles 8.50 ave pace

Wednesday – REST

Thursday –1 hour 30 minutes 10.62 miles 8.28 ave pace

Friday – REST

Saturday – 3 hours 19.4 miles 9.04 ave pace

Sunday – REST

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John Muir Way Ultra Training Log Week 3

I am still adjusting to the regime of only running a few days in the week instead of almost every day, but I know my body is in need of the rest.

I took myself up the hill on Friday and for the first time in ages I appreciated the beauty of running and got into a nice wee groove. I met a few cyclists en route who had to turn back because they were slipping on the snow lined path, but I found the going okay under-foot.

My hat and gloves did not last long, but I had to use my sleeve gloves in a few of the colder sections. The run back down the hill is never kind on the legs, but the route was a nice change. My main concern at the end of the run was some nasty blistering which has been developing over the past week or so. The location makes it difficult to get good plaster coverage and it was a worry for the Sunday long run. Pre-run fuelling felt good -porridge and toast and I didn’t feel the need to break out the Mini Cheddars and Flumps. I am happy that I seem to have nailed my pre-run meal. Slow and steady was the order of the day.

This is the post-run re-fuel regime. I am trying to focus on a bit more protein to aid muscle recovery. Ultra runners advise me that a Yazoo does the job as well as any protein shake!

Saturday was a nice day with Scott at the Killie game. We are gutted that the next round is away to Aberdeen as I had hoped to get Scott on the full cup run. Sadly it is at a very busy time and is just too far 😦

As good as the Friday run felt, the Sunday run felt awful. My legs and back were sore from the start and I knew I was going to have to grit my teeth and get through it. I shuffled through an hour and fifteen minutes to West Kilbride and then turned back. The blistering on my foot was fine, but then rubbing started on a toe on my other foot and I had to stop and apply a plaster. No prizes for guessing the point in the run when that happened – 11 minute mile. Hmm.

It was maybe just one of those days, but I think the message may be that I am going to struggle with the double loaded long-runs. I have also ordered some anti-blister socks!

I finished the run absolutely broken and a little snowed upon:snow face

The rest of Sunday was a write-off. My body ached and once again the doubts were prominent. I have concerns about various niggles and have to keep questioning how I am going to hold up. Today is another day though and I feel much fresher. A wee cafe date with my best boys today also lifted my spirits.

Luke nardinisscott ice creamsteal ice cream

Things are definitely getting a bit more real in terms of race day. 7 weeks to go and I booked accommodation in Dunbar for race weekend! At the end of the coming week, I also need to hit the 3 hour mark for the first time.

This week’s log:

Monday – 1 hour 7 miles 8.34 ave pace

Tuesday – REST

Wednesday – REST

Thursday – REST (played netball!)

Friday – 2 hours 13.5 miles 8.44 ave pace

Saturday – REST

Sunday – 2.5 hours 17.2 miles 8.43 ave pace

And finally… I am super proud of Scott this week. After a difficult couple of weeks learning his Scots poem, he persevered and was selected to recite his poem for the Cronies. He was pleased as punch!

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John Muir Way Ultra Training Log Week 2

I started off very leggy this week. Monday and Tuesday were uncomfortable on the legs and I felt tired and sluggish. I am aiming to foam roll every day, but I am definitely much more aware of aches and pains and some days I just think, “Jeez, I feel old!”  I also need to schedule in more sleep. Part of it is my fault for staying up too late, the rest I blame on the scamp to the left.


My legs felt better on Friday but it was a struggle to fit the run in around work and a coaching course on Friday evening. I ended up going to bed without any tea on Friday night which I need to be more conscious of in terms of thinking about what I eat.

I had a bit of a fail charging my Garmin for my long Sunday run and I just realised that it hadn’t charged as I was going out the door. I hastily downloaded Strava to my phone which was a bit of a change from looking down at my watch. The notifications of speed,distance,time every half mile were sometimes irritating but sometimes welcome. I haven’t decided whether I will go with it as a regular thing. My in-run nutrition this week was a Flump and a few Mini Cheddars. Pre run fuelling seemed to work well with porridge and toast and this week felt better than last week overall. I am trying to add more protein to my diet to enhance muscle recovery so I started with a bottle of strawberry milk post run. Today was the longest I have run in 4 years!

This week’s log:

Monday – 45 minutes 5.36miles 8.24 ave pace

Tuesday – 45 minutes 5.32 miles 8.26 ave pace

Wednesday – REST

Thursday – REST (played netball!)

