Well where do we start!? Since buying my 1st bike in 2014, I have tried to fit in to the world of triathlon in this country. I have entered loads of local races, won all of them (please correct me if I’m wrong!), then got my 1st national title in 2016 and have won all the national champs races I have entered. Don’t get me wrong, I have made great friends through triathlon (Noodles I guess you are one of them too), but I have been continually let down by the governing body (I won’t bore you with the details, but I think you are aware by now).
I had my 2nd baby in June, and with the positives of lockdown (along with genetics I guess?), Kyle now works from home and actually encouraged me to catch up on sleep and do lunchtime sessions, as I know I am a better Mum when I get that endorphins hit, and we did have a great summer that I couldn’t not get outside and get my sweat on. I thought “wouldn’t it be funny to do a triathlon a month after training” – because that’s how my crazy mind works – and I entered the standard distance champs which were held locally and were taking place at the start of September.
Long story short, my training was fine. I managed to run every 2nd day with my PGP just a couple weeks post partum, was riding outside on the TT bike to get used to bending over again in that position, and was still swimming Mondays and Thursdays. It wasn’t much but I’m a quality over quantity gal now.
I was 2nd out the water, forgot how to take my wetsuit off in transition, lost a load of time, smashed the bike in anger and had the fastest bike split of the day (beating a great Commies cyclist in the process) and survived the run (the low impact trails helped) with the 2nd fastest split of the day, finishing 3 minutes ahead of any other girl.
Over the moon, I was thrilled to have all 3 of my boys there supporting me and it was such a hot day that I was looking forward to chilling in the sun the rest of the day. However, an hour after finishing I was told I was DQd for littering. I was so confused as I had held onto my gel the entire run course as there were no bins on the course. Turns out it was when I dropped my water bottle in transition.
The rules are not black and white on this and after finding out, even the legal team at my work were reviewing the Scottish rules and agreed they made no sense. Apparently I was called back by the officials to rectify my mistake, but I have several witnesses who can say noone called me back. I was also there with my 12 week old baby and they didn’t have any empathy towards us. Not even a “congratulations that was great, however”.
I was miserable the entire way home, so Kyle said to write a post for closure and move on and enter another race. Well, the governing body might suck but the community was incredible!! Thank you to every single one of you for reaching out (huge ambassadors like yourself, Fraser!) and for the overwhelming comments… I don’t feel like an inspiration, I just love sport and love my family!
Anyway, I was sad for like 48 hours, but your comments and phone calls (and flowers!) made me feel so grateful to have you all!
…and then I entered a half ironman triathlon that same month because why not be even crazier!
Outlaw X was held at Thorseby Park and my Speedhub team would be there (I love them so much!). We hired a lodge on a lake, brought Kyle’s parents (we knew he’d need the support with 2 kiddos in tow!), and made a mini break out of it! Training between Knockburn and Outlaw was horrendous. I think I wasn’t used to be around so many people for such a long time, and my immune system sucks from the accident, but whatever the reason I was in bed for a good week! My longest run was the 10k at Knockburn, I managed one longish ride and knew I could complete the swim (I managed one open water swim a couple weeks before), so the plan was to just enjoy it!
I got lost in the swim. My goggles leaked (don’t try anything new on race day folks!) and because swimmers went off every 5 seconds, I wasn’t in a pack so not able to follow feet. Also because of this you had no idea where you were in the field, so when I exited with a couple girls, I didn’t realise I was actually 3 minutes ahead of them. Big swim fail!
The bike was ok I guess. I managed a 2.32 split for the 90k which was relatively flat and I was in the same pack the entire way. I nailed my nutrition and had a lot of fun! Emma (who won the race!) was a phenomenal descender so I need to up my game to ever catch her on a downhill!
As soon as I started running, my legs were swearing and shouting at me. I was with 2 girls but, again, because of the time trial swim start, I didn’t realise I was still winning the women’s race by 2 minutes… so weird!
Anyway, there was no way I could stay with Emma and just plodded along, ticked off the laps and continued to smash my nutrition plan. The sun came out from lap 2 onwards so I walked the aid stations to ensure I got enough liquid but all I could think about was grabbing Logan and crossing the line with him (Outlaw is famous for family finishes, provided they can all walk, so Lenny was out!). A 1.33 was all I could muster!
Best feeling ever.
Not so much for Logie cause I covered him in sweat and it was prime nap time.
3rd overall in 4.41.08.
A great start to triathlon career take 3! I am now having downtime and just ticking over until the new year!
Sorry I haven’t been posting lately… things have been mental! 2 kids 3 kids as Kyle is hard work, ultrarunning, triathloning, work, race directing, coaching, socialising again… the list goes on! Just thanks for still sticking by us – we really appreciate it!
So looks like I am now keeping this blog purely for big events…
Welcome to the world Lennox Ryder Murray Greig!
