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My World Record Attempt

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.

(if anyone wants proof that grown men do cry, check out episode 119 of TRS on any podcast platform)

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!

(I wasn’t allowed to touch the treadmill at all throughout the challenge. I also made Debbie use a haggis as a starting whistle. Photo cred Jasper Images)

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.

(2mins in. Feeling strong)

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.

(the support brought a smile despite all the pain)

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!

(photo thanks to Myles Edwards and the Gathimba Edwards Foundation)

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.

(the following day… walking backwards to the bathroom)

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.

Kyle x

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:

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Welcome to TRS Training!

 

Kyle here!

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 😊

 

Transform your biggest wishs into achievable goals!

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The Hardest Challenge of My Life!

Hi all, Kyle here!

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:

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KyleGreig

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!

Cheers,

Kyle

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5 Years Ago Today…

Five years ago today I was hit by a car that 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).

Since starting my blogging journey, Kyle and I have moved from city to country, bought our first pet (shout out to Princess Chewbacca), travelled the world (Lanzarote, Budapest, Ireland, Wales, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Prague, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Iceland, Bali, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands,Canada, ItalyMorocco, USA, France to name the majority!), got engaged and married, made and lost relationships, set national records, won national titles, changed jobs, had race successes and losses in the most beautiful settings, and now been given the best gift of all, our Logie Bear.

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.

Lots of love, Debbie x

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Tallahassee Marathon – 1st female, 6 months after a baby!

Well hello there!

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(marathons can really take it out of you…)

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 marathon when 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:

“Yeah, so?”

“Fancy it?”

“Absolutely not. Plus we have Logan, and no Grandma this time.

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!).

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(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.

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(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!

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(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.

 

 

For abc news.

 

 

On Superbowl Sunday.

 

 

#lifegoals

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Link can be found here: https://www.wtxl.com/sports/new-tallahassee-marathon-winners-come-from-around-the-world 

Thanks as always for reading and once I get these Florida pics online, there will be a wordless post coming up next with lots of baby spam, but this can keep you going for now!

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Better Late than Never..!

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!

 

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Another HM, a Triathlon and my Pregnancy Experience

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!).

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( https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/sport/other/1843265/outstanding-crathes-castle-half-marathon-performance-sees-runner-cross-line-with-73-seconds-to-spare/?fbclid=IwAR2zTFUjI7PdNJm5jirjlG-P6KW4WhNBIbarW55UB6YO5ReuK0j7KzIZJQs )

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:

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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!

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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.

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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…!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

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Dyce Half – a huge surprise with 2nd female!

Well he is 6 weeks old and wow it just feels like one loonnnnggggg day!! I can’t really remember what it was like without Logan, nor can I imagine what life would be like without him now! He is changing every day; as I write this I don’t think he has smiled yet, but he is definitely recognising his parents, grabbing to the point he could break a necklace, and his cry is WAY louder than his size would lead you to believe…!

 

On the week he turned one month old, I fancied a challenge and – since Kyle was running a 40 miler on the Saturday and a 20 miler the Sunday in his build up to UTMB – I thought Logan and I would meet grandma, do a parkrun and have a day of shopping, lunch, coffee, etc…

 

Well, Saturday morning came and Logan had other plans. To be honest, it was the first time I had to change my plans last minute and my A-type personality freaked out! I know now this is something I will have to accept, but I was actually looking forward to my little challenge. We still managed the other stuff, but not being able to do something really got to me, and I was a diva for it.

 

I returned home from our Grandma/Mummy/Son date (?!) and before even asking how Kyle’s ridiculous 6.5 hour mountain run went, I moaned to him about my morning, to which he replied “Dyce Half’s tomorrow”. I was entered about 15minutes later.

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(Logan with his silver medal!)

Now, if you have a look at my Strava, you won’t see much running. BUT I have managed to some form of activity nearly every day, and the majority of my “workouts” (I won’t call them training sessions yet!) have been making the most of the shorter amount of time I now have available. For example, at a weekend when I would do a long cycle, I have instead been doing an hour on Zwift with some serious power output. For any cyclists reading, my last FTP test was the week Logan was born and was 266W, but I’d quite like to see where I’m at now.

Anyway, I thought I would be able to complete a half, albeit with some pain but just take it easy if it was too much.

The day even started different to usual, when I had my regular pre-race coffee after feeding my prince:

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(Emma just got engaged – in Rome! – hence the mug!)

