Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

Past, Present, and Future

Where I’ve Been

  • I ran the Speyside Way Ultra at the end of August and I finished in 7th Senior Female in 7hr 14m 6s. It was really, really hot, and I was kind of under-trained. It should not have been as hard as it was, but I was really pleased with how I paced it. I had a major wobble at about 25 miles, but then I got angry at myself and passed around 20 people in the last 10 miles. Still got it.

speyside way ultra 2016

  • I went to Ibiza for two weeks with Kynon. I sat on a beach and read for two weeks straight which was magnificent. We went to see Faithless one night which was the most expensive fun I’ve ever had; £36 for two rum and cokes in the club was ludicrous, but £30 for two cocktails at Cafe Del Mar earlier on as the sun went down was worth every penny.

cafe del mar

  • I did some stat crunching the other day and I realised I’ve now ran 23 marathons or ultramarathons, and 93 races in total. This blows my mind a little. I don’t feel like I’ve ever run over 10k right now.

Where I am

  • I’m still failing hard  every time I try and get back into training consistently. My peripatetic lifestyle between Edinburgh and Stonehaven throws constant challenges at me, and to a certain extent, I’ve let myself become a victim of my own circumstances. It is a seemingly endless battle which saps a lot of my strength.
  • I’ve only ran 731 miles this year. I have no races booked and this is a huge contributer to my current feelings of a loss of sense of self. Running used to be a huge part of my life, and now it’s just…not.
  • I’ve got kind of…fat. My body shape has changed a lot since I basically stopped being a runner, and it’s pretty distressing. A lot of my clothes aren’t fitting comfortably, including my active wear, and running feels different when you’re heavier. Things rub, shake, and jiggle, and it feels like you’re swimming through treacle. I’m trying to train using someone else’s body.
  • I get to live with this beast during the week though – have a picture of Central Scotland’s fluffiest cat to break up the self loathing a bit:


  • I still love my new job, and embrace the challenges it offers. They’ve recently introduced a flexible working policy, which has allowed me to start running at lunchtime. This works well for me, because when I get home, I am devoid of energy or motivation to do anything other than flop…like tonight. I work within a mile of this lovely canal though:


  • I still haven’t joined a running club. I know I should, but I’m actually questioning whether I’m fit enough to survive a training session at the moment. I miss running with other people. I try and run with my friends in Stonehaven when I’m up at the weekends, but I always end up drinking too much to be out running early with them, or indeed, at all. Since Kynon and I only see each other at the weekends and I only see Stonehaven every other week, the pressure to burn brighter for shorter is real. Work hard, party hard…but where has train hard gone?

Where I’m Going

  • I know where I’m not going – I’ve received rejections from both the Tokyo and London Marathon ballots, so that clears up some decisions about Spring 2017. Kynon and I are going to enter the Chicago ballot as well when it opens soon though – sooner or later I have to get a place for something…
  • I know I have to bring some kind of structure into my running life if I’m to salvage anything from the last few years of running. Goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-specific.
  • I’m starting with micro-goals: I live near Blackford Hill and use the steep steps on the West side to train. I want to be able to run all the way from the bonfire pit at the bottom to the bench at the top by Christmas. At the moment I can run about half – right up until the point where the stairs get really steep.
  • I have to enter some races and I have to fully commit to them. In the first half of 2017 I want to run the D33 and the Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultra, in preparation for a new race, the Tyne Trail Ultra – a 93 mile run from the source of the Tyne to Tynemouth. I went to University in Newcastle, so this race will great for me, but I’m hesitant to enter just yet. One step at a time for now is perhaps wise.
  • In the second half of 2017, I want to run the Devil o’ the Highlands again, and the Glenmore 12 hour again. I must mark the opening dates in my diary, if only to ‘unfollow’ the Facebook groups after entering, in order to get away from the circus of daft questions and poor grammar…
  • I have to find a way to lose this extra weight, and I’m hoping that regular training will shift it. I’ve been ‘hoping’ that for the last year though and it’s not enough. I turned 32 the other day and never have I been more aware of how quickly middle-aged spread sets in as soon as you eat anything nice. I had birthday cake three times last week and a pizza on my birthday, and I feel like I need to start wearing scrubs to work as my jeans are cutting me in half.

That’s all I’ve got for now; just some small nuggets of insight into my current life. It’s always hard to post a blog after a big break;  I never know where to start or what to say. It’s been over two months since my last post and I rarely have the time nor the inclination to write much these days, but since I’m still paying for my hosting and I’ve just renewed my domains, I should really make it more of a priority. It’s unfortunate that much of my new job is creating, strategising, and analysing content, so coming home at night to do it all again makes this bit of fun into a bus-man’s holiday.

