Red Wine Runner

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Miyajima Marathon 15k 2016 – RACE REPORT

Miyajima Marathon 15k

miyajima marathon logo

3rd April 2016

1 hour 34 minutes 3 seconds
Category placing: 16th of 53 Female Under 40
Gender: 23rd of 76 Females

In August 2015, with a little help from a tax rebate, I booked a two week long trip to Japan for myself and Kynon. It took a lot of planning in the intervening months to get the trip exactly right, but one of the first things which helped shape our tour was finding out that the Miyajima Marathon was going to be taking place whilst we were in the country. As usual I had searched on various websites to find running events to take part in, but it was a chance Google search which saw me stumble upon the website for this race, which is only in its second year.  Whilst it bills itself as a marathon, it is actually only 15k – I believe this is because the word Marathon translates roughly as ‘running event’ in Japanese. Anyway, it was small and cheap, and the route looked stunning! We quickly signed up to secure our places, and continued planning the rest of our trip.

I am planning on writing another post on our Japan travels, so for now we’ll fast forward to the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of April which we spent in Hiroshima, which is only a 30 minute train ride from the Miyajima Island ferry. Accommodation during the time of year which we visited was both expensive and hard to come by, so we found that staying in Hiroshima rather than on the island itself was our best option.

miyajima marathon

We stayed at the enormous Mitsui Garden Hotel, where we enjoyed this amazing view of the city of Hiroshima from our room on the 18th floor. Hiroshima is a port city and from our room we could see out to sea and the mountainous islands which rose up from the water.

miyajima marathon

On the morning of the race we woke up very early and were on the move by 7am. First we had to take a tram to a train station, then a local train to Miyajimaguchi, where we could then catch the ferry across to the island. Having already spent four days in Tokyo and successfully navigated our way South to Hiroshima on the Shinkansen, by now we were pros at using the Japanese transport system, which is just as clean and efficient as you would expect.

miyajima marathon

image source: visit-miyajima-japan.com

We were using JR Rail passes to travel around Japan, and these passes included the Miyajima Ferry crossing which took around 30 minutes. The ferry lands near the famous Itsukushima Shrine ‘floating’ Tori Gate which stands out in the water and passengers get a stunning view as they approach. Miyajima Island is highly regarded as one of the most scenic  and historical sights in Japan, and is an incredibly popular tourist destination. You can stay on the island but most people come for a day trip, and like many other places in Cherry Blossom season it is absolutely mobbed from dawn til dusk.

miyajima marathon

On the day we visited it was cloudy but very warm and humid. Even early in the morning it was clear that it was going to be a hot race when we started at 10:30am, but thankfully the sun stayed behind the clouds for most of the day. I had been hopeful for a fast run; examining the previous years’ results showed that the female field seemed quite soft and the women’s winner had completed the 9.3 miles in  around 1 hour and 12 minutes. Prizes were awarded for the first 5 runners in each category, so I genuinely thought I had a good chance of placing, as I would normally run 9 miles in around 1hr 15m. There was a route map and course profile on the website, which other than a hill at the start, showed a reasonably flat course… It looked like the road followed the contour lines around the hills rather than go over them…

miyajima marathon

However, it’s fair to say that this route map, like many things in Japan; was not what it seemed!

miyajima marathon

Registration was at Miyajima Jr High School and we picked up out race packets and numbers easily. After sorting ourselves out we returned to the ferry terminal to store our belongings in a baggage locker as we had some things which were just a bit too valuable to be left in the baggage drop, such as passports, JR passes, etc.

miyajima marathon

We took a walkabout and warmed up on the first mile of the course. There was definitely a hill at the start but it wasn’t too scary and I was ready to start at the front with the fast girls and go out strong and compete. After returning to the start area we took some pictures, chatted to a couple from Glasgow (!!) and spoke to one or two of the other International runners – there were about 15 in total.

miyajima marathon

There was a mass choreographed warm-up which was hilarious, and then some J-Pop was performed live before the start which was all very enthusiastically received.  At 10:25 we were summoned to the road for the start, and at 10:30 we were on our way.