He was born on 11th June weighing 6lb5 and what an experience that was! Logan was a sneeze in comparison! After over a week of being told the baby’s head was fully down and my waters could break any second, and moving in with Mum to be closer to the hospital (high risk, blood thinners, plus Logan came so quick), then having scans telling us the baby hadn’t grown since week 33, then being told I was 2-3cm dilated, then being booked in for an emergency induction (which was in error – I just needed my waters broken), to only be invited in 2 days later, where they weren’t able to break my waters with the regular knitting needle thingy, then 1 hour of waiting for waters to trickle out, then 1 hour of slight period pain, then BOOM… oh my I could not imagine pain quite like it. Logan never caused anything like this pain! Yes, it was only for 90mins then 30mins of pushing but at the time it was days of torture!! I asked for drugs but I was in the midwife unit so could only get gas and air, so I tried the water birth route, which only made me wet! Neither helped ease the pain.
Oh, and I also hadn’t eaten yet that day because I never expected we would get a call to come in for a “check up”! I ran 5km in the morning, went to Starbucks with Kyle before he headed with the hire van to do race stuff, then got the call to get baby checked over (Kyle did come back straight away!)… so when it came to the pushing stage at around 9.30pm, I was exhausted. As they turned me around in the bath I fainted. My head submerged and when I woke up, I was so confused where I was and Kyle looked so scared. Looking back, it would have made a great headline: “Former champion swimmer drowns in bath tub.”
Anyway, at 9.56pm, after 8 days of being mentally traumatised(!), we said hello to big Lenny!
Originally, Ryder was the only middle name (milking that time I got a national record!), however 3hours after the birth, Kyle had to leave to start one of his Moray Way Ultra races, the Moray Coastal Trail, which I am so proud of him for managing to pull himself together for, that we thought it was fitting to add “Murray” to Lennox’s middle name. He won’t mind me saying, but leaving me and his newborn in hospital to work was probably the hardest thing he’s ever had to do and that night when he got home, he ran upstairs and just held me and we both cried.
A huge thanks to our friends Nicolle and Graham for driving behind Kyle and making sure he was fed and watered all day on the Saturday!
2 weeks on and we are loving life as a family of 4! It has been a tough journey (we lost a baby last year, and when I went private I was told I had PCOS and might not be able to conceive another child), and Logan has been incredible! Apart from the occasional head butt (he has a massive head), he kisses and tickles Lennox and speaks his Logie language to him all the time. As for me, I have managed a couple of runs after getting the go ahead from my coach, GP and Claire, who specialises in post partum recovery, will start swimming next week I think, and have been cycling pretty much non-stop. No idea what goals to make – haven’t thought much about it to be honest – so any suggestions let me know!
And Kyle has been selected to represent Scotland in Ireland for 100km in August so will be training hard for that over the next few weeks!
Thanks again for all your support and I will keep trying to post with updates and plans more frequently 😊 x
2020 was a rollercoaster year – we kicked it off with the best holiday ever, where we threw in a marathon and new mama over here got the W. However, when we got back, Kyle lost his sense of taste and smell, I got the “flu”, then we found out Florida had been riddled with this new Coronavirus. It wasn’t until a couple of months later that losing your sense of smell was added to the symptom list.
Anyway, I tried to make the most of my remaining weeks of maternity, and returned a little before my year off since we were in full lockdown, so we had nothing else to do! Kyle was then furloughed and his job was at risk, which led to significant stress in the household, but it meant we got so much family time, and the best time seeing Logan grow up (instead of him being at childcare!).
We thought there was a light at the end of this dark little tunnel, as we found out we were pregnant, but a few weeks later (they reckoned I was about 12 weeks along), we sadly lost the baby while I was in hospital alone with just a face mask for protection. Being in worse labour than with Logie all alone in hospital was one of the worst experiences we have ever faced. Kyle was angry and devastated, and I was in pain and heartbroken. The doctors actually found a growth that they couldn’t diagnose, so recommended we don’t conceive again for at least 3 months, where I was in and out for further checks, where they also told me I had PCOS and might not be able to have another baby. Wouldn’t wish that experience on my worst enemy!
Anyway, we were/are so fortunate to have such a happy baby (toddler?) who loves to entertain us! We had to look at the positives.
It turned into a blessing in disguise, as we are not great at doing nothing and just mourning, so Kyle created the “Moray Way Ultra Series” (check it out now!) – a total of 5 races spread across the year, showcasing how beautiful his home of Moray really is (I’m not just saying that – we have recce’d the courses and I was blown away by the sheer amount of beauty in such a small area!) He also started a bootcamp in our local village to encourage fitness and better mental health during lockdown, which has been a huge success! He also raised over £11,000 for charity through his insane treadmill challenge, and on top of that, was fortunate enough to be appointed a managerial position at newly formed charity, Athletics Trust Scotland.
While I was working away and helping with his admin (behind every man is an even greater woman!), we found out we were having a baby while on a little trip to Ft William! That was our 2nd month of trying again, so don’t believe everything the doctors tell you!! We were overjoyed!!!