When we got there, I saw so many friends I hadn’t seen in ages (pregnancy/newbie to motherhood is not conducive to much of a running social life), and I loved catching up with them:

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(So glad my brutha from anutha mutha is back running again – he is horrendous chat when not running..!) 

Of course, competitor kicked in as soon as the gun went off, and a sub 6.30 mile was a silly idea to start my day…

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Kerry Prise shot ahead and won in a massive PB, while I had a fun cat and mouse game with Ali Matthews over the first couple miles, then did a surge to try and catch a guy in front who was taller than me and could help me in the wind (Ali is teeny so I would never get any help there 😉 …!). My watch wasn’t set for laps, but I got to the half way mark on for about a 1.28 and it was downhill with a tailwind home, so I was just praying that would help me finish. I saw Kerry coming the other way about a minute from the turnaround (it was out and back) and she was cheering me on (she must not have been working hard enough..!).

 

Also, the volunteers at the aid stations were INCREDIBLE! To be called an inspiration and that no one could believe I was in 2nd place exactly one month after having a baby made me teary-eyed because I genuinely didn’t expect the sheer amount of compliments I received! So thank you, running community, for being so supportive and positive and kind!

 

Despite the final mile feeling horrendous, I decided to stop for a rest wee kiss from Logie Bear with about 400m to go which totally cheered me up!

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(Quite literally, Logie Bear – loved those faces waiting for me!)

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A wee lap of honour around the football (or rugby?) field, I went through the finish line in 1.27.45 (2nd female) with a huge smile on my face! A massive thanks to Dino for letting me do a race I will remember forever! And not just because the spread of food at the end was incredible 😉 And for Mum surprising me at the finish!

(Thanks for the photos, Irina! Logan got all the ladies that day!)

I think Logan either missed all his girlfriends when we headed back to the car, or he was embarassed that his parents made him wear a Winnie the Pooh outfit to all their friends that morning:

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(grumpy bear)

Well, the joke was on him because he later peed all over his attire and the only spares we had with us made him look like an old lady…:

 

I will say I didn’t sleep much for a couple nights afterwards (remember the pelvic girdle pain I have – well that didn’t magically go away, and racing on it made the aftermath worse than labour!). I was “sleeping” sitting up with an ice pack on my fairy. TMI? Deal with it, because I have to.

Anyway, on Saturday we go to Chamonix for our first family vacay (Grandma included, because I need a drinking buddy while Kyle runs 103miles with 10,000m of elevation (note: no typo there!) and Tom, because he is Kyle’s TRS brother) so please please please follow him and cheer him on! This is THE biggest race of his life, and I am already so proud of him because of all the training he has done in the lead up, all while working ridiculous hours and while being an amazing Daddy to Logie Bear! The race starts at 6pm on the 30th and he is in the elite field.

 

As for me, I don’t have any goals set as yet, but I still really love my challenges and getting workouts in, either before Kyle or Logan wake up, or when Kyle gets back from work. They really make me feel human, so I’ll keep doing that until sleep deprivation takes over!

 

Thanks again for all the tremendous support and hopefully the next post will be Kyle recapping on the best race of his career!

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Meet Logan!

Where does the time go?!! Logan Alexander Chase Greig is now 4 weeks’ old on Saturday!! He has changed our lives completely, and I already can’t remember what life was like before him. Apart from thinking I had WAY more time in the day!

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So let’s rewind to a couple weeks before he appeared; to the Portsoy 10km (because this is a sporting blog after all…!). Basically, I was 8.5ish months pregnant, was able to run about twice a week (pelvic girdle pain is horrendous) and was having serious FOMO re running (despite still swimming and cycling), so I asked Kyle if we could do it. He agreed provided I promised to take my time. Long story short, I started at the back, the competitiveness person I thought I had lost kicked in at the big hill in the middle, I started picking people off, and managed to negative split on a super-hot day to finish 3rd place overall female in a time of 43 minutes…! It wasn’t pretty, but I felt in control the whole way and loved being out there “racing” again! And the icing on the cake was that when we got home, I was surprised by my work friends at the door who whisked me away for a surprise BABY SHOWER!!!! I was not expecting it at all and it was a phenomenal day!!

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Ok so back to the important part; the baby.

I had been working from home that week, answering emails and menial admin tasks, but nothing big as my handover had been pretty thorough and my managers were amazing and wanted me to be relaxing come July, so I had a great time getting some fresh air (and a tan in the process!), swimming nearly every day, and finalising my “nesting” phase!

