Cut-back month

After the Baker Hughes 10k on Sunday, I did some tidying, watched a couple of crappy movies on TV with Ian, and packed for my week away with 44 teenagers in London.  After midnight, I decided I should probably get some sleep for the long day ahead.  The day that started with getting on a coach at 4:30. In.  The.  Morning.

After a 90 minute power nap, I dragged myself into the shower, before packing last minute things and remembering a pillow for the 74 month (OK, 14 hour) journey ahead.  On a bus, in case I had neglected to mention that charming detail.  With teenagers that still think farting is hilarious.

Roughly 17 years later, we were all shuffling off of the bus and breathing in slightly warmer air in front of the London Eye, which we took a ride on before heading to the hotel for dinner and room checks.  At 11:13 I crawled into bed.  At 11:13:05, I was asleep.

The week was pretty similar to last year, with a morning shopping in Camden (at least the parts not affected by the fire the night before), the London Dungeons, a few musicals (Billy Elliot, Jersey Boys, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Covent Garden, Thorpe Park, the London Zoo….

Giraffe, clearly.

Giraffe, clearly.

It also involved getting up before 6:00 am every morning for a run.  I managed a single run on last year’s trip, and while May was supposed to be my month off running to give myself a break after the Fling, the weather was nice, and I managed to crack out at least a 5k every morning we were there.

Morning 1 - 8.5 miles

Morning 1 – 8.5 miles along the Thames

 

Morning 4 - 5k to Trafalgar Square and  back

Morning 4 – 5k to Trafalgar Square and back

Friday was the long coach trip back to Aberdeen, Saturday was weights and a 4 mile run, and Sunday, today, was meant to be my first ‘long run’ to get me back into gear before the Giants Head marathon at the end of June.  I set off expecting about 14 miles, but arrived home 20 miles later thanks to the mid-run company of some friends: Maz, Elaine (who is running Dundee and Glenmore 12 as well), and Carol (who is training for her first marathon).  And possibly fueled by the sheer happiness I got from looking down at my colourful new tights (thank you free time in London to shop).  Even the rain wasn’t enough to dampen (I crack myself up) my mood.

10 miles in

10 miles in

Last night was also the much-anticipated opening of entries for the Glen Ogle 33 mile ultra held on November 1st.  Knowing a few people who planned on entering, I booked my hotel room in the 15 minutes before entries opened (after insider information pointing me in the direction of one of the last rooms at the inn where the after party is), and spent the next 20 minutes anxiously brushing off any of Ian’s attempts to speak to me, explaining I was dealing with some time-sensitive stuff and must not be disturbed.  Oh, and entering the race.  Which means I might as well try to make the most of my ‘cut back month’, since the second half of 2014 seems to be planned and packed!

  • June: Seven Hills of Edinburgh Challenge, Giants Head marathon
  • July: Heart of the Park Challenge, Dundee marathon
  • August: Speyside Way Ultra
  • September: Glenmore 12, Loch Ness marathon
  • October: Amsterdam marathon
  • November: Glen Ogle 33
  • December: Pisa marathon

I’m also in the middle of selling my apartment, so somewhere in there will be moving out (and staying with Ian’s mum), and flat/house-hunting with Ian!  And hopefully, you know, moving into a new, slightly bigger place.  Goodbye free time…

2014-05-15 13.21.35

All Quiet on the Scottish Front

Note:  I’m an English teacher, I’m allowed to create cheesy titles for my posts.

Now that my spring running schedule is coming to an end, I find I have a lot more free time at the weekends.  I had promised to Ian that I would go light on the summer races, since there is a chance Scotland will get some palatable weather and we can do outdoorsy stuff together, (and there is a greater chance that if I don’t keep to my word I’ll return home one day to find my belongings shredded and burnt) and I have been fairly vigilant at keeping myself in check.  The last two weekends have been race free, and, delightfully, the weather has been amazing.  This has resulted in a couple more outings on the road bikes.

Two weeks ago we were joined by one of Ian’s friends who was riding on his mountain bike (and suffering as Ian and I glided along the road effortlessly).  Once out of Aberdeen, we took the quiet back roads to Banchory, where we each enjoyed an ice-cream before heading back.  It was such a glorious day that I have pretty much ensured my ridiculous lycra tan will be a permanent fixture this year.  Again.

This past Sunday, despite being a bit cooler and cloudier, we took the road bikes out again, this time just me and Ian.  We took a similar route in the beginning, but continued on to Dunecht (where I ran a 5k a few weeks ago), and then on to Castle Fraser, where we stopped for a slice of cake (me), a scone (Ian), and some orange juice.  As I headed to the toilet after our treat, I overheard a human beluga that had also been indulging in the tea room tell her equally corpulent friend that it would be “a long drive back to Aberdeen” and they should maybe use the toilet and get a treat for the journey.  For reference, it is about a 20 mile drive back to Aberdeen along the main roads.  I was speechless.

Outside Castle Fraser

Outside Castle Fraser

Aberdeen to Crathes Castle route

Aberdeen to Castle Fraser route

Aberdeen to Castle Fraser elevation

Aberdeen to Castle Fraser elevation

I have also been pretty quiet recently because I have endured enjoyed a school trip to London for a week with 40 teenagers who appear to be immune to fatigue.  And silence.  Having lived in London a few times, I always find it kind of nice to go back and see familiar places.  It was not kind of nice to spend 12 hours on a bus getting there, and I’m pretty sure ‘butt-cramp’ is a very real affliction.

Anyway, we got to go on the London Eye and scope out several of London’s landmarks, we went shopping in Camden Town (my old haunt) and Covent Garden, took in a few shows (Billy Elliot was amazing), visited the zoo, survived the London Dungeons, and had a day trip to Thorpe Park, where I remembered how much rickety roller coaster hurt your head.

Tiger having a snooze at London zoo

Tiger having a snooze at London zoo

Jellyfish

Jellyfish

Big ass moth

Big ass moth

Penguins

Penguins

Caricature from Covent Garden

Caricature from Covent Garden

We also accidentally stumbled upon the premier for The Hangover 3 which was extremely exciting for many of the teenage girls since apparently Bradley Cooper is a “total babe!” and “OMG so hot!”.  I tried to convince them that he wouldn’t be there yet, but they asked me to look over the crowds, so I wedged myself between a couple of hysterical fans at the barrier and, sure enough, Mr. Cooper was about 6 feet away.  I told the girls he was pretty much within spitting distance, and then took turns ushering kids towards the barrier and holding them up under their armpits so they could get a look.  I snapped a photo to show the kids that had missed out, and then made my way back to the rest of the group, as we were kind of meant to be heading to the theatre.

Bradley Cooper at the Hangover 3 premier in London

Bradley Cooper at the Hangover 3 premier in London

Bradley Cooper - still at the premier for the Hangover 3 in London

Bradley Cooper – still at the premier for the Hangover 3 in London

Although I did take my running stuff to London, I was still pretty miserable and ill for the first couple of days, and only managed to get out once for an enjoyable 8 miles along the Thames.  Early starts, chaperoning kids, walking around the city/theme park, and late nights after the theatre kind of take it out of you, and by the end, I was pretty glad to be back in my own bed.

The Shard

The Shard

Big Ben

Big Ben

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

Red phone box and the London Eye in the background

Red phone box and the London Eye in the background