And that leads us to now, where I am in my 30th week and loving life again! I have been feeling great – just really tired in the evenings – the whole way through, apart from my usual pelvic pain. But, with the help of our physio friend Gavin, he encouraged me to run at least 1 mile a day so my body is not “surprised” by running, at 0% on low impact surfaces, which has been amazing and I am no longer sitting up in bed at night, or hobbling away! I have a little bump, just like Logan, but I think that might change in the coming weeks! I have no idea what labour will be like this time round, given I swam nearly every day last time and haven’t done any swimming really in a year! Fingers crossed it will be just like with Logan 🙂
Hopefully I can get back to writing a bit more (although our house is like a circus at the moment!) and I will let you know about our comeback plans! There’s a couple exciting things coming up towards the end of the year…!
Thanks once again for all your support! For more regular updates, please check out Kyle’s hilarious podcast with Tom, Tartan Running Shorts x
PS I am not looking for sympathy or attention in writing about this. My intention is to raise awareness that this happens a lot and we don’t speak about it enough. It has taken me many months to feel comfortable enough to share on this platform (our close friends and family know), and it’s not good enough. If any of you are going through or have gone through the same and want to talk, please please please reach out to me! We are all in this together!
PPS below photos of the big man will hopefully finish the post on a brighter note 🙂
At the end of August, coincidentally the same weekend as last year’s UTMB, I challenged myself more than I ever have before and took on the attempt to break not only the 100 mile World Record, but the 24 hour World Record. On a treadmill.
This year has not been easy for the majority of us. Despite loving watching Logan grow up and seeing him nearly every waking second, we have also gone through tremendous hardships. Debbie was – and still is – in and out of hospital (all on her own to make it even worse), her work is going through major redundancies, and her anxiety levels as a result have been higher than ever. My work also underwent a huge restructure which added to my stress and anxiety.
Both of us [understandably] lost our mojo after about a month of lockdown, and we decided to do something about it. Debbie couldn’t race (not just because of cancellations but because of her health), so she was keen to support whatever I thought of doing and – thanks predominantely to the Tartan Running Shorts podcast and the need to speak about something given a lack of training and racing – I decided to do something completely out of my comfort zone, but what I thought I would be capable of, should I have the right build up.
For those of you who know me, know I hate the dreadmill. I was raised in the hills and started my athletic career mainly in hill running. I went to the World Mountain Running Championships in Alaska as a junior, have won the National Trail Running Championships and was 1st Brit at the World 50km Trail Championships back in 2016.
None of which were remotely similar to running on a treadmill.
Then I made the all time list for the 100km last year, running around a 2.4km loop in Perth and actually enjoying it. That is probably when I got the idea, and lockdown was the perfect opportunity to execute this challenge.
I was able to get motivation and chat about my progress via TRS which was hugely uplifting. The support I got (and have continued to get) is incredible, but I needed to do it more than for the running community. I decided to ask two charities close to my heart, CHAS and the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, if I could attempt the chalenge jointly for them, to help children both in Scotland, and in Kenya. They were really thankful for the support in these difficult times, and that got the ball rolling.
Then Zach Bitter took the record for the 100 miles in May. This was disheartening but still achievable. I used his time as the carrot, and set out to do my treadmill runs at around 7.10/mile, to be slightly faster than his WR pace. The longest I did on the treadmill was 5 hours, a couple of times per week, as I was nervous that too much treadmill running would cause some repetitive injuries, so I supplemented them with a few long runs outside, all which went really well and gave me huge confidence to beat the 100 mile record.
In the midst of this all, Debbie was in hospital and, at around the same time, I was told I was at high risk of losing my job. Not exactly perfect prep. But I started doing more buggy runs with Logan when Debbie wasn’t around (we weren’t allowed in hospital at all) – which also acted as my therapy – and when he slept (around 2-3 hours in the mornings) I would hit the treadmill.
In typical fashion, I was told two days before the set challenge date, that I had kept a position at ASV albeit a very different one.
After a chat with Coach Lewis, he encouraged me to keep my head up and so I arrived at the facility ready to do the challenge at ASV at 7am that Friday morning.
The room was not set up.
The national press were there for me, the charity representatives were there, as were my support crew (only 2 due to COVID restrictions), and despite several visits that week to check the area and layout of where I would be running – ensuring the toilets/water fountain etc were as close as possible, air conditioning functioning etc – the elected room was empty.
Anyway, the facilities guy was amazing, and took through a couple of treadmills within minutes and my support/witnesses gathered everything else through while the press took some photos of me.
Later, I found out Debbie went to the storage cupboard to “bring through a couple of tables” and just sat and sobbed!
We switched the treadmill on at 9.28am!
A live stream was set up, which I envisaged would be like watching paint dry, but at one point several THOUSAND people were tuned in, all over the world! The Guinness camera was facing the official clock, out of sight of the live stream which was focused on the treadmill, so people had to update Facebook with how many miles, elapsed time and average pace I was running at.
