Sunday, 30 March 2014

Keep on Running.

Way back in January I was needing to find an event to enter to give me a target and keep me motivated over the Winter months. Normally I leave this task to my lovely friend Beth, who has  roped me into various cycling, running events over the years, but this time I thought I would have a look myself to see if anything took my fancy.

I decided on a running event as it is hard to do many road cycling miles in the winter unless you have a turbo trainer, which I don't. There were so many to choose from, 10k's, half marathons and of course the full marathon, what to do?

I plumped for the half marathon as it was more of a challenge than a 10k but required a lot less training than a full one. Rather than go for a city pavement run I chose the Loch Katrine half, which although was still on hard tarmac had the added bonus of some stunning scenery.

The race was last Sunday, which thankfully was a clear blue sky day, slightly cold with a bit of a breeze but no rain or snow.

We arrived in plenty time (Beth ran too, she is in marathon training) which was great as it gave us plenty time to register and settle our nerves and get a good warm up done. The event is relatively small in size, approx 300, but includes a 10k, half and full marathon.

The marathon runners set off first and their course would take them the 13 miles down the loch and back, our route was obviously half that distance down and back.

It is a very popular walking and cycling route but I have never done it before so the route was unknown to me, which I actually quite like, although I do usually prefer circular routes, but you can't have everything.

We set off and not having run with other people around me in a very long time I was slightly concerned that I might be tempted to run too fast etc so I just focused on a pace that I thought I would be able to sustain for the 13.1 miles.

The route was quite undulating and so tried to keep as similar a pace as I could on the ups and if my legs allowed make the most of the downs.

As I approached the half way mark I was feeling quite good as I and done quite a few 6 milers, but hadn't really done too many over the 10 mile mark, so my thoughts at this point were "can I keep this pace going for the same miles back?"

I knew I was going fairly well as I could check the time on my watch and I was under an hour at the turning point. I tried to keep fellow competitors in sight and where possible try to catch up or at least match pace.

My legs were feeling pretty good and my calf muscles which have been acting up recently were also feeling ok. Basically it was head down and try and continue the same pace. As I approached the 11 mile mark I was feeling quite tired and possibly a little dehydrated but I could hear feet pounding behind me and tried hard not to let anyone past. At 12 miles the feet were closer and I looked over my shoulder and there was a lady just on my shoulder. She spurred me on by telling me that I had been the best pacemaker for the last 6 miles and I should dig in and give my best to get to the finish in a good time. This comment really spurred me on and I eventually crossed the finish line in 1:54:38.

Under the 2 hours, I was very pleased.

The race was an extremely well organised event and the route although out and back was in some of the most stunning Scottish scenery. It was also a very friendly race with competitors give encouragement to each other as they pass. The winner of the marathon even gave encouragement as he passed me!! He ran a full marathon in 2:49:35. Impressive to say the least.

Sadly I was unable to stop and take photos, which was a shame as the day was beautiful, so this is one from the start line.

Peace x 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

My New Love.

It's been a while since I posted but have been busy with various bits and pieces and have just not found the time to sit down and post. So here is a round up, more pics than words probably.

When I first started this blog, it was mainly to give information to friends and family of my year long trip to North America. At that point in time my main sporting focus was rock climbing and hence the name Caroline's climbs and photos. Since returning from that trip the amount of time I have spent climbing has steadily dwindled, I had lost my need and passion to continue at the same intensity, and to be honest I felt kind of lost without it.

I have now thankfully filled that gap in my life again, and as I think I have mentioned before, I have taken up mountain biking.

I love this activity so much and at the moment it is mostly what I do in my spare time. It has the same qualities that climbing used to bring to my life. I love the concentration and focus I need to have in order not to crash. I love the adrenalin rush you get when you complete a difficult route. I love the technical aspects of trying to ride fast and smoothly. I love that you learn every time you ride. I love that it gets me out in the fresh air and to beautiful places. I could go on but I think you get the drift.

I have now been to all 7 Stanes trail centres and this weekend brought it home that sometimes you just lose your head and find it hard to tackle obstacles. Similar, for me at least, when I used to lead climb outside at the start of the season.

Dalbeattie was the centre that managed to break my good spell of mental strength and I got the "fear", which in mountain biking can be dangerous, because it is at those moments that you pull the brake too sharply, take the wrong line etc and things just get messy!

However, I made it round with only one slight tumble but I am now determined to hone my skills further and try my best to keep them fears at bay.

When I've not been biking, I have been running and trying to get into the Pentlands when weather and daylight permits.

Morning Pentland run.

Trail at Aberfoyle.

Running at John Muir Trust Festival.

Running over Pentland hill tops.

Snow biking at Carron Valley.

Hard work but snow much fun!!!

Biking at Newcastleton.

Biking at Glentress.


Biking at Mabie.

Way home from Dalbeattie.

Single speed fun, sadly not my bike.

I am so glad that I was introduced to this sport, even at my age, because along with all the reasons mentioned earlier it is pure and simply fun.

Peace x