Sponsor Profile:Gas Technology Partnership Ltd

Gas Technology Partnership Ltd

As with many of my corporate sponsors Sarah has chosen to write about the why of getting involved in sponsoring myself for the Marathon des Sables.  Few of them have taken the opportunity to showcase their business.  BUT, I think the way they have written their profiles says alot about them as business owners and how they want you, potential clients, to see what they value.  I am delighted that these businesses have gotten involved, that they value mental health and, it always astounds me, but their belief in my abilities.  Anyway, enough rambling on my part, here is Sarah’s words:-

You’d be forgiven for thinking ‘why is a Specialist Gas Consultant sponsoring Louise for the MDS Event?’

Actually, there’s more common ground here than meets the eye. Read on…

 

Louise and I first met during the 2014 Spartan Sprint just south of Edinburgh. Well when I say we met, what I mean is we didn’t have a clue who each other was but I decided to embark on a silent competition between us during the 5k obstacle race. Ridiculous I know, I had no chance against Louise.

I went away always wondering who my nemesis was.

The 2nd time we met was at an OCR training day that Louise was coaching in Ayrshire last year. I remember smiling to myself when I saw her stomping around and I thought ‘at last I get to meet the wee powerhouse herself’. (Sarah is on the left, conquering the high wall at the muddyraces OCR training day at Scottish Assault Courses Ayrshire).

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I knew right away we’d get along like we’d known each other for years. Louise is passionate about her sports and her goals. That comes across right away. It’s an attractive trait and you can see that people really warm to her.

We’ve been in touch ever since with the conversation always about racing and our personal physical goals, including the inevitable ups and downs that this always entails, but Louise always sees the positive and she’s a total inspiration for me.

I was so excited to hear that Louise had been selected to take part in the Marathon des Sables – ‘The toughest footrace on Earth’. 5 ½ marathons in 5 or 6 days – across the Sahara Desert!

Without a 2nd thought I wanted to support her in this epic dream.

This is where the commonality is between Louise’s goal and my company – Gas Technology Partnership Ltd. My dream was to always run my own company. After years of being constantly let down by employers I decided ‘ENOUGH!’ I can do better for myself.

I knew what my goal was; I could see the end game. I just needed to make it happen. 2 and half years later and I’m now running a very successful business, in fact it’s surpassed even my own expectations.

It takes hard work, determination, tenacity, positivity – especially when things get tough – which they do. And you have to keep that end game clear in your head – never lose sight of what your goal is.

But I gotta say, you do need a strong support network behind you. For me it was my friends and family who simply just believed in me.

Louise has all those traits in abundance and I know she’ll achieve her goal and it’ll be the experience of a lifetime. I also know what it means to just need some support along the way. It feels like perfect Karma to be able to give something back to help Louise live her dream.

 

Good luck my friend!

So again, thank you to all who take the time to read these blogs, please pop over to Sarah’s website/ facebook page and give her a ‘like’ and share the love as they say.

Website:  www.gtp-gas.co.uk

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/gastechnologypartnership/?fref=ts

 

 

Spartan Sprint Scotland

Relaxation – Post race

I have just hauled myself out of my bath, that is the most unrelaxing bath I have ever had, my neighbours must have been scared by the howling as I scrubbed my nettle stings and scrapes from this weekends adventures – OCR kisses – Hell Yeah!

Spartan Sprint

I was facing this weekend with trepidation, I didn’t really know if my body was going to let me down after having to cancel 4 races since returning from holiday with an injury.  Karen and I drove through to the Edinburgh venue wondering what faced us.  We were welcomed with rolling hills and good old Scottish summer, howling winds and a downpour, lovely!

Registration was a nightmare, again the Trumin booking system causing me issues but with that all sorted and nowhere to stand in the awful weather everyone gathered in the registration tent.  Unfortunately, the first heat was delayed for 45 minutes as the hills and race village were battered by the winds.  Thankfully, once this passed, in true Scottish tradition we were led to the start with a piper, we weren’t held here for too long which was good after all the hanging about.

We were into our first obstacle fairly quick, up and over some hay bales coated in spartan plastic – made for a bit of a slippy ascent and descent.  Then it started the long auld climbs of the magical Pentland hills.  It was still possible to run at this point, onwards and upwards, I was running with a friend today for the sprint, Jen, we kept each other in our sights.  This went on for what seemed an age and gave us a pretty good idea of how the race was going to pan out, The A-frame high on the hill was great, if alittle scary with the wind really hitting you at the top of the frame.  A fantastic down-hill, I think everyone let go alittle at this first down section.