The heat was immediately an issue for me, even though the sun was behind the clouds. The air was humid and close, and the humidity rating was nearly 90% to complement the 23C temperature. I pushed through the first mile in 7:59 and the second in 8:46 which was pleasing, and felt that I was able to maintain that pace…until the route took a hard left and commenced a steep and nasty climb. The race was all on road, but suddenly we found ourselves navigating a set of relentless switchbacks which I’m not sure I would even enjoy driving up in a car. I chugged away hoping that it would be over quickly, but soon I found myself having to power walk with my hands on my knees. The climb was about half a mile long through thick forest, until we could finally tumble down the other side on another series of steep switchbacks. It took me a moment or two to realise that we would be returning on the same route, so this hill would have to be navigated for a second time…

Into the fourth mile I began to revise my plan. I had clearly underestimated the course and it was extremely tough, made tougher by the heat. I knew it was highly unlikely that I would still be in contention for a top 5 spot, and I was concerned that continuing to push relentlessly would result in heatstroke. I switched to self-preservation mode and took the pressure off so I could soak in my surroundings and really enjoy the experience. There were monkeys shrieking in the trees, eagles flying overhead and birds singing unfamiliar songs. The views from the top of each hill were heavenly; islands floating in the haze above the flat, azure sea. Running has taken me to some pretty amazing places and this was quite special.

miyajima marathon

A sweaty phone camera just doesn’t do it justice; the scenery was stunning.

miyajima marathon

The lead runner passed me at 3.6 miles on his return and went on to win the race in an eye-watering 58:56. With the runners on their way back in I was able to count the number of women ahead of me, but I lost count at around 10. I got a big high 5 from Kynon who was toiling away and  doing excellently, and I said hello to the people who I had spoken to before the start as they approached half way.

miyajima marathon

There was a water point here but unfortunately they had run out. Thankfully I’d been able to get a cup of water at around 3 miles, but I was still very thirsty! The return journey was just as stunning and up until mile 7 I was mostly leap-frogging with the same group of guys. Once I had crested the final monster hill I knew I had two and a bit miles to go on mostly flat road, so I decided to focus on clawing back as many places as possible. A girl had motored past me which spurred me on and I chased her all the way to the finish as we both passed about a dozen men.

In the last 500 meters before the finish there was a gradual decline and I realised I was gaining on the girl. I realised if I timed my sprint finish attack right I could probably pass her, and claw back one female place. At the end of the slope I used the momentum to launch into an aggressive pace for the last moments of the race and passed her assertively to cross the finish line one spot higher, as 16th female and second international female.

I collected a bottle of water and my post-race food – an onigiri (sushi rice wrapped in seaweed) and a ‘Momiji Mangu’ which is a cake shaped like a maple leaf filled with flavoured bean paste and a local Miyajima specialty. Kynon greeted me with a sweaty hug and told me that he finished in 1hr 21m. We were both wiped out and needing a lot of water; not surprising as the the total elevation of the 15k course was 1640 feet!

miyajima marathon

miyajima marathon

 miyajima marathon

We were given a finisher’s certificate and commemorative towel each, which alongside our bib numbers make for some fantastic international running souvenirs. Whilst the race was extremely challenging I enjoyed it so much, and it is one of my most treasured memories of our two weeks in Japan.

We spent the rest of the day wandering around the enchanting island, wishing that we were staying longer. You can climb all the way to the top of Mount Misen and explore the various shrines and temples on the way, but sadly we just didn’t have time to do everything. The cherry blossoms made already stunning views utterly breathtaking, and whenever we return to Japan, I will definitely hope to spend a couple of nights on Miyajima so I can explore all the sights in full.

Here are some of my favourite snaps from Miyajima; I will write up our Japan trip in a different post with more pictures and stories next week. Until then you can see more on my Instagram account if you’re not already following! This weekend sees us head to London for the Marathon (Kynon running, myself supporting) and I will also be attending The Running Awards as a guest of Strava, who have invited their top 100 running bloggers along to a special event.

miyajima marathon

miyajima marathon

miyajima marathon

miyajima marathon

miyajima marathon

miyajima marathon

miyajima marathon

Have you ever been to Japan? Did you visit Miyajima?

Where is the most exotic place you have raced?

Are you running the London Marathon this weekend? Good luck!

Barry’s Bootcamp London

Barry’s Bootcamp

barry's bootcamp london

The best workout in the world?

In direct contrast to my bargain basement work-outs at Pure Gym of late, I was recently in London and staying right next to world famous, international fitness studio chain, Barry’s Bootcamp. My love of trying new active things on my travels is well documented here, so I felt I had to give this well-hyped, celebrity endorsed workout a go. In short; it’s an hour-long class which is split into four 15 minute sections. The room is split into two – for the first 15 minutes half the class works on treadmills, the other half works on the floor with a variety of free weights and resistance bands – and then you swap over.