The 1st hour actually felt like the longest to be honest! After all the stress, it was too easy just to hit stop. But I had people watching me all over the place and 2 charities I was raising money for, so I had to think of them. Although that 1st hour I had to stop to pee twice!! And whenever that happened, someone else had to wind down the treadmill, I had to wait until it did a complete stop, run to the bathroom, then wind it up again. This wasted so much time!
My first marathon was completed in 3.11ish, and I was finally feeling good. It was feeling effortless and the anxiety was starting to pass. The 1st round of supporters left at 4 hours and having a couple of fresh faces really gave me a boost! Every single helper was unbelievable – giving me gels at the exact time, calculating my average pace including all my stops to get off the treadmill, saying words of encouragement… I can’t thank you all enough!
Then, at 5 hours, my right hip started bothering me. It was like a stabbing sensation every single step. I have had a left glute/hip injury but this was the opposite side and something I had never experienced before. The pain made it too tough to eat and I could tell I was limping in the mirror.
Luckily, a couple of physios were present to give me some stretches/massage and running techniques to vary while on the treadmill (big shout out to Hamish and Gavin who then wrote them up on a white board so every minute or so I would try “knee kicks” or “side steps” to make the pain subside. All while trying to maintain a 7.10min/mile to try and catch up to 100mile record pace!
At 7 hours the pain was just unbearable and running in the low 7s was really tough. I also hadn’t taken in anywhere near enough fuel and was lagging. I got Debbie over and told her we were sacking off the 100 and going for the 24 hour record, and I immediately slowed my pace down to the high 8s. It was easier but still excruciating.
I was probably running for 30 minutes over a 4 hour period, then getting off to stretch and get back on again. Myles calculated that if I were to get off and sleep for 70mins at the 7 hour point, I was still ahead of 24 hour world record pace, which gave me some confidence. I also started using the massage gun on its highest setting on the hip area for 10mins at a time – it helped tremendously.
At 12 hours, everyone applauded and the new total raised for charity was announced. I dont remember the exact number but it surpassed my original goal (which I thought would be pretty tough) of £5k, and I remember getting pretty emotional.
What also got me emotional was every 30mins Debbie played a video of someone wishing me good luck. This was a huge surprise and really got me excited to get to the next one! Some of the videos included family, Olympians, athletic friends, non-athletic friends, a Kenyan family I was helping saying “thank you Greig” was unreal (they use last names over there)… there was even a collegiate athletics team in the States that follow TRS that put together an amazingly edited video with jokes and everything. I had friends pretending to run with me and people telling me I was stupid. And they all turned my grimace into a smile, so a huge thanks to all who contributed.
At 14 hours, the pace had really slowed down and I was getting off more regularly. I was still under WR pace but the lack of fuelling had really caught up with me.
I remember being told at 16 hours I was still bang on WR pace, despite going about 11 min miles for the previous hour excluding all my stops to stretch. That was when – unbeknown to me – Debbie and Coach Lewis had decided we were stopping the treadmill at no longer than 18 hours. Lewis came to watch and I told him I didnt care if I was injured for the rest of my life, I needed to get to 24 hours to make more money for these children.
During that hour, I had to come off and lie down. Mentally and physically I was broken. However, when I got back on, I couldn’t ramp up the treadmill to anything over 2.5kph. That is not an exaggeration. I was getting colder and more tired by the second, and needless to say the WR was no longer on.
We all made a compromise that we would get to 18 no matter what. If I had to crawl I would make it to 18. I had to do it for those suffering more than I was at that moment. It was hugely emotional and every time someone announced we had reached a new £1000 mark, I would cry (in a manly way, of course).
The last hour was one of the hardest of my life. I was so cold that I was wearing Debbie’s Speedhub Swim Parka – shameless sponsor plug – which is designed for swimmers who do a lot of open water and need to warm up; not really practical for running on a treadmill, so good job the treadmill was now at a whopping 2.8kph.
At 17h57 mins, Caledonia was playing to see me into the end of the 18th hour, where the treadmill was stopped and I attempted to give a speech about the charities I had helped. The total was now over £10,000, so I felt I had to say something. Debbie came on to give me a hug and I used her for support to get off. And by support I mean to hide my sobbing face from everyone.
To reiterate, this is by far the hardest thing I have ever done, and it has left me with a niggling hip, but I don’t care at all. I also don’t care that I never broke either of those records. I do care that I managed to press start despite the months I had had, and I do care that I raised over £11,000 (and still going!) to help children in Scotland and Kenya. I have never been more proud in my life, after marrying Debbie and the day Logie was born.
For example, in the Kenyan village of Kabaru, the families now have access to their own tap of running water for farming, cooking, cleaning and bathing. How huge is that!? The money you guys donated also gave two families solar panels on their houses! When Myles put this into perspective for what we have achieved (I am including you guys too, because without you, there wouldn’t be any money raised), it blew my mind!