Then a long, long, long crawl under barbed wire, this did need to be wider but was great with it being partially over a stream.  No-one else was going up the middle, so what you gonna do?  If you are wee like myself, go up the middle.  First introduction to getting wet!   Our second climb was a straight up affair, I could only run at the bottom quarter, which I berated myself for but everyone else was doing it, so as they same when in Rome. . . .

Unfortunately, a number of the obstacles had to be cancelled due to the weather as they were on top of the massive hills at the mercy of the driving rain and brutal winds.  One of the obstacles on Saturday was definitely the wind, it just pushed and pulled you in different directions constantly and when you were trying (I emphasise ‘trying’) to run downhill it was like trying to run into a wall – of wind.  One of these obstacles unfortunately, was the rope climbs, love these, a quick drink of water instead and onto another downhill section.  Do you think I could see anything, nope, the wind was watering my eyes, this did not bode well!

But I made it down in one piece, in and out of streams with varying depths, slipping and sliding on the banks of the streams, crawling under barbed wire and netting in the streams and under wooden fences, this was all about getting us wet.

It worked!!

The hercules hoist was great, 20kg for the women and 40kg kettlebells for the men, quick water stop then onto the next downhill section, which was really, waaaaay to brief.  The next uphill section was one breat big slog, of water, mud and what should have been grassy mounds.  We climbed, we climbed and we climbed, then we had to climb over a fence, now sounds simple and after all the climbing, do you know how hard it is to get your leg over?  More climbing on more solid ground before we hit the top and started another descent, oh it was heaven.  We still had a torturous sandbell carry (1 x 20lb for women, 2 x 20lbs for men) up a short but steep section, a quick pose for the camera and onwards again.

The next section was the water dip of the day, not too bad for the most part but then you hit the end and given I m a dwarf, everything disappears under your feet but thank god for the rope to pull on and your out.  Now if you know me you know I HATE water, I mean hate it, and very terrified of it haha so if I am saying it wasnt too bad, it probably isnt, onto a mud fest to get to the next 4 ditches which varied in depth and size, actually not too bad to get in and out of.

We went onto a few more obstacles, the traverse wall with a few corners thrown in to change it up which was great, I enjoyed this one, we could hear the event village, it always sounds tantilisingly close and yet it is so far.  We headed through a wooded section, in and out of a river, ducking and diving to get over and under all the tree branches and roots.  Then you emerged to the spear throw.  This has to be one of the dreaded obstacles, a burpee fest if ever there was going to be.  But I did it, with an arm pump to celebrate, given the conditions, very chuffed with myself but Jen’s spear didn’t quite make it – burpees, all 30 of them.  An 8 foot wall and a 10 footer, phew, and over the fire jump we went to finish in the top ten.  Really chuffed  with that given how tough the course was, my complete lack of  training due to injury and, and no sign of my hip injury anywhere – roaring success.  Btw the medals are epic, first piece of the pie!  Karen as always a great supporter and ready with the camera to capture some moments for myself and Jen.  I had another run through to conquer so preparation was next

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No-one gets left behind!

A few of my clients (Kimberly and Carol with my PT business, Louise’s PT 4 U) were running in the final heat of the day, I was running in support (Karen and Graeme).  OMG I was blown away!  Their determination, their approach and attitude made the day for me, as well as that of my support runners who were helping.  Carols calfs unfortunately gave her some problems from the very first hill but we broke it up and made our way to the A-frame, a quick stretch and re-group of the thoughts and we headed up what was a decidedly windy affair.  Graeme and I up either side with Carol, not one ‘can’t left her mouth – brilliant, just focus and concentration.  Kimberly zoomed up and over, it was like just another day in the hills 😉  nae bather!  Carol had just overcome something massive, our fears can truly hold us back, but with a little belief it is amazing what we can do.

Onto the barbed wire crawls, when Carol heard there was a photographer at the end, well that was it, a pause to sort the top out and make sure, you know, everything was in teh right place, nothing escaping the tops or showing too much 😉  The volunteers were awesome – giving us loads of encouragement, never really stopping just constant high spirits and encouragement.  We attacked the next hill in sections, Graeme or I would move back and forth to keep our heat levels up and we picked up someone else who was stuggling and supported them as much as we could.  Carol did great, deep breath at each pause and onwards to the next flat . . . . ish section.  The rope section had come back in play, so Graeme and I attacked them with great gusto, BOOM!  Walk in the park, Graeme flew up the rope like a true monkey, we were blown about a bit in the wind but nonethless made it.  Unfortunately the other guys didnt so we got stuck in to help with the burpees, its about team support, ‘no-one gets left behind!’.

