Friday, December 17, 2010

Stingray at Isla Contoy
Originally uploaded by platinumprints
A glorious week in Mexico, walking on the beach, riding bikes around Isla Mujeres. Short by a day with Gatwick snow cancelling our flight, but we truly felt we deserved margaritas on the beach when we finally made it to the island.   Fantastic food from breakfast cassula (baked eggs and beans) and cuban roasted plantain and grilled chicken.  And more margaritas!

We enjoyed a day trip out snorkeling and visiting a bird sanctuary where we saw fantastic frigate birds and had achiote roasted fish on a barbecue under a palapa on the beach.

But by the end of the week we had tired of the cheesy seasonal soundtrack that played all day at the resort and we'd seen all the sights and walked all the beaches on the little island.... so we looked forward to the return to the frozen north.

And we just made it home before the next storm hit!

Monday, October 11, 2010

WWFOR Lincolnshire Lollop 9 October 2010

Billy, Nick and I went to Lincolnshire to run the 5th annual WWFOR at Petra and Adam's farm in 1.4 mile loops. I ran 10k and Nick ran a MARATHON!  Billy rescued the sausages from the kids cooking (take off the cling-film before inserting in oven!) and scouted for wood for his lathe.  Adam and Petra's house is absolutely incredible and they made us feel so welcome. The very best campsite we've ever found overlooking their grounds! Click on the photo below for a short video of the event.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Bristol Half Marathon 5 September 2010

It just started to rain as Ali, Nick and I started for the race village. Waiting until the last possible minute to leave our raincoats at the bag drop, we took our places at the back of the pen, as the skies opened on us.  Nick and a friend of Ali's (named Nick too), started off fast, and got faster. The rain stopped, and we even had some sunshine under the bridge, about the time we saw the Nicks, headed the other way on their way back into town.  They finished in 1:45!

Ali and I planned to run 10 min miles and then walk 0.1 mile at each mile marker.  We pretty much stuck to it until about mile 9, then Ali started having pain in her hip so we walked a couple more times each mile.  But she was smiling throughout.  We finished together in 2:20 - two minutes faster than the Bath half we ran together in the spring. Not bad as Ali really hadn't trained during her summer break. A short video follows:

Next on to the WWFOR 10K at Petra's Lincolnshire farm!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A long drive to the north coast of Scotland, but worth it! Here was one of our campsites  - our campervan was the only vehicle by evening. We woke early to hear the fishermen heading out, but the crush of August holidaymakers did not travel far enough north to crowd us. We had a rainy day on the drive up to Inverness, so decided to visit the Culloden visitor centre. I'd first learned about the battle of Culloden in 1746 in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series so I had a fantastically romantic idea about it before seeing the battlefield.

Culloden Battlefield (photo by curtis_welsh)

I had to leave the multi-sided cinema dramatisation - the horror of war in the 18th Century was too much for me - flintlock guns, swords and incredible bravery of hand to hand combat.  The exhausted, starving Scottish Jacobites in tartans fighting the professional English redcoat soldiers.  The computer simulation of the battle was fascinating.  I wish we had walked out to the clan stones on the field, but the rain was tipping down by then.  We also visited the site of Rossal, where crofters were evicted during the subsequent Highland Clearance - an early version of 'ethnic cleansing'. The Clearances stemmed in part from the attempt by the British establishment to destroy, once and for all Clan System, which had facilitated the Jacobite uprising - and combined with Culloden, destroyed the culture and sent my ancestors to immigrate. I can imagine that the scenes are even more emotive for a Scot!

The midges drove us to the coast where the breeze would take them away. NASTY little beasts that are too small to see until they bite and then itch for days!  When we had campsites in the woods, we had to close ourselves up tight, dashing out only to make very hurried toilet stops. Not much of a wilderness experience locked inside a closed vehicle!  But the coast was magical - while Billy took a wood turning class for a day I took Nelly for a long run and then went to watch the seals and knit by the sea.  
There really isn't a well defined coastal path, like in Cornwall or Pembrokshire - I guess they just don't have the traffic, so it was occasionally a bit scary, not knowing how close you should walk to the cliff and collapse scarps appeared when you were not paying attention and the fog descended.

 All in all a great adventure!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

So, I've bailed out of being the RRT scheduler/coordinator. After almost 100 episodes, I just realised that I was spending too much time WORRYING about getting it right and getting frustrated when thing went wrong at the last minute despite my best efforts. So I told everyone I was burned out and asked for help. And the funny thing is that I should have done it a long time ago.

It seems that people wanted to do more, but didn't want to step on my toes. And that my holding all the potential co-hosts confidential meant that only I could match up interests. So now with a Runners Round Table Googlegroup and Googlecalendar - it can all happen "in the cloud". I'm so relieved that I didn't have to hand it all off to someone else... its been my baby for two years!

And the timing is great! Billy and I leave next week for a campervan trip to the very northern tip of Scotland  (John O'Groats ) for a fortnight. We'll stay a couple of nights with a wood-turner Billly's keen to meet, and then wander west into the Scottish Highlands.

I'll need to keep at my running schedule, with the Bristol Half Maraton only a month away, but I think that will be pretty easy with no other committments for two weeks!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I won a pair of yurbuds from Yurtopia on RunnerDude's blog! Wow, thrilled, I never win ANYTHING. Thanks Runnerdude!
And I really had high hopes. I don't like the noise-isolating type headphones for running or commuting - they just don't seem safe.  And I like regular Apple ear buds, but they sometimes fall out when I'm running.  And I'd read so many reviews that said how great these were!

