Berlin, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Jakarta, Bangkok, Cairo, London…

So I’m still pretty new to this whole ‘blogging’ thing, so I’m super psyched when I see people have clicked through for a snoop.  Over the last few days, however, I have noticed a worrying trend in the ‘tone’ of google searches that somehow lead to people discovering my site.  These are not the kinds of people I want to have flipping through old posts and checking out route maps to try to decipher where I live (I’m just going to save you the effort and say it’s at least a 5 minute warm-up/cool-down walk from any start).  I present to you, dear reader, exhibit A:

Now, I have named the site medal slut, and I am sure somewhere I have posted about the half marathon, or the Loch Ness Marathon in Inverness, but I did not expect to be linked with some lonely soul’s late night need for release.  For the record, I typed ‘slut in inverness’ into google and realized that my page doesn’t crop up until the seventh page of results – this dude had perseverance!  Still, I thought it must be a one off, and I had a chuckle.

Enter, January 10th!  Without further comment, I present to you exhibit B:

Amazing.

Now I’m not going to get all ‘Oh my god, groooooooss’ with this.  I’m going to milk it.  I am a slut for the medals, but I’ll tell you now, I am also a slut for the views.  Let’s work it google.  ‘Slut’ is always going to be there, so to capitalize on lonely perverts all I need to to is name drop different cities!  Kaboom!

In other, more relevant news, a punishing 3 days, being back at work and jet-lag have caught up and bitten me in the ass – hard.  A few years ago I would have hauled my bad-ass self to the gym and worked out until I puked instead of resting, but age and wisdom have been bestowed upon me (thanks to an injury that informed me in a loud, booming voice that I was not, as I had previously believed, immortal) a sensible inner voice, and I am taking what I believe people refer to as a ‘rest’ day.  I will, obviously, be hittin’ it hard tomorrow!

January 3rd: running, pumping and swimming.

Managed to haul myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 5:15am today.  Disgusting, right?  Anyway, after a day of inactivity I felt that I should really put in a good effort today, so I strapped on my Garmin, threw a few pieces of strawberry licorice down my throat (for the energy, OK?), and chugged half a Gatorade before slipping out the front door.  And holy shit, was it warm.  About 3k in I passed a dry-cleaners that has one of those LED displays outside with the time, temperature and price information.  25 degrees Celsius at 6:15 am.  Crap.

Perseverance led me to totting up the longest run I’ve done in a long, long time (years), and I stopped my Garmin at 8.45 miles.  Sweet.  If I could do that today, the Arbroath 10 miler and the Global Energy Inverness Half Marathon are definitely achievable, so I was feeling pretty positive.

Deciding not to shower (and therefor choosing to offend anyone within a 10 foot radius of my body), I then went to a 9:30 Body Pump class, as I hadn’t done weights for a week because the freaking gyms in this town have ridiculous holidays.  Seriously, Christmas Day I understand, and even New Year’s Day, to a point.  Nothing more.  Anyway, the muscles I worked the hardest are whatever muscles are used to create a fierce grimace – that class was mega painful.  I’ll take a mental note never to skip pump for a week, it’s a freaking killer.

Upon returning home, I had no choice but to finally shower.  I was receiving unpleasant looks from the family.  After lounging around for a couple of hours, and getting back sweat from merely sitting down (totally hot – the temperature, not my perspiration predicament), the family went on an outing to Hume lake, where my brother worked on his tan and I worked on not letting my corpse flesh disintegrate after going so long without direct sunlight.  Seriously, I am white.

Board shorts and a sports bra are a fashionable alternative to swimwear if you don't own a bathing suit. Fact.

Anyway, we have just stuffed ourselves with Albury’s finest fish and chips, washed down with the champagne that should have been enjoyed at the bells on New Year’s Eve – if everybody hadn’t crashed out and just decided ‘screw this, I’m tired’.  Next up?  Probably another shower, then some monopoly, followed by an early night, because waking up before 6am on your holiday isn’t lame enough.

On a completely separate note, I have discovered dailymile.com.    It’s like Facebook for fitness fanatics, I already love it.  I wanted a place where I could keep track of my training/total miles for 2012 without really worrying about performing basic maths and adding miles myself, so this is perfect!  If anyone is on it, you can search for Raquel P.

Hogmanay, Australia: Supermarket Sweep!