We had more descending and climbing of the hills, then our Hercules hoist, Carol attacked this, I had no worries that she would manage this given the strength work she had been doing.  We stopped here and were supplied  with a few biscuits to get Carols energy levels back up and some water to share.

I’ve already gone through the majority of obstacles in my own account of the race above, I wanted to mention doing this run through with the guys because, you know what – this, right here is what it is all about!  Yes there are placings and those who are competitive are racing for them BUT I really believe and wholeheartedly support those who take on these races as challenges and step outside of their comfort zones.  I really think it is when we step outside of our comfort zones that we really know what we are made of, what we are capable of when things get tough.  This might be an old feeling or it may be a very new one, embrace the courage and sense of achievement it gives you!  I really love supporting and helping people around these courses or over an obstacle.  By helping others, those who struggle see that they don’t need to know someone to be helped that the true nature of spartan and these OCR races is a community, if you choose to to get involved, everyone helps one another.

Carol and Kimberly both did amazing and were able to work to their own abilities and still achieve massive goals in their own ways.  Despite wanting to hold back and stay with Carol, Kimberly was encouraged to push on to stay warm, equally important in these situations, especially given she hadnt felt great leading up to the race.

The next obstacle Carol took on was again, her own body, I think many will share her pain, the knees on the downhill sections, she winced and growled at the pain as she chose to push on, at her own pace, with determination we made progress.  At every obstacle the guys (event staff/ volunteers) were amazing, so supportive and upbeat which is just what you needed when you were tored, able to have a bit of banter to help raise spirits.  Although, Carol was doing remarkably well, at the sandbell carry, this is where we heard it, ‘I can’t’, well you can imagine my response 😉  those who know me.  With encouragement, I said, ‘sorry I think I misheard you there . .. ‘ and I had, she was simply having a tough moment.  Carol pushed on a few more steps, Karen led our way and kept feeding back how far to go and what was coming up.  The pain on the next section of the sandbell carry that Carol popped down on her backside and bumped down this steep section.  Get down anyway you can I say – great choice!

It takes true spirit, true determination and courage to keep on going, knowing how long you have been out on the course, in pain, knowing youa re the last people out on the course!  This is spartan spirit – the never give up attitude!  I’d like to say a massive thank you to Karen and Graeme, without their support and help this would have been even harder, Graeme was on true form giving loads of banter, if only some of the other runners would take him on, and Karen quietly supported with her patience and own determination, knowing what its like to find these courses hard.

In the final sections of the course, the volunteers took their support to a whole new level, cheering, encouraging, clapping and never ever allowing Carol to feel negative!  I nailed my spear throw for the second time on the day and then joined in to support the girls doing their burpees due to missing – damn those spears!  With a line of volunteers leading us to the walls, we high fived and were whooped as we headed to the last obstacle.  How immense is that – truly amazing is what I call it.  Rich, Spartan ambassador trailed us the whole way round, holding back alittle so that we didnt feel pressurised and just checking on us when he thought we were maybe having issues.

True displays of Spartan teamwork and spirit today!!  Well done everyone who raced!!  How did you get on?!

Muddyrace Scottish Training Day – Ayrshire/ Kilmarnock

I had the priviledge of once again leading a Muddyracce (http://www.muddyrace.co.uk/) training day at the original Scottish Assault Courses ( http://www.scottishassaultcourses.com/ ) over at Craufurdland Castle, Ayrshire.  I was looking forward to this one for different reasons, firstly I hadn’t been on this course before AND we were sold out.  It really is fantastic to see so many people, of differing levels wanting to come along and learn techniques to help make their OCR races even more enjoyable, achieveable and to conquer them.  I can understand the sense of achievement, its amazing and get it every time I cross a finish line.

Fraser and I had a few run throughs over the course and I, of course needed a few wee practices to ensure I was up to scratch for everyone, unfortunately my practice attempts did not fill me with confidence – I was not having a good day at the office, or so I thought, haha.