On the Friday (the day before), I swam 4km (tumble turns included!) and visited my friend Ange and her newborn for coffee, and did some gardening. Emma came round in the evening for a curry, and I decided to opt for a spicy one to see if that really does kick start labour (I am a korma girl usually!). We played the playstation and watched some stand up on Netflix, and she went off to pick up her partner Barry just before midnight (FYI that is the latest I had ever stayed up in pregnancy, but it was just such a fun chilled night!).

Fast forward 2 hours. Just after 2am, I wake up to a rush of water, run to the bathroom and immediately knew my waters had broke. I had to shout Kyle’s name three times before he awoke from his slumber and he was confused (no change there) and started googling how long it takes for contractions to start after your waters break. I think we both knew it could be a good day or so, but by the time he hit enter on the ipad, I was having my first contraction!! Animalistically, I picked the position of crounching in all fours as my go to, and just as I started getting ready to get my stuff together, I had another. I went to brush my teeth and got another one. They were less than 4 minutes apart. Kyle phoned the hospital (I had to go to Aberdeen because I am classed as high risk with all my health issues) but the midwife said as it was our first baby, I should just stay put for a couple hours then think about heading in. We ignored that advice and got straight into the car.

I couldn’t sit down in the car! Originally, I tried to get into a praying position, facing the rear window, but the seatbelt alert came on, so I had to strap up. I was leaning on my arm the whole way because any pressure in “that” area was torture. I also found peace in a lipbalm I grabbed as leaving the house, because I had remembered being told if I pack anything in my hospital bag, make sure it is lip balm… anyway, I used that as a stress ball (!) and grabbed it every time I had a contraction (which was now one per mile!). Let me tell you, Aberdeenshire really has some horrendous pot holes which are made all the more evident when you are in that amount of pain!

Kyle was incredible and in between each contraction, told me how excited he was and how much he loved me, but all I did was tell him to shut up. He also tried to hold my hand, and I threw it away! We even made a “push playlist” on Spotify (!) but that never got played. I had to be in complete silence while Kyle drove well over the speed limit to get us there on time!

As we arrived at the hospital, he ran to try and find me a wheelchair, while I was on all fours on the pavement. I then Walking Dead zombie walked my way through the hospital corridor (where I had another 2) and was found on the floor by a couple midwives, who guided me into the Triage unit to assess me.

Well, I was not able to lie on the bed, because as soon as I got there, I had to push! They couldn’t strap the monitors around my stomach (to check baby’s heart rate etc) because they were coming too frequently, but when they did “the check” it’s head was right there that they had to get me to a room asap!

And…less than half an hour after arriving at the hospital, at 4.08am, there he was! I had a wee bit of gas and air, but didn’t really like it, so just used Coach Lewis’ hypno-advice (I went to visit him a few weeks’ prior, as he is a GP by day (superhero coach by night) and has done multiple hypnobirthing sessions, so when I offered I thought I had nothing to lose!) and zoned out. I felt so calm yet powerful and what a rush of emotion when you have finished and you’re begging to find out the gender (it felt like an eternity before Kyle told me we had a boy!)!

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So the best achievement we have ever had to date is little Logan! He came on the 6th of the 7th, weighing 6lb7oz…so that’ll be easy to remember! So far he has slept right through the night, waking up once or twice for an hour or so (which we are told is great) but when he screams…he SCREAMS. He sees away milk like a rugby player on a night out and his facial expressions are HILARIOUS! He climbed a corbett at 10 days old at Lochnagar, and has been up Bennachie and some other nearby hills a couple times…he seems to be loving the trails just like his Daddy (not so much his Mummy!)!

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Logan, when [we make] you read this blog, you will realise [if you don’t already] that your parents are nutters, but we love you and can’t wait to take you along on all our adventures, and go along with you on your adventures! We look forward to seeing what you can achieve and are loving this journey so far!

 

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Mozart 100 – Take 2!

Salzburg last year was bitter sweet. It was a stunning place, the people were so friendly and welcoming, I was treated like a celebrity and the atmosphere of the race, and the race itself, was just unfaultable. However, I had a horrible injury, (I was opting for the expensive bus even 2 stops because it was so painful), I was still a “rookie” elite ultrarunner, Debbie couldn’t be at the finish as she was in Germany for her own pro race, and (although re-reading this, I don’t know why, but) I was slightly disappointed in just missing top 3 (the top 4 were separated by just 8 minutes!).