At £20 for a drop-in class, I was ready to work hard and be like the smiling, sweaty, sexy people they have on their promotional videos and all over their Social Media accounts. I was booked in for a 7:30am Saturday morning class and arrived with plenty of time to spare. In fact, other than the receptionist (who looked like a male fitness model) I was the first one there. I was greeted warmly and given a towel, directed to the changing rooms and instructed to wait outside for the instructor. I was also given the opportunity to pre-order a post-workout smoothie, and I was so excited about this that I filled in the form incorrectly, put my name in the wrong box, and messed up the whole sheet for the rest of the class. Strike one. Oops.

With a little bit of nerves jangling, I walked towards the changing rooms and found a locker to stow my things in. I’d come prepared to work out, so it was just as well I wasn’t in a state of undress when a male walked into the room and casually strolled right past me. WTAF? I scuttled back to the door and opened it to check the sign and confirm – yes, I was indeed in the male changing rooms. Flushed with embarrassment and an all-round sense of horror, I quickly re-gathered my things and got the hell out before anyone else saw me. Strike two.

By the time I had used the (CORRECT) facilities and returned to the reception area I had just about cooled down a bit with my heart rate returned to normal. First HIIT session of the day complete. I stood around with the gradually increasing number of incredibly svelte, yet sleepy looking participants, and reminded myself that no matter how fit and cool they all looked, none of them looked like they run ultramarathons for fun, and these two 15 minute treadmill blasts were nothing compared to what I’m used to so I was just as capable as them.

Barry's Bootcamp London

That’s me on the left. Maybe. source

The instructor appeared and invited us in; after reading other write-ups online, I was expecting the newbies to be beckoned in first for a brief run-down of what was going to happen, but this was not the case. I knew I had chosen Treadmill (unlucky) Thirteen, so I headed over through the dark room and looked at the display to find out how to turn it on. The treadmills are more advanced than those you would find in your average gym, but as an active gym user I could figure it out. Someone less experienced might struggle a little though, as before I knew it the class had started. I knew this as everyone around me started running on their treadmills as soon as the music started. Ok, let’s go!

The instructor was using a headset mic and shouting incoherently into it. I couldn’t actually hear what he was saying at all, so I looked to the girls on my left and right to see what they had set their treadmills to do. It was at this point that I realised my treadmill’s display was broken and was showing a number out of 100 other than a usual Miles Per Hour reading. I also eventually realised when the instructor was shouting ‘SIX-OH SEVEN-OH EIGHT-OH’ that he was telling us to set our treadmill speed to 6.0mph, 7.0mph, or 8.0mph. Luckily, I have spent literally hundreds of hours calculating running pace equivalents in my head whilst running, so I was able to look at the minutes per mile display setting instead of the 0-100 display and calculate what speed I ought to be running at.

Every so often I caught a few sentences of what the instructor was saying and I gradually got my ears used to the garbled bellowing language and began to understand what was going on, but for the most part I took my cues from the fast and sinewy sports-bra ladies on either side of me. We ran fast, faster, and then so fast I thought that if I made one tiny error I would be flying off the back of the treadmill and straight back out on to the street. The music was really loud and the lights were off in some sections which was fun, and I felt a bit like I was a superhero charging through space. We did some sprinting with the inclines jacked right up as well, which in all honesty made me feel like I was going to die.

Just as I was getting the hang of the treadmill deal, the fifteen minutes was over and it was time to switch to the floor. Luckily a lot of the time I had spent on the treadmill I was able to watch in the mirrors what the floor people were doing, so I knew roughly what was coming. Even though I wasn’t in a row of 20 people running on treadmills this time, there was still 20 people running on treadmills behind me, so I still really struggled to hear the instructions. Bear in mind that the instructor is essentially teaching two classes at the same time in the same room – were those numbers he just shouted out for my weights, or their incline? It is a bit of an aural assault.  Don’t rely on being able to ask your fellow participants either; I made one attempt to ask one of the sinewy sports-bra ladies something when we were on the floor, and she just told me that I was in her spot and gave me a look like I’d just curled one off in her oatmeal. For future reference guys – you do the floor exercises on the right hand side of your bench, not the left. Strike three.

