Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

The week everything changed


This week was a turning point for many people in my country. You would have to have been living under a rock in recent weeks to ignore the coverage and impact of the Scottish Referendum, and the impact of the decisions made on Thursday will roll forward like waves into the future. However, that is not what this post is about. There are people out there who can write more succinctly and with greater insight on that subject than I, and whilst I have strong opinions on recent events I will limit my sharing of them to sitting around a table in a pub with my friends, or perhaps shouting at the television and the newspapers.

You see, two days before Scotland’s day of reckoning, there was a day in my personal life with equal or perhaps even greater significance for me. This was the day where I left my full time job for the last time and entered the next stage of my life.


Three months ago, after a lot of thought and consideration, I put in my notice after deciding that the high-stress, long commute, long hours, desk pilot lifestyle was no longer serving my best interests. Things hadn’t been 100% right for me in my job for a little while and whilst I loved many aspects of working where I did and the people that I worked with, I couldn’t see a future there for me. Having been inspired by several friends doing something similar, I began to see that it wasn’t too late for me to quit the rat race and find a life that I was in control of and made me happy. Of course it wasn’t an easy decision to make and the next few months are by no means going to be easy either, but I’m very excited to move on and start building a different future.

MaldivesSo, what exactly am I going to be doing with myself? Well, next Wednesday I will be enrolling on a full-time taught Master’s degree at Robert Gordon University and in 12 months time I should be graduating with an MSc in Digital Marketing. This is a slight deviation from my career so far, but I see it more as a development than anything else. For those of you that don’t know, my undergraduate degree is in Music (BMus (Hons) Newcastle University, ’06) and I have spent the majority of my career so far in Concerts and Event Management/Arts Marketing, most recently in Higher Education. In the last 18 months or so, my job has veered away from that aspect and into an Administrative direction that wasn’t really part of The Plan, so this is my way of re-qualifying myself and upgrading my skills with a view to re-entering the Arts Marketing world in the future.

The course itself is taught over two days a week, with three days left free for study and research. This tremendous amount of time flexibility that I’ve been granted is going to allow me to train more effectively than ever before, with my eventual goal being the 2015 West Highland Way Race. I look forward to being able to actually have the time to take strength/conditioning classes and no longer having to head out for a couple of hours of running after a long day at work.

Postgraduate study is no joke, but I am looking forward to a less stressful existence and being able to be a better person to be around. I didn’t used to be a particularly sickly person but I’ve never been more ill more frequently in the last couple of years than in my whole life, and I credit that entirely to burning the candle at both ends and in the middle, and generally not being able to look after myself as well as I’d like. Many friends are always quick to say how ‘healthy’ running and training must make me, but health does not just translate as the ability to run 50 miles. Just because I can do that does not mean I’m a healthy person and anyone who knows me very well will know that there is a lot I can improve upon right now to be granted the title of ‘Healthy’.

vs-lochmuickSo for now in terms of training for the next couple of months, I’ll be building a strong body with which to tackle the West Highland Way and its associated training next year. As keen as I am, there is no point in bashing out the big miles now as I’ll be worn down and bored by March. I have some weight to lose, some muscle to rebuild and some strength to gain first, and I hope that this will lead to PBs at the Peterhead 10k and the Fraserburgh Half marathon in November.

I also look forward to having the time to share more about my training on this blog and moving away from the constant stream of Race Reports that it has been lately. When I started RedWineRunner several years ago I documented my weekly training as I built up to races and this is a format I’d like to return to. Hopefully with more frequent posting will come more reader engagement and the opportunity to grow this blog into something a bit more substantial, but I promise to keep it relevant and not sell out to sponsors and reviews.

Photo: Stuart Macfarlane

Photo: Stuart Macfarlane

So here’s to the next big step. It’s hard to believe that I started Red Wine Runner nearly four years ago to document my tentative embarkation upon the great sport of ‘running’. A lot has gone under the metaphorical bridge since those early posts and I don’t doubt that there’s still a lot to come! I’m excited for the future and for further change and I hope you all stick with me for it.