Ah, New Year’s Eve.  A day full of hopes and ambitions waiting to be crushed.  Last year I was in Houston and stayed in with my brother watching trash TV and eating pumpkin spiced pancakes.  This year?  Well, it’s 8:40pm,  I’ve just stuffed my face with pasta, butter and cheese, and I’ll probably crack open the bubbly for a sly glass or two before hitting the snooze pad.  The joys of jet-lag.  At least my plans wont be detrimental to my scheduled run tomorrow.

This morning I managed 12k.  I had to leave at 5:37am, just as the sun was rising, in order to catch the last of the ‘cool’ air (24 degrees at the start).  I ran a similar route to my 11k, including the old track, but managed to run a bit further to round the run up to 12k.  Along the route I noticed the shopping trolley I had noticed on my first run.  I had seen a few more shopping trolleys during my stay, so I decided to take a photo every time I came across one.  This forced me to take more camera stops than I thought possible.  For the sake of brevity, I have omitted the photo of the shopping trolley from my last run.

Technically Shopping Trolley #2

#3 - Upside down!

#4

Double Trouble! #5 and #6

#7

The 12k today was also much easier than the 11k the day after I arrived.  Probably since I had time to acclimatize to the heat.  Probably also due to the fact that I hadn’t just stepped off of a  plane after a 30 hour journey.  My heart rate was lower, I didn’t feel tired, and when I got back to the house I didn’t feel like I was completely spent.  Good news as 12k is about 7.5 miles.  I would like to comfortably run 10 miles by the end of January.

Tomorrow morning I hope to be doing the same thing I did on January 1st, 2011: running.  As long as I can rack up 10k, I’ll be happy.  After all, it is a holiday and I’m entitled to take it a bit easy.

Running in heat!

Well, I arrived safe and sound yesterday in Australia and met the rest of my family at Sydney Airport.  We then took the (very, very bumpy) hour flight to Albury, where my grandparents live.  So far I have been gifted with sunshine and warmth, and while for pretty much everything that is amazing, for running it can make things difficult.  Especially if you’re used to dealing with limbs losing sensation due to the cold and trying not to get sleet whipped into your eyes due to gale force winds (Ah, the joys of running in Scotland).

The flights over were, while not completely terrible, long and sore.  I didn’t get too much sleep, but I did eat a lot.  Apart from the crew wearing santa hats/reindeer antlers, and a little Lindtt chocolate bunny, there wasn’t much of a fuss over Christmas, so I was a bit disappointed, even though I am still not sure what I was expecting.  On Christmas Day we stopped in Bangkok for about an hour, so I had a bit of time to stretch my legs and take an obligatory ‘Christmas Day Photo’ at the airport:

Bangkok Airport, Christmas Day 2011

When we finally arrived in Albury, we were shattered.  I had a power nap (and apparently had some fantastic photos taken of my sleeping face courtesy of my uncle’s new flashy camera and my brother’s suggestion, I’m sure) and then awoke to a lasagne feast!  Much better than plane food.  About 11pm, I could resist sleep no more and hit the hay.

Santa's stash!

I awoke at about 3 this morning to a phone call from my bank alerting me to some possibly fraudulent transaction attempt.  I had to verify that it was indeed me trying to withdraw money in Australia unsuccessfully (causing major distress at Sydney after a parched flight), and couldn’t get back to sleep.  I looked outside.  Darkness.  I checked online for sunrise times. 5:55am.  Ages to go.

I decided to stay awake and then head out as soon as the sky started getting light to avoid having to run in immense heat.  At 5:30, I donned my brand new Sauconey running shoes (courtesy of Santa), set up my Garmin and made sure that I had a map of the area set up on my phone.  I set off shortly after and managed to fit in a respectable 6.81 miles.  The pace was slow, but I decided to ease my body back into exercise after all that traveling, and allow it to get used to the temperature change.  I also had to check where the hell I was occasionally, and I stopped to take a few photos.  I got back shortly after 6:45am and it was already 23 degrees.  Ridiculous!

Below is the route I took, courtesy, obviously, of my Garmin.  See if you can spot the 400m (roughly) track I found and took a lap on!

Route: 27 December

Tomorrow and Thursday I’ll be doing classes at the local gym and taking advantage of the last two days it’ll be open this year (Mental holidays!  You wouldn’t have to put up with that in Aberdeen!).  Then more running!

Here are some snaps taken during this morning’s run:

Payphone

Lavington Literary Institute

Blurry 'action shot' of the running track I came across

Abandoned trolley

Early opening laundromat on Mate Street

A deserted Mate Street at ridiculous o'clock

By the way, the new Sauconey shoes are great!  And while I was being ultra healthy, my boyfriend was thousands of miles away indulging in a Boxing Day BBQ!