I sent of a photo of my ear (yes, that's what yurbuds needs to fit them) and very quickly my new pair arrived. The sound quality is great and the silicone bits just rotate into your ear, no problem.  BUT... I just can't seem to get my ears broken in... they just ache after about 20 min. I keep trying, but today I just finally decided they really don't work for me. Bummer! I feel a bit bad that someone with better shaped ears didn't win the contest!

But I just looked at RunnerDude's blog again and he suggested that someone else with trouble contact them to see about getting a different size... so I will! So I'm hopeful again that these yrubuds may be the solution for me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Swift Half Marathon 2010

I was confident talking about the race the night before with Gary Wall and Steve Chopper at the campground - the weather was improving, we'd had a great time last year and what could go wrong?

Saturday morning was lovely and we had no inkling over coffee in the campervan that the heat would skyrocket during the day to almost 28 degrees C or 82 degrees F! after a week of freezing rain. (photo left to right, Nigel, Iain, Mark, me, Gary, Steve, Petra and Adam with Nelly in front)

And I wasn't prepared. Work had been frantic and I'd not put in the long runs I should have.  Looking back over my BuckeyeOutdoors calendar - I had run less than before the Bath Half in March, when Ali and I ran/walked in 2:20. How could I expect to match the 1:59 PR I'd set at the Swift half the year before?  Its not like riding a bicycle! Nelly was hot and miserable so I left her with Billy at the first water stop, while I trudged on and on in the hot sun. Drank some nasty orange drink at the second waterstop, threw up a bit later and generally felt AWFUL! Finally I caught up to Adam and Petra. Petra was coaching Adam's first half marathon, urging him to keep running that last flat mile that I would have walked! So, I fell in behind them and listened to Petra's meditative counting of steps... and finally we were at the finish line. Phew!!

The next day my hips were so sore I struggled to walk the river path with Billy and Nelly and resolved to TRAIN for the Bristol Half that Ali and I are running on 5 September!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Still adjusting to life back at full speed after a glorious week living SLOW on N Captiva Island (off Mt Meyers FL).   And we just made it back before the volcanic ash shut down the UK airspace - a week in Miami waiting for a flight would have cancelled out all the relaxation!

I put together a photo album together for the grandparents (click here to see it) with LOTS more photos.
North Captiva is hard to get to - at least from London -  a 30 min boat ride after a 3 hr drive after a 9 hr flight to Miami.  But once there, the only transport is golf buggies and bikes. Its quiet and pretty uneventful - the greatest challenge of each day was figuring out how to cook for 7 people for with only few utensils and warped pots.

A week of beach walks, playing scrabble with the kids and Billy's parents, running on sandy trails, spotting huge birds, turtles and dolphins.  Kids went fishing, but I couldn't justify the outrageous expense - certainly the most expensive dinner we had!

We were without the internet most of the week, but finally pirated wifi from someone - but I still managed to call in to Runners Round Table from the observation platform on the roof, watching the sun set over the osprey nest with two fledglings right next to the house - fantastic.

The last day Ali and I ran along the beach  - and a pod of dolphins swam just offshore making the fish jump into the air. They followed along the beach with us for almost a mile, then we ran back to the house to toss them the rest of the raw fish the kids had caught and they took it! It was exhilarating to be a part of their world!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ali and I ran the Bath Half Marathon! Click to view 1 minute video. OK, no actual running in the video, because I needed the ipod nano for tunes during the race... but shots before and after.

A glorious break in the dark, dank and dreary winter we've been having.
Next time I'll turn the ipod the other way, so the video is wide not tall (dummy!)

Ali had a such a good time, she asked me to sign us up for the Bristol Half. So FOUR half marathons for me this year! Good inspiration to keep the training up!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mom's 80th Birthday bash. Ali and I met up with the rest of the family for a week in Seattle, where we had a three day party- teasing each other, eating restaurant decadent food, playing cards, shopping and catching up on all the news. Culinary highlight was the biggest cinnamon bun I'd ever seen we shared at Little Johns' that was absolutely scrumptious! The butter cream frosting was to die for!

My brother Miller, from the Oregon border, my sister Linnie from LA and sister Missi, from Idaho, and I all contributed to fantastic photo album that Miller's wife Stormi created. Missi and I made early morning runs to the gym, trying in vain to offset all the excess. And our uncle Lymie and aunt Liz joined us for a Mexican meal.  Two of Ali's cousins, Blake and Sam  helped her regress from a stressed teacher to a laughing child sitting at the kids table - it was good to see.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The road ahead? OK, I can't resist the temptation for New Year's resolutions...sucker. So here they are:

- Get enough sleep so that I wake up refreshed and energized.

- Plan ahead so I'm never ravenously hungry, which leads to stupid food choices.

- Eat consciously, with no mindless "what happened to my sandwich?" moments.

- Find motivation by participating in the online community and challenges.

- Appreciate the strength of my body at the gym, biking and running.

- Spend a part of each day enjoying the outdoors - and bring the dog when I can.

- Be genuine and try to enhance other people's self esteem.

- Driven and committed are good, but frantic and frazzled are not!

- Seek balance and nurture positive beliefs, relationships and actions.

I'm part of a lose 10 lbs in 10 weeks challenge, will journal food on FitDay and I've signed up for a squat/sit-up/lunge challenge. All very virtuous!