We got everyone started of with a dynamic warm-up and some games, a bit of shin-tig always gets everyone going and I am glad to say this occasion was no different, shrieks galore during the game!  IMG_1720A warm-up prior to racing events is important to ensure your muscles are fully warmed up, heart rate has risen.  The shorter the race, the more intense the effort and the more important I find the warm-up.  The harder you want to work during that race, the better and more vigorous the warm-up needs to be.  Remember, for most, an OCR race is not using the typical movements that you have been doing in training and being unprepared can leave you more open to the injuries, warm-up.

It was time for the obstacles, demo’s went much better than my practice attempts.  Everyone warmed me up on the monkey bars to get going, it is definitely mind over matter when you were facing that water pit below.  We covered different ways of conquering these for those of differing abilities to attempt.  Including just hanging from the bar, some may laugh this attemot of but if this is a big step for you – the ability to hang and support your own bodyweight is important – then that is your big win for the day.  Strength even in this position can develop and lead to movement.  You do what is the next step for you and not compared to someone else.  A definite ‘chuffed moment was getting up the 11 foot wall using the rope, clearly needed an audience for that one.IMG_1733

The guys that attended were fantastic, everyone got stuck in at each of the obstacles, the monkey bars were a biggie, this is what drew the attention of everyone, watching those trying to conquer the bars with their slight twist without getting ditched into the water pit below.  I thought everyone did an amazing job on the 6 foot wall and we had a few who tried and CONQUERED the 11 foot wall.
IMG_1808We also covered how to work as a team to conquer walls safely without injuring/ hurting your fellow teammates or racers.

We had saved the best for last, a full run through of the course, we were the first to try out new sections of the course which had been changed just last week.  Again, we ran through the whole course with the key principles of overcoming personal obstacles, practicing what had just been learnt and embracing the very nature of OCR races – to support and help each other!

We started of with the walk the plank/ tree, surprisingly challenging, lulled into a false sense of security of staying dry with planks over more water-logged areas, it was time!  Time to to get filthy wet, in they went and up onto the island, this relief was momentary as they were then back in the water to duck under the planks.  This needed a big breath as it was a full submersion, ideal practice for those races that require you to get right under the water, such as Tough Mudder and Tough Guy.  The guys worked their way around the island and then we were quickly into a bogged down, supremely muddy area.

Running the path to the next obstacle, a vertical up and down cargo net with challenging spaces between the ropes.  But to get there you had to get straight through the mud puddles, these were NO normal puddles!  IMG_1868You virtually disappeared into this muddy puddle!IMG_1862

Everyone attacked the next muddy section with gusto, keeping those legs moving quickly and again offered support to those trying to escape at the other end, we went onto an obstacle that challenged those with claustraphobia issues.  Into a tunnel which was partially submerged.  IMG_1971 The team then had to weave through a web of string, before getting back into the mud.  The amount of mud on this course is epic!  Everyone then had to try out the skills and techniques they had learnt during the practice periods with the real life feeling of being wet and muddy!

Well done everyone, it really is great to meet fellow OCR racers of all levels who share the same enthusiasm for getting MUDDY! (See what I did there 😉 )

Hope to see you all at races around Scotland and at more muddyrace training events!  Definitely come over and say hi!

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Muddyrace Scottish Training Day – Dundee

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I was priviledged to run a muddyrace training day up here in bonny Scotland, we ran our event at the Scottish Assault Courses at the Errol Airfield, Dundee.  I was nervous and excited, despite having run my own OCR (Obstacle Race Training) training sessions with great feedback, the thought of having to run them for muddyrace, a very respected company in the OCR world and would be representing them.

The guys and gals began to appear and we had an amazing 22 folks taking part of all levels, beginners, intermediate through to those who have taken part in races, for example Tough Mudder and The Beast.  The warm-up, I believe set the tone for our sessions, based on dynamic movements and games.

The first period was used to cover key technique points for monkey bars, spear throws – those who have run a spartan race will know that feeling of having missed and subjected to the horrific burpee – press-ups, tyre flips/ throws and the first 2 walls.

Everyone did an amazing job of attacking the obstacles, trying to put in place the technique points covered, overcoming personal challenges and obstacles.  Each of the groups, despite not knowing everyone in their group came together to support, encourage and motivate to try to the best of their abilities.  There was definitely a buzz around the assault course!  We also found out that several of the group had soft hands which were affected by the monkey bars and the walls.  Key point:  ensure you practice leading up to an obstacle race, this will help harden your hands and prepare them for the activities approaching, alternatively, you may choose to wear gloves.  This is a personal choice and I have found that from one person to the next in races that each person needs to find what works for them.