The rest of the class was much of a blur and essentially a repeat of the first half hour. At least this time I realised that my treadmill display wasn’t really broken, and the speed display wasn’t showing a level between 0 – 100. It was just the decimal point which was not displaying… so 60 was not level 60, it was actually 6.0mph. This made the second half infinitely easier, but by this point I did feel like an utter tool. Strike Four? Five? I don’t know – I’ve lost count. Granted it was 7.30 in the morning and I’d had very little sleep due to hotel-room overheating, but it did occur to me that I just did not belong here and leaving might be a viable option. That made me angry though, and the attitude of rude sports-bra lady had narked me right off, so I just channeled that into running faster than her and sprinting so hard I nearly puked. Again. I think this might be the main goal of the class.

Barry's Bootcamp London

After the class ended I headed to the smoothie bar to collect my pre-ordered ‘Miami Mango Madness’. I’m still not quite sure who Rmova is, but maybe that’s what happens when you make a mess of their order form. As I pottered back down Euston Road savouring my £5 protein shake, I reflected on the experience; I didn’t not enjoy it, but I felt there were some definite areas of improvement which could be made (including perhaps my own early-morning observational skills). Had I had a one minute briefing by the instructor as to how he would instruct the class, that would have helped a lot. Had his microphone also not been so garbly it would have been even better. These things probably don’t matter to regular members of the class, but for new people (and especially those new to exercise) this is critical. I am a tiny voice in a sea of devotees, however; Barry’s Bootcamp is firmly established as one of the hottest workouts in London (and the world) right now and they don’t need my feedback. Nor, do I expect, would they even want it.

Barry’s Bootcamp and similar boutique classes are a world away from what is available to me up in the North East of Scotland. I like to try new things and try and keep up with what’s happening in the fitness world outside of the hills, but my consistent take-away is that it’s just not my kind of scene. Even if I was living in London (and earning an equivalent salary to match!) I can’t see myself wanting to spend that amount of money on exercise classes indoors. You can spend as much as you like on classes and amazing gear to make you look good, but if the result is that you feel so entitled to your slice of class space as rude sports-bra lady did – then you can keep your boutique fitness and I’ll stay up in the hills where I belong.

Barry's Bootcamp London 7

I’ve got a secret…

Hello!

Things have been a little quiet around here lately, haven’t they? Given that it is nearly the end of March and I’ve posted only four times in 2016, it’s clear to see that things are unfolding a little differently for me this year.  The early months of the past few years have been crammed full of miles, hills, and mountains, with my eyes firmly set upon a goal later in the year.

red wine runner 28 mile run

This year, with a great deal of instability in my employment and financial situation, things have gone a little bit differently. If you don’t have a lot of money spare you can’t enter lots of races, especially if your kind of races usually involve a tank of petrol and a night or two in a remote hotel. Also, if you’re looking to move to a different area, then what’s the point in spending precious money on races which, if your life sorts itself out, you won’t be able to attend anyway? It’s a bit of a vicious circle situation to find yourself in and with no long races to train for, prying myself out of bed at 6am in winter to run 20-odd miles for the sake of it fell pretty far down my list of priorities. I am still running; just not very far and with no great sense of urgency. That hasn’t left me with very much to write about here, I’m afraid 🙁

But what about the Self-Transcendence 50k?

self transcendence race perth

I started the year training for the Self-Transcendence 50k which is taking place in Perth at the end of March. It seemed like a good choice in terms of timing and as a flat, lapped race, I could try my best to record a fast 50k time. What I failed to get a proper grip on though, was the actual day of the race… I had it in my head that it was taking place on a Saturday like all the other Scottish Ultras, when in fact it is a Sunday – the day before I fly to Tokyo. After seeking some medical advice I was conflicted; medically it is not a great idea to complete an endurance event 12 hours before a long-haul flight, but it’s not going to kill me either. There is a medical risk involved, but in all honesty there is more of a risk of me chewing up my feet with blisters and acquiring some nasty DOMS from running on tarmac, which would ruin the first few days of our much-anticipated trip to Japan. I thought about doing the race and taking it easy, but I’m done with the concept of doing races just for the sake of them (especially whilst under-trained) and my health and injury-free status is more precious to me than a medal. So unfortunately, I’m a DNS.

So what is this secret then?