Friday – 1.5 hours 10.58 miles 8.30 ave pace

Saturday – REST

Sunday – 2.5 hours 17.5 miles 8.28 ave pace

There is nothing like a great Killie win on the Saturday to add a spring to the step as well 🙂

killie beat celtic.jpg

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John Muir Way Ultra Training Log Week 1

I have been back in forth in my head for a few months now about whether or not to take on a running challenge this year. On the against side is my busy schedule and trying to fit in adequate training, and on the for side is the pull to do something to give myself the ultimate satisfaction that I just ‘can’. I received the not at all surprising “No” from the London Marathon entry system back in October. Ultimately I couldn’t get myself excited about any other marathons within range – tie in with holidays, not already closed and so on. It was at this point that I began to consider an ultra. These events often tend to be a lot less commercial and although the distance is longer, I felt I may put myself under a little less pressure with no sub 4 hour marathon to target. It was with this in mind that in the Christmas holidays I signed up for the John Muir Ultra on March 31st. This is in the “short ultra” ballpark at 50km (31 miles) . My heart sank when I discovered I was on the waiting list without a place. I kind of thought that maybe this year it wasn’t meant to be and left it at that till…I got an email to say I now had a place!

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I have now completed Week 1 of my training plan and have to keep the hope that I can do this. My plan is based on time rather than distance which I hope will encourage me to calm the jets and not push too hard on my training runs. There is no point in rushing to get finished quickly when you are on a fixed time! I also struggle with not running every day. My body is tuned for short runs nearly every day, but I know that with the heavy mileage days I need to allow my body to recover on rest days.

This week’s log:

Monday – 45 minutes 5.29 miles 8.18 ave pace

Tuesday – 45 minutes 5.36 miles 8.16 ave pace

Wednesday – REST

Thursday – REST (played netball!)

Friday – 1.5 hours 10.62 miles 8.28 ave pace

Saturday – REST

Sunday – 2 hours 13.65 miles 8.48 ave pace

Today’s 2 hours was harder going than I would’ve wanted and allowed the first round of doubts to creep in. I might have to accept that running the full distance may be more than I can manage.I definitely need to commit to regular foam rolling and will try not to think too far ahead. I need to read up on nutrition and get it right this time.

Today’s nutrition consisted of my camel pak and this:jelly tots

Two hours hurt a lot (camera smudged in rain):

2 hours

I may also need to conserve energy when I’m with this pair!


Bring on week 2!


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2017 Reads

I clocked up 39 books in 2017. As with every year, there were some real good reads, but also some tedious books that were a bit of a struggle.  In terms of choosing books, I tend to go with books that are in the Kindle Daily Deals section. This is because I want to avoid paying any more than £1 for a book. There are a few that I find it difficult to remember what they are about so they definitely do not make it into my shortlist! The 39 books from first to last read are as follows:

The Shadow Wife by Diane Chamberlain 

Baby Doll by Hollie Overton

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

The Truth About Us by Simon Kettlewell 

The Truth About Her by Simon Kettlewell  The Truth About Her: A mini sequel to the top-selling 'The Truth About Us' by [Kettlewell, Simon]

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan 

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain

Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant 

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd 

The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse

You Sent Me a Letter by Lucy Dawson 

The Hanging Club by Tony Parsons 

Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by David Walsh

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller 

Adrian Mole The Wilderness Years by Sue Townsend

The Girl Before by JP Delaney  

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 

My Sister And Other Liars by Ruth Dugdall

The Wall Between Us by Jesper Bugge Kold 

A suitable lie by Michael J. Malone 

Lion by Saroo Brierley 

What have I done? by Amanda Prowse

Please, Mister Postman by Alan Johnson 

Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout 

Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil

Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon 

A Very English Scandal by John Preston 

One of us is lying by Karen M. McManus 

Your life in my hands by Rachel Clarke 

N-W by Zadie Smith 

It ends with us by Coleen Hoover 

The last days of Hitler by Hugh Trevor-Roper

Trust me I’m a Junior Doctor by Max Pemberton 

Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillan

When good friends go bad by Ellie Campbell

Love, lies and lemon cake by Sue Watson

Quicksand by  Malin Persson Giolino

Mudbound by Hilary Jordan 

The shortlist of my top 5 favourite reads (in no particular order):

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson:

A really interesting read with some fascinating stories about people who have been publicly shamed, mainly as a result of the internet. There is now a whole business out there of people who will try to manipulate Google to get “shamed persons” a new story. I had heard of some of the stories, like the girl who made a bad taste Twitter joke about Africa and Aids. It is scary biscuits to see how her life subsequently unraveled.

Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant:

This was a fabulous thriller set in large part in sunnier climes which I often like to escape into during the winter . There were lots of twists and turns in this novel and I can highly recommend it, without giving any more anyway.

Please, Mister Postman by Alan Johnson:

This was a real surprising success for me. This is the second part of Alan Johnson’s autobiography. (His first book “Nowhere Boy chronicles his childhood.) I bought the book on a whim, not being a big fan of Alan Johnson’s New Labour credentials. However, it was a really interesting insight  into union politics and the workings of an organisation close to my heart – Royal Mail! I may be tempted to read the next instalment…

Mudbound by Hilary Jordan:

This was my last book of the year and I ended up reading it over a couple of days, in part to get it done before the year ended, but also because it was a real gripping read. It is set in the Mississippi Delta in the 1940s and has a few themes revolving around racial inequality, gender inequality and the harshness of agricultural life. Parts of it are shocking and will stick with me. The book has now been released as a film, but I don’t know if I could bear to watch it!

Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller:

This is a strange, strange plot about a young girl and her father who end up living in the German Black Forest miles from civilisation and cut off from the outside world. The location really drew me and it was a bizarre story that was hard not to finish, but also quite a difficult read.


What were your favourite reads of the year? Which books would you recommend?

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December times

Our weeks up to Christmas were mapped out for us with various different events. We kicked off December with Billy’s birthday. Unfortunately Luke was a bit under the weather for 24 hours. He was suddenly sick on the Sunday and it took almost a day for him to get back to his usual self.SAM_7701

We had a school trip to the Winter Wonderland at Kelburn. Billy and I were decidely unimpressed with the lame offerings. Scott and Luke seemed to enjoy it though so I will try not to be too mean-spirited. I felt they sold big for very little to actually see. Scott was happy to be with friends though and Luke was definitely pleased to tag along.SAM_7695SAM_7697SAM_7698

A big highlight was taking Scott to his 1st Killie game. We had this planned for a couple of months and Scott was really looking forward to it. I built it up in the week leading up to the game with the hat and scarf in the advent calendar.

I tried to minimise expectations and I could scarcely believe the 5-1 scoreline!IMG_0171IMG_0174IMG_0175IMG_0181A trip to Rugby Park always brings me so many memories. Scary to think my 1st game was 28 years ago! It was bitterly cold, so the goals were very welcome. Hopefully, I am building a new supporter for the team in Scott.

Luke got a light up Snowman in the advent calendar so I introduced him to the film. It really captured his attention.

We enjoyed our lovely friend Clare’s festive wedding at Marr Hall:IMG_E0266

Festive baking and treat making is my favourite:SAM_7743Luke helped making our snowmen and the amount of chocolate he consumed was a tad worrying!


I saw this Christmas cake bauble idea when I was shopping in Tesco and I decided it was “do-able”. I baked a simple fruit cake (one for each set of grandparents) and covered in butter icing before topping with ready roll icing. All I then had to do was cut the star shapes and fill with sprinkles! A cupcake case and ribbon creates the string at the top of the bauble effect.SAM_7751

The boys decided they needed “pudding” for lunch on Christmas Eve:


Christmas morning was magical for the boys.SAM_7763SAM_7767SAM_7769Luke took the opportunity to munch as much chocolate as he could get his hands on!SAM_7774

Santa gave a helping hand in persuading Scott to adopt Killie as his team. Scott honestly loves chatting about football so it is very easy giving a potted history of the last 30 years of Kilmarnock F.C. to a captive audience:SAM_7773

The wee guy has been scuttling about on his balance bike:IMG_0316

Scott and I had a swimming and cinema trip on one of Luke’s nursery days. The swimming pool was very quiet so we had a good time to ourselves taking lots of turns on the flumes before we went across the road to the cinema for Jumanji.


There has been time for a nip outside in the fresh air:

We had an unexpected snow day that kept us close to home. Luke made sure he was well prepared before going out…SAM_7804SAM_7807

It is always a wee bit magical when you wake up to a snow scene outside:SAM_7788SAM_7789SAM_7791SAM_7792SAM_7795SAM_7798SAM_7799

We ventured up the hill a short way in the afternoon:SAM_7808SAM_7810SAM_7811SAM_7813SAM_7816

I rounded off the month with a softplay date with Luke while Scott was at Star Wars with Billy:

It has been a good month. As Scott said, with 4 wins and 2 draws for Killie in December: “We’re unbeaten. That’s not bad at all.” Not bad at all!

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Advent Adventure

This year for the first time, I decided to do my own advent calendar for the boys. The pictures really tell the story. This was quite a big undertaking to get 24 small gifts for both boys and I started gathering items in October. I would say it was worth it, though…

IMG_0128 Day 1

IMG_0133 Day 2

IMG_0134Day 3

IMG_0141Day 4

IMG_0143Day 5

IMG_0152Day 6

IMG_0157Day 7

IMG_0161 Day 8

IMG_0168Day 9

IMG_0183 Day 10

25397908_10156044565851757_1829094203_oDay 11

25400744_10156044565691757_606447546_oDay 12

25435449_10156044565606757_317297884_oDay 13

25397966_10156044565391757_1220865503_oDay 14

IMG_0233Day 15

IMG_0236Day 16

IMG_0260Day 17

IMG_0281Day 18

IMG_0288Day 19

26060891_10156072741581757_1862185181_oDay 20

26036951_10156072741721757_487757560_oDay 21

26036364_10156072742321757_1780150403_oDay 22

26037364_10156072742881757_919139169_oDay 23

26036427_10156072743181757_1180296002_oDay 24

Most of the items did not fit in the calendar, so I left a short message with a clue that would lead the boys to the gift.  I really liked this part of the adventure!



SAM_7759The end x

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