The second batch of obstacles included the 8 foot wall, ditch jumps, the ‘slatted’ wall and the ‘mime wall’.  The 8 foot wall was overcome for the first time EVER for some of the guys – amazing achievement to do on your own.  Incredibly empowering feeling for women particularly, mainly from a perspective of this is commonly looked upon and ‘Ill never get over that’!  I heard many a shreek from across the field.  We also covered alot of the obstacle racing etiquette, I am proud to say I would stop and help anyone, I will always check on someone if it looks like they have stopped, just to ensure that there isn’t a problem.

We finished the day with a full run through, simply to make sure my guests were muddy, wet and smiling come the end!  All the things you would expect to be at the end of a day of obstacle racing!  🙂  A massive thank you must also be extended to Fraser for his assistance and Carole for her excellent photography skills.

Looking forward to my next training session at Scottish Assault Courses in Kilmarnock!  Hope to see you all there!1509865_1384399018549876_7589586864218194459_n (1) 1524384_1384397798549998_9007702273473012902_o 10172687_1384397675216677_3817941035020361720_n 10172711_1384391458550632_6530714138849097328_n 10271400_1384391375217307_5625974136790644671_o 10271447_1384399201883191_577918294043982959_o 10308945_1384394771883634_3524783658851714000_n 10314751_1384397008550077_5725759706640440806_n 10325671_1384397145216730_6204478393279184997_n 10329227_1384396548550123_1454698073852389843_n 10370955_1384392385217206_7250953629860696430_n (1) 10403148_1384391215217323_1310610769726397894_n 10407413_1384394375217007_1186268524915523334_n 10407618_1384399641883147_7801087697228283181_n 10407988_1384396878550090_8203872372641410795_n 10408962_1384399325216512_5172547136574807768_n 10418395_1384397991883312_968002868617794511_n 10428494_1384392621883849_1810011397830428860_n 10429260_1384392245217220_6213888960953107066_n  10499446_1384392528550525_339165829148016283_o 10501966_1384400045216440_6289017121103650528_n 10559858_1384394828550295_2273064334621295474_n 10686663_1384391441883967_7953875303994885308_n 10688261_1384398121883299_6993441544375815281_o 10881477_1384394615216983_6412669246488200556_n 10881525_1384391288550649_3611939091824522686_n 10906054_1384394185217026_149627501436396455_n (1) 10914842_1384391611883950_2086041529052707566_o 11013510_1384391678550610_8452671593504278084_o 11031135_1384391838550594_8647950454678265091_n

Mighty Deerstalker 2015

The Mighty Deerstalker arrived on my doorstep far too quickly . . .  I seem to be saying this alot of late!  I had signed up to both races, this I had decided was going to be the start of my evaluation of what I needed to be doing now that I had qualified and signed up for the OCRWC – eeeeek! Excited and bloody bricking it at the same time.

I hadn’t done enough training for this race, exceptionally busy with work and the being ill the week leading up to the event so felt ill-equipped for what I knew was going to be a tortourous couple of events, but amazing!  OBVIOUSLY , D’uh!

I’m not sure why but managed to hold onto a significant amount of clarity this year related to both events, while last year I still struggle to make clear recollections between the 2 races.

5km – ish – understatement of the century!

Heading out to the event location, Traquair House, I was given some indication of what we were in for when I saw the ducks enjoying a swim in the water-logged fields.  Amazing, we all know how much I love water.

For Rat Races first event of the year, the registration was as smooth as I always experience at their events.  The guys on the mics were brilliant, you could literally listen wherever you were and giggle away at the comments.  I heard 12th/ 13th and 10th years of this event being mentioned but we’ll go with 10 as it seemed to be mentioned the most.  Great to see Mike and Sarah welcoming me, nice surprise.

I had timed it so that I could get registered, changed and have enough time to do a wee warm-up.  I walked out the course alittle, same as last year, passed one of the locals who was doing some work, in a nice way, he let me know we were, ‘f*****g idiots’ hahahahaha, love it, I hear this alot but he was laughing and joking so nae harm.  Speaking with a steward I was also told that if it had been Thursday, he wasn’t sure what they would have done given the conditions created by the good ole Scottish weather.

Aim for this race – push as best I could, enjoy it!  These were my favourite races last year.