I’ve also fallen out of love with blogging in general… I’ve given up reading most of the blogs I’ve been following for the last few years as they have all swung largely in the same direction of courting brands to gain the coveted crown of the word ‘Influencer’ in their social media biographies. There are a handful of blogs out there who I still enjoy reading regularly and who consistently produce high quality visual and written content, either with brand partnership or otherwise, but in general I am exhausted with the saturation of partnerships, sponsorships, and ambassadorships, and the general need to stop and document every single training run with a selection of self-timered pictures of you looking like a very serious runner. I just don’t really want to to read about that any more.

However, I don’t want to stop writing Red Wine Runner as I like to have a record of my own experiences at races, and it’s nice to share that with others sometimes. On the other hand, it’s beginning to make me rather uncomfortable the amount of times people come up to me in public and want to talk to me about this blog. I can vaguely handle it at races, but in the last couple of months I’ve had some particularly odd encounters in non-running situations, and a couple of my SRC clubmates got asked if they were me whilst they were at races recently. I guess it may be too late to get that particular genie back in the bottle, but for the record; I can be a rather awkward penguin at times offline, and I can find dealing with strangers without context pretty challenging. Also, I am nearly 6ft tall with neon red hair – I’m not short with dark hair, or Canadian. So there’s that too. Finally, don’t ever pull your car over next to a runner out by themselves and ask if they’re Red Wine Runner, regardless of how much you think they are or not. Because that’s creepy as hell, and you’re an asshole if you do that.

a-very-angry-penguin source

I wanted to finish with a Socially Awkward Penguin meme, but I’m not in the mood for a lawsuit with Getty. Please enjoy this Very Angry Penguin instead, and consider it my reaction if I get kerb crawled again.


  1. Stick in there! We all go through phases where for whatever reason it all gets too hard. We only have so much energy and sometimes it all gets used up dealing with the boring stuff of just surviving. That isn’t weakness or failure it is just life.
    I feel the same way about blogging at the moment. It sometimes requires too much energy to construct something worth saying and in the end you question the value of sounding off into empty space like an impotent old man. I suspect we also suffer from a problem in our community at the moment. That same community which nourishes, supports and energizes us, is being swamped and suffocated by large numbers of people who haven’t taken the time to learn the history and culture of the community. Having written that am I describing an immigrant problem? Either way, welcoming and nurturing is part of our culture but sometimes dealing with numpties can be energy sapping and soul destroying. Sorry for the stream of consciousness. I think what I am trying to say is stay close to your loved ones and as your energy returns to surplus you will develop your running legs and blogging voice again.

    • I still don’t quite know how I feel about the new influxes…you wrote a post some time ago which hit the nail squarely on the head about it and what you ruminated upon in the post grows ever more relevant to this day. Numpties are hard work and I have no time for it.

  2. Hiya Rhona,

    I just wanted to drop by and say I really enjoy your blog. Its devoid of pretence and really well written. Sorry your commute is kicking you in the stones at the moment. I’ve been travelling for a couple of months and have returned home a: clinical sphere. I just had a word with my mum to stop tumble drying all my clothes as they’re shrinking. She solemnly put down her coffee and said they’d been on the line… Right. That’ll be my gut then.
    Anyway just wanted to mention I’ve been creeping you for years. Proper love it when I see you’ve a new one up.

    Even just for the vocab– “peripatetic”– nice pal, nice.


    • Hey Kirsty!
      Lovely to hear from you and glad to hear you’ve made it back to Scotland in one piece. I have been enjoying following your pictorial updates 🙂
      Creep away, and hopefully our paths will cross again soon X

  3. 32 is not middle-aged!!!!!!!!!!

    That is all. 😉

  4. I saw you at the start line of a half mara years ago and didn’t say hi cos I didn’t want to seem a creep. I mentioned it on Twitter or something and you said you like folk saying hi and I shuda, now I don’t know what to do.

  5. Great to see a post from you again, but sorry it’s all been a bit difficult. You’ve been through a lot of changes and that’s bound to take its toll, but you have the right idea when it comes to goals and looking at your day to figure out the best way to fit in training. That worked for me, although none of the changes in my life were anywhere near as big as yours! You’ll get there, and you’re certainly not middle-aged at 32!
    I always love your posts as I know they’ll be “real”. Like you, I made a lot of changes to the blogs I follow as I got fed up with all the sponsored content and perfectly posed shots of runners with swishy ponytails, looking fresh as a daisy as they effortlessly bound by in every single post. Sometimes there’s a place for that, but I like to see what running is really like and read blogs where people share the lows as well as the highs and sweaty, red-faced post-run selfies with unwashed hair all over the place. That’s what running looks like, and that’s what helps to inspire new runners.
    So chin up and look forward to making 2017 the best it can be!

    PS that cat is BEAUTIFUL

    • Cheers Alison. I’m just so looking forward to the day sometime soon that all this will settle down and there will be another new ‘normal’ that is less chaotic.

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