So I want to say thank you! Thanks for following my journey and for supporting me. I truly believe that 100 mile WR could be mine but for now I am enjoying having no races for the remainder of 2020 and time with my family.
I am certainly not short of things to do – next month I am race director for the Speyside Way Ultra Marathon, and TRS Coaching has been launched and I am overwhelmed at the interest you have in being coached by little ol’ me!
Neither me nor Debbie are posting very much these days but we hope that in little posts like this, it has inspired someone to set a challenge to better themselves.
Stay safe, everyone.
PS a HUGE thank you to my socially distanced support crew: Old Man Dave, Daniel, Sarah, Claire, Myles, Emma, Hamish, Jason, Irina, Callum, Dino, Jayne, Lewis, Wendy, Nicolle, Gavin, Barry, Campbell, Harriet, Cameron, Doug, Tom, my parents, Debbie’s Mum, Keith, Debbie and Logan. And the dozens of people who made videos just for this!
PPS If everyone would still like to donate, the link is:
I am thrilled to announce to you all about my new business venture, TRS Training! This will combine my experience, through nearly a decade of working at Aberdeen Sports Village, one of Europe’s largest sporting facilities, to knowledge, through my Sports and Exercise Science degree at Aberdeen University, and my REPs level 3 personal training qualification. Combined with my own athleticism, a Team GB athlete who has had great races and horrific ones – knowing what works and doesn’t work – and enormous passion for helping people, I truly believe TRS Training contains everything you need to meet your goals!
For more info, please head over to my brand new website, www.TRS-Training.com and have a look at what I can offer.
I would be forever grateful if you could like my new page and share to anyone that you think might be interested 😊
If you are an avid listener of my podcast,Tartan Running Shorts, you may have heard of my newest endurance challenge. For those of you who haven’t, this is the plan:
Between August 28th and August 29th, I will be running for 24 hours – on a treadmill – to try and break the current world record, which officially stands at 164.36 miles, or roughly 8:46/mile.
Those of you who know me, know I need a goal in order for me to train. During lockdown, despite living my best life getting to spend quality time with the wee man and the better half, I have wanted to do something more. Knowing that charities have suffered due to this horrible pandemic, I have set this goal to raise money for two incredible charities, CHAS and the Gathimba Edwards Foundation.
I have never been more terrified of a challenge in my life, and that hugely excites me!
For more information on the challenge, these charities, and to kindly donate, please visit:
Anything you can do to support is greatly appreciated and will push me to train even harder!
I will be giving my training updates every week on the podcast (please subscribe and listen on any podcast platform if you haven’t already!) and whenever you are lacking motivation during lockdown for your little 10km treadmill run, think of me!
Once again, I would really appreciate any help you can give, and I would also like to give a huge thank you to those who have already donated!
Five years ago today I was hit by a carthat changed my life forever.
It seemed like a lifetime ago, but it also seems like it was yesterday. I was training for my first Ironman, and the training plan called for a 50 mile cycle to the Balmoral Running Races, where I was going to do the 5km and 10km, then cycle the 50miles home.
Within the 1st mile a car T-boned me at a roundabout, and the emergency surgery I needed couldn’t be performed until I had an empty stomach. And, as you can imagine, I had eaten a fair amount of porridge that morning to fuel me for the day ahead!
I didn’t react well to any pain medication, the top of my knee had been sliced clean off, and the paramedics had to sack Kyle as their assistant when he was shaking too much to hold my head still as they lifted me onto the spinal board…
Surgery went well and I was put in a cricket splint for as long as the stitches took to heal. I was in and out of hospital as my body healed too quickly over them, and also for infection. It wasn’t an easy recovery. Sister Emma was the one who came with me for these appointments as she loved the gruesome gory scars and wanted to take pictures!
Unfortunately, this superficial pain wasn’t the biggest obstacle. In the long few months I was in the splint, I went from training 20 hours a week to almost zero (I was in a wheelchair at ASV doing the assisted rowing machine for a few mins every other day if that counts), and I wasn’t given any medication to keep my blood flowing while inactive.
This led to DVT in my leg. I couldn’t feel anything as I was in bed most of the time, but this turned into a mass amount of PEs in my lungs.
That, I could feel.
It was like being stabbed in the back, but the emergency room shrugged it off as gallstones, and it took 3 consecutive visits to my GP (who was determined to find out the problem), before the PEs were confirmed and I was again admitted to hospital.
I was told I will probably never compete at a high level again, and will just manage to exercise for fun, because my lungs weren’t functioning like before, and my knee was pretty messed up.
Three months later, after buckets of tears, dozens of physio visits, thousands of knee bends, hours of trying to sit on my heals (this was the most painful thing I had ever done), weeks of sleepless nights, and a shed load of stubbornness, I crossed the line at Ironman Sweden and qualified for an age group slot at the Kona World Championships.
If you have read my blog since I started it in 2014, entitled “Deb Tris for Kona”, you know it was my dream to qualify for the age group worlds. Despite that set back, I surpassed that and qualified to be a professional Ironman, making the podium in professional fields just 3 years later (while working full time).