It’s not very exciting I’m afraid, but in the absence of beautiful pictures from mountain runs to share with you, it will have to do. I’ve joined a gym – Pure Gym Kittybrewster to be exact – and since the new facility opened at the start of February I’ve been enjoying attending several times a week and working hard on different aspects of my fitness. The new gym launched with an amazingly cheap offer which caught my broke, freelancer eyes – £10.99 a month for your first 12 months, rising to £18.99 thereafter. I scoured the small-print for the catch, but everything is completely legit and follows the no-frills, no-strings attached, no contract, 24 hour memberships which the Pure Gym chain are renowned for offering at their gyms around the UK. I can show up whenever for a workout, and as someone with a very flexible work-from-home arrangement this means I can go during the day when it is very quiet. It’s a bit of a drive from my house, but it’s still more cost efficient than attending several classes a week nearer home and it gets me out of the house and off the computer which is priceless.

pure gym logo

I’ve been enjoying attending spinning, kettle bells, HIIT, and abs classes, and they are frequently timetabled in a way which means I can sandwich a weights workout in between two 30 minute classes. As the gym is completely brand new, all of the equipment is in great condition and the facilities are clean. What has really struck me is the diversity of clientele; I’ve been a member of many gyms in the past in various cities in the UK, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a broad range of age, abilities, and ethnic backgrounds before. There is very little posturing around the weights area and people are just in there to get on with their own workouts – a refreshing change from Aberdeen Sports Village where, as a female entering the free weights area which was primarily populated with male students, I felt like I was either in the way or some kind of exotic half-time entertainment.

In conclusion, I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying being a member of a gym again. The staff are all brilliant and it pleases me how much attention is given to correct form in classes, especially weights-based exercises. When the exercise studio is not in use, members are permitted to go in and use the space for their own dynamic workouts, such as setting up a little circuit to do, or lighter barbell workouts away from the main gym floor. Another reason why I joined PureGym is because you can quit at any time with no questions asked, but I will definitely be sticking around as long as I’m in the area. At £10.99 a month for such a great quality service, you really can’t go wrong!

What’s Next?

miyajima island

photo source: theredlist

Since my entry for the Self-Transendence race will be a DNS, that leaves the first race of my year to be the Miyajima Marathon! As part of our adventure around Japan, Kynon and I have secured entries to the 15km race on April 3rd which goes around the beautiful Miyajima Island just outside of Hiroshima. We leave for Japan next Monday and will spend two weeks in the land of the rising sun, visiting Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and Kamakura. It’s going to be quite the adventure of a lifetime and I promise I will share lots of information and pictures on my return. Can’t wait til then? Make sure you’re following me on Instagram!

Keeping Active on Holiday

In the six weeks since I submitted my MSc dissertation, I’ve been racking up some serious travel miles as I take full advantage of my new-found free time. After five days in Berlin for the Berlin Marathon, I came home and re-packed my bags for a couple of weeks across the Atlantic where I visited Texas, South California, and Mexico. Upon returning home at the end of October I had just enough time to get my washing done before I headed South with Kynon for a week in Whitby, for our annual pilgrimage to the Whitby Goth Festival. All in all it’s been a great mix of some serious rest and recuperation, hideous jet lag, and monumental alcohol consumption.

giphy (1)

You know you’ve done a good job of ‘resting’ when you come back from holiday just as tired as you went away…right?!

Anyway, as is customary these days, I did not travel anywhere without a full complement of fitness apparel in my suitcase, and was able to take advantage of some stunning weather and beautiful surroundings to attempt to counter-act the inevitable effects of endless fried food and delicious craft beers.

houston running trail

In Houston, I did some extremely sweaty running on the Heights Hike and Bike Trail. It was very, very warm; over 30C in the shade before 9am and the sun wasn’t even properly out.

houston running trail

Houston gets a (deservedly) bad reputation for being a car-bound city which is impossible to travel around without a motorised vehicle. This is true, but the area I was staying in had the Heights Hike and Bike Trail running straight through it, which gave me access to a car-free route through leafy residential areas towards the Downtown area.

houston running trail

The local wildlife was particularly friendly! I ran the four miles to Downtown and back and spent the rest of the day feeling very ill. Heatstroke is no joke, and there is a reason why this Scottish runner is unlikely to venture abroad for racing any time soon.

memorial park running trail

A couple of days later, my lovely host CJ took me to her favourite park to run her local trails. We visited Memorial Park around 8am and ran 10k around the running loop, which is a 5k circular trail with water points, showers, and a stretching area. I felt a lot safer running in a circle knowing if I felt ill I was never too far from water or the car. The sun was a lot stronger that day and I ended up walking the last 1k as I started to feel a bit odd again and didn’t want to write off another day to the heat.