We lined up on the start line for an awful warm-up, the guys taking these really need to start taking into consideration the space we all have packed in the start area, star-jumps are clearly for doing some damage to the fellow competitors a well placed eye poke, lateral jumping exercises are naturally aimed at getting at fellow competitors toes, feet or ankles 😉

Joda from Tartan Warrior, a top Scottish OCR runner from muddyrace, who is running incredibly well, was lined up and got a wee interview by the ITV!  OCR is getting more and more coverage its really outstanding!  Joda achieved a brilliant 2nd place!  Then the countdown to kick us off, a short run upwards to the hay bales, another indicator of how it was going to go, then back around on the tarmac to feed us round to the off-road sections,  I often complain about tarmac’d sections BUT they lead us to incredible trails and more to come, they serve a connection purpose and they tend to be short in nature. #purpose

We were immediately lulled into a false sense of security going through a field that was easy, dare I say nice underfoot, because the connecting filed was a marsh, potential for lost shoes if they weren’t tied tight enough, lots of squeals followed behind me.  Into our first water feaure, not too deep and not bad underfoot.  Here we met the first of a remarkably enthusiastic set of marshalls, full of clear instructions and encouragement.  They were without doubt – brilliant!

Then there was the hill, oh the hill!  Following the winding, weaving path, up and up we went.  It wasn’t long before the trail of walkers kicked in.  I think I actually ran the furthest up this hill I have compared to last year, was really pleased with myself but ohhhhh it burrrrrrnnnnnned!  The first section is fairly trail based as it winds uphill and then you hit the side of the hill, cross-country style, clasping at the mounds and trees to help you move further up the hill.

Here comes the best bit, downhill, ‘Hell Yeah’, this is the bit I enjoy, I love just letting going and following the curve of the route downhill OR creating my own as I call, ‘Coming Through on your right/ left!’  The 5km, due to the lower numbers really lets you weave around folks as there is the space.  Folks were great, listening out, always important to let folks know you are coming, as it stops them making sudden movements that may affect you or lead to you getting hurt and not least more respectful of their space and of course reduces the risk of them getting hurt also.  This is the first of the downs and the shorter of the 2 downhill sections, we then transverse the mountain,  I mean hill before re-ascending.  It was on these sections that another lass and I went back and forth in terms of placing, she was faster than me, I was simply quick on the downhills.  I need to work more on my weaknesses but in a more positive light I definitely felt I climbed better than the previous year.

Thank you to the gentleman who gave me a shout out at the end of the second downhill, much appreciated – he knew me but I didnt know him.  We crossed over to the other side of the river, I swear even the smallest pebble, which would be easily overlooked in a scan, was enough to make the weary legs quiver. But a lapse in concentration resulted in me rolling my ankle, that was a sair ane!

It wasn’t long before I hit the event village, a short crawl under the cargo net, run up the incline, I admit I did pause for what seemed an eternity before jumping down, ‘here, it was high and yes I’m an offical short ass!’  but I did jump down in style and finished it off with a shoulder roll before sprinting (cruising) over the finish line.

Now to get changed and relax before the second race . . . . .

10km (Aye Right)

Okay, so again I found myself on the starting line-up albeit definitely more tired, definitely bursting for the toilet – AGAIN! I had caught up with some of the group I was signed up with and there were some scared faces 😉  Fear is good – respect for the course.

The first part of the race was exactly the same as the 5km earlier, did it feel different – oh yeah.  My balance was taking more work, my quads kicked in earlier but I was focused on my goal for this race – consistency.  Again, I drove up the first part of the first hill and it really, really hurt but I kept pushing on and managed to get back to running around folks to keep pushing on, to not let myself down.  I was getting frustrated at points, when it is steep and you are working hard to keep going, those who take over you but then start walking right in front of you can really make it difficult for you to maintain that momentum you are generating.  Its hard to re-start once you start walking, particularly on a veeeery steep hill.

I always believe its important to have some awareness of those around you.  Understandably, for those new to this type of activity it is difficult and leaves too many for things for you to focus on, just keep moving and as you begin to become more experienced your awareness will hopefully increase with your confidence,  these things do take time to develop.