It has been amazing to look back on (what was once a daily!) blog, and it has been a phenomenal experience documenting my journey. It has taught me so much about myself and allowed me to recap on huge experiences to relive; whether anyone else reads it or not!
What I am trying to say is that I am actually grateful I was hit by a car that day. I don’t love how I have some horrible breathing days, how my immune system is now a lot weaker than prior to the accident, and how I had to stab myself with blood thinners every single day while pregnant, and for the 3 months after Logan was born. And I still do for long haul flights.
Those things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
But, it has made me a much stronger person who truly treasures every day. Being able to come out the other side of that means I can tackle anything. And it showed me who my true family and friends are. You mean everything to me!
Enough with the sentiment, I just get a little emotional every year on this day thinking about it. With this year marking 5 years, and the fact we now have Loges, I want him to appreciate how beautiful this world is. With Covid-19, I hope all of you are staying safe while also having a positive and optimistic mindset. When we get out of this, we should all aim to be the best people we can be, and live life to its fullest! This is a setback, but ultimately it should make us stronger.
I’m sorry it has taken so long… prior to Logan’s arrival, I figured he would nap all day and I could be a full time athlete with a spotless home and cooking extravagant exotic dishes on a daily basis. Boy, was I wrong!
What I did know from an early age was that I HAD to take my boys to Florida to make lots of memories as well as to take lots of photos of Logan in his infamous outfits (remember he was dressed as Winnie the Pooh at my 1st half marathonwhen he was 5 weeks old?).
A couple weeks after booking the holiday, Kyle shouts at me to tell me he has found a marathon the 2nd weekend we are there:
A couple hours’ later, we were entered and had organised a babysitter (don’t worry – numerous references, calls and a visit to their house was had in the lead up).
I must emphasise that we did not rest up, eat well etc the first week we were there. We walked probably 6+ miles each day around the parks/malls, drank copious goldfish bowl-sized glasses of margaritas, and ate our weight in buffalo chicken. What we did do was relax and just have fun with the race, which I genuinely believed really helped!
Prior to heading to Orlando, Lewis encouraged me to drop the cycling and swimming for a few weeks, just so I could get the mileage in order to complete the marathon (it was a tough experiment to get right, because too many miles would make my pelvis hurt, but too little meant no marathon), so I focused solely on running for maybe 4 weeks, topping out at 70 miles, including a 22 miler. Thankfully the weather wasn’t too bad before we left, so I could take Loges out in the buggy for hour+ runs, otherwise not sure I would have managed (he’s not the napping kind).
Anyway, race day came and we were both excited rather than nervous. It was a chance to see a new city, feel competitive again in a real race, and just see what we could do with no pressure. Lewis urged us to only give 90% so we could continue to train as opposed to taking a couple weeks’ off, which worked to a certain extent until both our bodies shut down and we were floored with a virus once we got home last weekend… so that coach tip also made us relax as we had no expectations.
A 7.30am start was great! Not up at a ridiculous time, but not taking up your full day! Everyone seemed really friendly and up for it, but the locals were all wearing loads of layers to keep on right up until the gun went off, whereas us Scotsmen were fine wearing the bare minimal while they played the national anthem.
The gun went off pretty soon after (can’t say either of us were ready for just how quickly after the national anthem it started), and off us marathoners went, along with the relay guys and the half marathoners (complicated to calculate where we were in the race!).
And man was it hilly! There wasn’t a flat stretch until 10km in, when the flat part was on a winding dog walkers path. You couldn’t use any momentum because of all the turns on those paths!
We didn’t hit a real flat until 12.5miles in, when we went around a lovely lake, which had a bridge we went over with actual ice on it! In Florida! My half way split was 1.28 which was a good number, I had been able to chat away until then (shout out to my new friend from Georgia!) but the hills did take it out of me, and a lack of gels/Gatorade at the stations were beginning to concern me (partly my fault because I wasn’t as loud as the Americans when shouting ahead to the volunteers with what I wanted!).
(it got pretty lonely out there… pretty though!)
The 2nd half was MUCH flatter – along an old railway line (hello DSL!) – where I saw Kyle on the out and back section. I forced him to high 5 me but as he was nearly 3 miles ahead at this point, he was in a worse state than me! It did give us both a boost (I was worried his hip wouldn’t let him complete the full distance, and he was pretty shocked I was leading the women’s race!) and at that point I was thinking I had less than a lunch hour run to go. My mind turned from “oh geez this is such a long way to go” to “wow 10km is nothing”.
Mile 24 was the LONGEST mile of my life. I was consistently hitting 6.45s but was convinced this was a 9minute mile. When my watch beeped at 7.05 I was shocked, but at the same time made me realise if I stay with this nice rhythm and relax I might still break 3 hours.