houston running trail

I absolutely loved the atmosphere in Memorial Park. Even though it was before 8am, the park was packed with active people and runners of all ages, speeds, shapes and sizes. Again, Texas has a (deserved) reputation for being a very unhealthy place, but in my experience it is a State of great contrast. There is so much to do outside in every city I’ve visited and the amazing weather keeps people active all year long. As an aside; I’ve never felt confident enough to wear the above ‘short shorts’ in the UK, but in Houston it didn’t matter whether your body was big or small, you dressed for the weather. Most girls were in short shorts and a sports bra when out running and didn’t seem to give a toss about any possible judgement, whether perceived or otherwise. It’s not like it ever gets warm enough up here for such minimalist kit, but I’d like to transplant some of the body confidence I found in Texas back to Scotland next time the sun shines.

In my last couple of days in Houston, I was able to work out at the University of Houston student gym. This was a great facility with a huge cardio suite, massive weights area, an indoor 300m running track, very large climbing wall, Olympic sized swimming and diving facilities, and an outdoor leisure pool with pool and beach volleyball courts. American Universities’ facilities are truly out of this world – imagine relaxing after your workout and before your next class here?!

university of houston sports facilities

After my time in Houston, it was time to pack my bags and head for the beach – to Ocean Beach, in San Diego!

ocean beach san diego

I took a lot of pictures of my time here, but none seemed to capture the absolute beauty of this area. From someone from my part of the world, it felt a very long way from home to be walking along a street lined with palm trees and populated with some of the coolest looking people I’ve ever seen. For me, it was a bit like walking into an episode of the OC.

ocean beach san diego

ocean beach 3 ocean beach 4 ocean beach 5 ocean beach 6 ocean beach 7

I went to San Diego by myself, and stayed in a hostel on the beach. I wanted to push myself a little out of my comfort zone and do something I hadn’t done before, and go somewhere I hadn’t been before. It turns out I could not have picked a better choice of destination as I spent every night meeting new people and forgetting all my troubles from back home. I loved that no-one knew who I was or anything about me; it was the perfect way to disassociate from everything which had been dragging me down in the last few months and find a place to restart from. I don’t want to vague-blog but obviously there are some things in life which need to stay offline; the next few months are going to be very challenging, but in moments of stress I will remember the Pacific breeze on my skin, the sand between my toes, and the feeling of renewal I felt here.

ocean beach bike riding 3 ocean beach bike riding 2 ocean beach bike riding 1

In an unusual change of events for me, I got on a bike for the first time in over a decade and did a couple of days of beach cruising with some new friends. It was a great way to explore the Mission Bay area, and further North to Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. We also rode over to Balboa park and through the beautiful neighbourhoods of Hillcrest and Mission Hills. I did some morning clifftop runs and watched two weddings take place, and explored La Jolla cove and its’ resident sea lions.

sea lion

I also turned 31 and spent the first hours of my birthday in a karaoke bar with new friends from every corner of the globe. Later on in the day I ate an amazing veggy burger on the beach at sunset and then went to a Hot Yoga class at Indieyoga. To my delight, when I registered for the class it flagged the receptionist that it was my birthday, and the studio gives everyone a free class on their special day. This was great news as I was running out of cash and a $18 yoga class was a bit of an indulgence. The class was great, but totally different to what I am used to at home. For a start, the loud dubstep music off-set the calming guidance of the instructor somewhat, but I was too busy trying not to overheat and die to be too bothered by it.

After a day trip to Mexico, I made it home via Paris and arrived back to real life in Scotland with a sleepy bump. The week in Whitby at the Goth Festival took the edge off it of course; I was hoping to do some running along some of the Cleveland Way but ended up with huge blisters after wearing some ridiculous (yet fabulous) shoes. Despite my attempts at keeping active on my trip, my meagre activities were no match for my indulgences and coming in the front door at the moment has me feeling a bit like:

fat cat gif

I’ve made the very sensible decision to DNS my place at GO33 this weekend – I’ve ran fewer miles in the last month than I would be doing in one day, and the consequences of that can only be problematic. I needed the break from all that was familiar – running, work, life – and now I feel ready to start over again. I have a place at the Fraserburgh Half in a couple of weeks, so I need to pull back some fitness and re-calibrate my lifestyle choices to feel like a runner again. Running at the moment feels like I’m using someone else’s legs and even 5k is a struggle, so I have my work cut out for me!

How do you try keeping active whilst travelling?
Do you enjoy keeping fit whilst on holiday, or are holidays for total rest?
Are you running GO33 this weekend? GOOD LUCK!

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