Where it differs is in the route going through the town, brilliantly worked here and last year, not an easy task to organise logistically but it works as you wade through the river for what seems like forever, bigger guys rushing past you, the local children and adults cheering you on.  It really does bring a smile to your face, the bigger guys rushing through the water, well, I wasn’t impressed (Scaredy cat, but I had already tripped and fell to the full length of my arms, not great) but they had the strength, I felt like I was 50% submerged.  Cold legs bring you out of the river and I think this cold really affects the legs as you head toward the 3rd ascent.  You head up and up, winding along, more space and far less overtaking is going on in general by this point.  You come up and go between a circular monument, would be great to see in the daylight, before descending again.  My quads by this point were doing some weird quivering, partial cramping – something I have never experienced before so it felt like my legs were going to lock out and cramp up on this part of the descent.

I knew the scree hill was coming and I wasn’t sure in what way, shape or form as we had been told the route was different, did it include this part?

Im not sure, it seemed much steeper but Zoe thought that may have been due to moving quicker, therefore more tired.  This was the section that really could take you a cropper, ankles galore, lots of rocks mossed over and merged with the undergrowth.  The gentleman in front of me was super kind and kept grabbing at bushes and trees to stabilise himself but would then just release them . . . . slap in the face . . . all the appropriate height for me.  So I swiftly utilised a passing point and moved past him ,proceeding to communicate any issues to the guys behind me, OCR manners 😉

Each step/ slip back downhill was just brutal, the scree just retreated back downhill as we tried to claw our way uphill.  By this point my headache was kicking in but I knew it was coming from my neck.  It got to the point where I could only keep my neck in alignment as each crane to look up the ever increasing slope, which meant looking straight at the slope.  I was bear-crawling my way upward with lots of side-tracking into the gorse bushes.

On the descent of this hill, rat race had come through, they had listened to the feedback from last year and sorted the rope descent out, multiple rope options, all connected, brilliant.  I managed to find my focus in this final stage and really just dig in and keep pushing through despite the tiredness.  The locals and the kids after some high fives along the route was incredibly uplifting at this point.  Onwards to the events village and the finish line, I was so pleased to finish!

The marshalls were phenomenal, the directional markers and their frequency were bang on, the course route was outstanding and what can you say about the surroundings?  No words could do it justice!

Mighty Deerstalker you have done it again!





Recharging the Batteries

After what can only be described as a few crazy ass weeks at work, my training had fallen by the wayside as I tried ot keep on top of the ‘important stuff’.  This leads to the question, actually what is the important stuff?  Living to work or working to live.  I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do a job I love, helping others and now working to bring events to Scotland but like anyone I can spend too much time working and nt enough time having fun, investing in myself.

So today, was absolutely magical!  My mate and I headed over to the Lomond hills for what turned out to be one of THE most blustery days ever! We headed up East Lomond hill, struggling to stand for the warm-up even.  It was straight into the hill from the car park, fairly tough going, we came upon a family who stated they nearly lost the wee ones on the top of the hill . . . eeek!

We hit the top in a burst of hail stones/ snow showers, sare ane!  Of course we had time to do the current trend of a selfie pic hahaha.  The views were epic, looking around, truly a beautiful location on a day you could stand up straight.  We headed down the other side, much steeper than the car park side.  I took off with Karen screaming in the back ground about falling on her arse  We made it in one piece!

We headed toward Craigmeade car park which sits between the two hills, this was a much flatter run, undulating.  Naturally, as an OCR racer, looking into the forest exhilirated me – I just cannot look at woods and trees in the same light!

As we crossed the car park, we agreed we were heading toward the waterfalls as we didnt have enough time to do the other hill and the waterfalls.  What a choice this was to be . . .

I didn’t really take in the fact that we were on a predominantly downhill section, it was great, free-rolling down.  Giving Karen some tips as we went about how to take on the down sections.  We found the amazing waterfalls, being in these surroundings, this is what brings me alive – THIS is why I wanted to begin running.  Why?

Because this is freedom, this is not running, its energy, beauty, amazing, to be surrounded by something larger!

Climbing amongst the hills, designing future training runs and opportunities, sooo exciting.  We stopped and took some pictures because it would be rude not to.  Karen did some climbing, grannies should know better eh?!

Now, we had to go back uphill, it was a tough first run but the aim is always keep moving, put one foot in front of the other.  The climb back up the east Lomond hill was brutal if I am being honest as a first run back into the fol.  As soon as I hit the top I could barely move, the wind was vicious.

What a fantastic way to bring it all back and remember why I train!  For my sanity, to de-stress, to feel alive again.

Get out there folks!