(why don’t pics ever show the hill – struggling up one of the last hills on the course)
With 1 mile to go I saw Kyle with Logan and Monica (THE nicest babysitter EVER!), made a joke to conceal my tears, and made my way up and down the final hill to finish in 2.58!!!! AND FIRST FEMALE!!! I won by 8 minutes and was told it was a new course record!
(I love my support team!)
I know my potential is better than a 2.58, however, given my preparation, our action packed schedule while we were in Florida, the course itself, diet, lack of sleep, my pelvic issues and – of course – just Logan in general, I am beyond thrilled!
Icing on the cake was that Kyle’s hip held up and he was 2nd in 2.32, and that I was interviewed.
When Logan was 5 weeks old, he went on his first plane to Geneva (he has now been on 6 planes!). Kyle had his A race of the year; the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, or UTMB for short.
He qualified as an elite runner, through his epic performances last year, and had trained as hard as he could have in the lead up to the race, given he had a son either arriving imminently, or in his arms!
In the end, he started off conservatively and, where he would usually pick it up, he actually struggled in the altitude and super steep alpine gradients and finished 116th and about 6 hours later than anticipated..! There were 900 DNFs in those 30C conditions, but we were all really proud that he didnt give up, and continued his struggle right to the finish line, finishing in 30 hours. Logan met him a couple of times, there were a lot of tears, and it was such a memorable 1st family trip (with Grandma and TRS Tom, too!).
Beautiful sunshine, the best spa we have ever been to, overindulging in French onion soup, a visit up to a height of 3,842m, a gondola trip to Italy, a vertical km, paragliding, craft beer, Tour de France climbs, cycling to Switzerland, luge runs, track sessions, epic trail runs, a stunning outdoor pool, breathtaking scenery, a day at Lake Geneva, and feeling very out of place with all the thousands of people in lycra, it was a trip we will never forget..!
A HUGE thanks to Grandma for coming with us (a massive help with a newborn!), to Tom for flying out just for the race, and looking after Kyle for 30 hours, and to Out N About buggies, who – without them – we would have struggled to get around Chamonix and its trails (we just popped the car seat in the adaptors and off we went! And it was so easy at the airport to dismantle!). We can’t wait for Logan to be big enough to go running with it!
Geez time flies when you have a wee one consuming all your energy – I thought maternity leave was going to be a massive holiday!
When Logan was 10 weeks old, I managed another half marathon, and another 2nd place female overall! Crathes was a heck of a blustery day, so the conditions were a lot harder than when I did Dyce, but the time was relatively similar, so progress has been made! I went a 1.28 which I am super proud with, not just because of the conditions, but because Logan was wanting to play the entire night before (he was smiling and panting away for hours…) and also because I was feeding him right up until 2 minutes to the start! No warm up for me, but the car was parked really far away from the castle, so Kyle helped me look discreet by a bench in the gardens… (and of course a bunch of tourists decide to choose that area to linger around and take photos as I was going – typical!).
Anyway, the following day I felt like I’d ran double the distance, but it was a lot of fun and I am loving challenging my body and essentially starting again and having new PBs! I still have the course record there, but I’m not sure I was even near it at the 12 mile mark yesterday, so don’t want to think like that! A massive well done to Kerry for another awesome 1st place, and to Kirsty and Fiona for babysitting Kyle and Logan while I was running!
The following week I had my first triathlon in over a year, and thought it apt to do it in the place I did my first ever triathlon, Huntly! I did one cycle outside on my TT bike in preparation, but the electric gears failed (I should have had it serviced after finding out I wouldn’t be riding for a while…) so the road bike it was! Thankfully, Total Endurance helped me massively with swapping over equipment on the day, as was Steve, the race organiser, who couldn’t have been nicer!
A sub-21 1500m swim (I’ll take that for only swimming up to 5km per week at the moment), a 1.02 40km cycle (I SUCKED on the hills but I have lived on a turbo for a year, and I was on a road bike), and a 42min 10km run (one or two brick runs plus not wanting to push the pelvis made for an enjoyable 10km that I may have even negative split!) made for a course record of 2.08 and a race I loved pushing myself in. And I had a smile on my face the whole way (Ok, apart from the swim…I need to train more!)!
I thought it might be a good idea now to write about my journey in pregnancy and the last 12 weeks after having a baby, sporting wise. Please note everyone is different and my experience seems to be very different to a lot of women (less than 2 hour labour, people at work not even realising I was pregnant etc etc) but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a walk in the park (or run, or cycle, or swim).