Thanks for reading,



  1. This sounds like exactly what you need. I reckon you’ll take to the Marketing Qualification like a duck to water, and with your approach to training and preparation, you’ll be well placed to achieve all that you aim for, with the freedom to do it to your own timetable. Great that you’re making a choice that allows you to better look after yourself too. I work alongside marketing people and in that general area, so if there’s anything I can help with, please give me a shout. Best of luck and I look forward to hearing how you’re getting on.

  2. Big decision, but you won’t regret it. All the best and hope to bump into you soon 🙂 xxx

  3. What fantastic, exciting news! Congratulations to you for taking the plunge. I look forward to the continued inspiration that your blog provides.

  4. Good luck with it … although, I’m sure you won’t be using luck. I wish I had your courage.

  5. Good to see you following your heart. Getting stuck in a rutt might be the “safe” thing to do but unless you are willing to risk a little you won’t ever do what makes you and those around you happy.

    I made a similar life changing choice 13 years ago when I decided to turn a hobby project into something more and set my own business up. Quiting a secure income and launching yourself out into a new venture is both exciting and OMG what have a I do all rolled into one. One year is no time at all really, blink of eye and you’ll be on well on your way down the new road and not looking back.

    As for the West Highland Way, it’s a great race, and really not much further than the Great Glen. With another year of ultra in your legs you’ll cope admirably come the big day next June. Often you see long time ultra runners doing big back to back runs, but you can actually get away with a lot lower mileage than this. My longest training run for this years WHWR was just 18 miles, the only times I ran longer than was the Loch Katrine Marathon and the Fling, I got one fine. I think the key is to listen to your body, just do as much training as it can cope with comfortably and don’t stress about matching the mileage of top guys and girls.

    Having a less stressful daily routine should help too… as long as being a student doesn’t mean down the boozer every night!! 😉

    Best o’ luck.

    • Thanks Robert! I certainly won’t be down the boozer…no income to pay for it! I think there’s going to be a huge difference to how I tackle my studies this time as opposed to my undergraduate; I want to be able to actually see my husband when he comes home from work so I plan to study like it’s a full time job and try and leave most of my evenings free, if I can.
      I actually really like doing big back to backs and have found they benefit my training, but I’m aware there are many particular ways to approach the WHW. I certainly won’t be doing anything bigger than the training I did for the Great Glen, but plan to prioritise more technical training over mileage.

  6. Wow! A big decision but it sounds like the right thing for you. I wish you all the best and look forward to reading more about your adventures.

  7. Brilliant and bold change – love it, and so inspirational!
    Look forward to seeing you at the prize giving next June!

  8. Get in there Rhona. I follow your and Amanda Hamilton’s blog. Best wishes and I’m sure we’ll see you in Fort Bill in June of 2015 with your prized Goblet in hand. 🙂

  9. Wow! I am so excited for you! I didn’t realise you were another musician 🙂

    As you know it’s a big part of my life too, and having taken that huge step to drop out from the rat race and then have to temporarily re-enter, your post really hit me hard. I miss training time and flexibility and have also noticed the constant battle with illness and chronic tiredness since I’ve been back in the office.

    I wish you the very best of Scottish for your course and your future and your running. I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to seeing how it develops as your life changes over this year.

    Did I mention I’m excited for you? I love hearing about people doing something different and following their hearts!

    Katherine X

    • A somewhat out-of-the-game one, but a musician none the less! I’ve spent most of the last 10 years sorting out other people’s performances instead of doing any of my own, but someone’s got to do it. I think we have quite few friends/contacts in common. I was trying to find a Scotland-based harpist last Christmas and your name came up, but I found one before I got to your name on the list!
      Thanks for your good wishes – it’s all going well so far. Hope to see you out on the trails soon 🙂

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