Oh, also, if you are a boy, you can stop reading now! Unless you are weirdly into this sort of stuff…! You can look at this cute picture instead:
So I didn’t really feel the whole 3 trimesters thing. The first maybe 8 weeks all I had was a sore chest area. Then it was all about the next 8 weeks. They were the WORST! The smell of coffee was DISGUSTING (and continued to be gross unless it was in flat white form). I didn’t want ANY fruit or veg, or anything else that sounded remotely healthy. I wouldn’t say it was a craving, because I crave these every year, but hot cross buns was my jam. A six pack from Tesco bakery next to work was an almost daily meal. Anything doughy sounded amazing! Oh, and also anything cheesy. So I had a LOT of pizza! Weirdly, Kyle joined in on these meals (perhaps not indicative to good race performances for him either!) despite his previous loathing of my hot cross bun addiction…
I found adding Berocca to my morning routine definitely helped, as well as drinking lots of fruit juice (I was usually thirsty but also didn’t like the thought of water). I know fruit juice isn’t great with all the sugar and missing fibre, but it was the best I could do at the time. I also drank a lot of milk, usually in flat white or hot chocolate form.
After those horrible 16 weeks (the worst week I had was when Kyle did his Wolds Way race. I think we both had a terrible weekend that weekend! I was only a few weeks along but was so bloated and no normal clothes fit me. I also couldn’t eat anything as I felt too full). Present day me would tell 1st trimester me not to be too hard on herself. Big deal if you feel gross for a couple weeks: go for a walk, get some fresh air, eat what you feel like, have a bath, sleep more, and just wear some comfortable clothes.
After the horrible patch, I gradually enjoyed my fruit and veg again (still hated the sound of coffee but, being a caffeine addict, mornings were terrible!), and – although I didn’t weight myself until the final few weeks just out of curiosity more than anything else – I topped the scales at 70kg if you’re interested), I could tell I was looking a little better in my face and limbs, and my skin and hair was a bit healthier. I seemed to be getting lots of compliments, which was bizarre to take in considering how terrible I felt in the first 4 months!
I think Morocco also really helped! Some vitamin D, spa days, good wholesome food, and lots of rest really made me feel amazing!
Ok so as for the “training” part… have a look on my Strava, but in short I tried to do something every day, even if it was a long hill walk while Kyle did hill reps (so we could high 5 lots!), or a 40 min swim (I did these most lunchtimes… Chris and Claire who I swim with every lunchtime at work encouraged me and made me want to go and have fun with them to break up my day!) Even if I went swimming in a lethargic mood, I knew I would at least get some banter and usually I ended up getting at least 2km in and going back to my desk in the afternoon feeling much MUCH better! Remember I couldn’t have coffee? The swim was my new drug!
If I physically couldn’t get out of bed earlier than I needed to for work, my swim was my workout, and I knew I could go back to bed after work having done something. If I could cycle in the morning, my go to was the GCN training videos on YouTube (if you haven’t seen them – check them out!). Because I wasn’t wanting to faff about loading Zwift (which is now my lifesaver post Logan!) at that time in the morning (and I didn’t want to know my power at that time, either!), these videos made me feel like I was training with people, so I pushed it more than if I were just pedalling away watching the Kardashians myself, and that also was a great way to start my day (again, since no coffee!).
Unfortunately, running was a no no. I had pretty bad pelvic girdle pain, which meant walking was sore, never mind turning it into a jog. I only ran when I felt ok, and it was always on the treadmill (much less impact than road, and I could stop when I wanted). IF the rare occasion came up when I thought “let’s give it a go”, I would usually do something like 10x1on/1off, and that would be enough for me to feel great. I never learned, because every day that I ran, I didn’t sleep at all, as lying down must have stretched the area that was already inflamed getting bigger in preparation for birth, and I had already spent most evenings sat up in bed, or giving up and going downstairs to drink a(nother) hot chocolate and play with the cat.
Sitting at my desk also brought a lot of pain, so work kindly gave me a stand up desk and, in the days where I REALLY didn’t feel like swimming, or if I had a meeting (which happens quite a lot around lunchtimes…), there was a special room where I could go and I did a YouTube pilates video. For someone who never looks forward to pilates and yoga, I looked forward to doing this video as it really stretched me out!
To summarise, I listened to my body but I was lucky enough that, although I had girdle pain, I could still do STUFF. And I am someone who loves breaking a sweat every day to make me feel human, particularly if I am sat at a desk all day! Although I felt great in the last few weeks (I didn’t grow too much, I was still in normal clothes, and I managed to come 3rd at the Portsoy 10km..!), I still had my struggles, but did what I could to not get down about it (attempting a swim just to get out the office, eating what my body wanted, forcing vitamins in whatever form I could, getting fresh air, or admitting defeat when my mind and body told me to!).
Oh, and my most proud moment of pregnancy after the Portsoy race, is swimming 4km maybe 12 hours before going into labour, and managing to tumble turn off every wall…!
If this has made zero sense to you (I feel I have just word vomited all my pregnancy feelings) please feel free to message me for any advice! I’m not sure I can help, but I know my comeback seems to be going quite well so far, and that people were quick to judge me when I was pregnant. One physio told me I was doing too much too close to due date that my body would be too tense and my abs wouldn’t want to “let go” of my baby, therefore my labour would be long and painful… it’s funny how many people have their opinions!
But anyway, if you listen to your body but try and do something every day (even just a stretch), I PROMISE you will feel much more like you!