This year felt so different; there was the familiarity in staying at the same elite hotel, catching up with friends from last year, knowing my bearings around town, not having to haul around a bike box, and not being injured for once (apart from a forever-niggling piriformis)! Furthermore, this race was a B race as great preparation for the UTMB in only a couple of months, so there was less pressure on myself and all I wanted out of it was to gauge fitness and learn some lessons for August. It was a great tune up, given the distance, time on feet and elevation, and just to make it extra challenging, the gods above decided to make it 30+C!! For a pale ginger Scotsman it was not looking good for me to better last year’s result! Not to mention the field was incredibly stacked with Pau Kapell making an appearance (he won the entire UTWT series last year!).

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Instead of being intimidated or nervous, I took it in my stride (literally) and was more excited just to see where I was at and race for the last time as a child-less man. Although it was a nice feeling whenever it was getting tough, just thinking about next month being so satisfying and rewarding – no sh1tty race could define who I am as a person or future father, again relieving more pressure..!

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I arrived on Thursday in Vienna airport, got some lunch that I ate at a park near the train station (beautiful place!), chilled for an hour, and then got the train to Salzburg.

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I knew where the hotel was, so a ten minute walk later I was checking in, unpacking, and changing for a wee shakeout run. I was tired (it was a red eye flight from Edinburgh) but just excited to be there! The temperature was intense, but I prepared by hydrating and eating regularly. The elite’s meal was in the evening, so I headed there for another warm welcome from the organisers Claudia and Josef, and a delicious Austrian meal of pork and sauerkraut to kick start the event! I was sat with some phenomenal runners, but they were all so friendly and I actually felt like one of them!

After the meal and a couple of beers, I wandered back to the hotel with my new friends and tried to sleep for as long as possible! When I woke up on Friday, it was too hot to stay in the room! So I did another little jog, recced the “Stairway to Heaven”, took some selfies, and got an ice cream in the town square. Once the bib was picked up, the entertainment began and then an early night before awaking at 3am (not a typo) for the race.

The morning was relatively straightforward. The hotel put on a great carb heavy breakfast at 3am, and I headed to the start line about a mile away at 4am. The gun went off at 5am (I may or may not have had to sprint from the portapotty as my warm up…) and off we went.

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Starting off VERY conservatively, I was in about 40th place at 10km. Guys shot off at 6 minute miles and even at my 7ish minute miles I was so far back! We had a very long way to go. Run Seanie Run (my new Irish friend and social media celebrity I had had pizza with the previous night) ended up interviewing me at the 6 mile point just asking why the hell I was so far back, then admired my composure and off I went.

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From then on, as the temperatures soared, I continued to pick people off, take fuel every 20 minutes, and stop at every burn I could find to soak my cap and buff to trick my body into feeling cool. I think it worked, because I hadn’t prepared for just how insane this heat would be!

 

I also made the decision to bail out of using my new poles. For one, I hadn’t practiced enough, so would not be utilising them efficiently, but also, they were going to add weight that I didn’t need for 110km when I would be putting off using them. HOWEVER, if you have followed the Mozart 100 race on Facebook, you might have seen an “interesting” video of me with an “interesting” set of alternative poles which I did use going up one of the mental climbs towards the end… I’ll just leave this here… [A MUST WATCH!]

There was an additional climb added this year, higher than all the other climbs, and right at the end, and it really killed me! I was in 4th and was really tiring. A combination of heat and just how long I’d been running for had hit me, but I found that smiling was actually the game changer in making me feel better! Having banter with the volunteers (who were incredible!) really raised my spirits and kept me going! Also, I am very glad I recced the Stairway to Heaven because, after doing that monstrosity of a climb, the stairs really weren’t that bad as I had remembered (for those of you who are local, they were like the rocky part at the top of Bennachie).

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Coming into the town centre, I had settled for 5th place, but it turned out a Japanese guy took a wrong turn, missed the biggest summit completely, and came out ahead of me, and so was DQ’d! 4th again but in a much better place mentally and physically!

I did NOT end up in hospital this year and, instead, was treated to all you can eat food and beers in the town festival afterwards with my new ultrabuddies!

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Recovery since then has been some walking, stretching, one spin class and LOTS of eating and drinking. Thankfully, zero toenail issues or blisters (Salomon Ultra Pro is what I chose for my feet in case anyone is wondering about my shoes), and the chaffage was diminished in the shower afterwards by applying a further coating of Vaseline just in case…!

And when I landed back in Edinburgh and crashed and Best Man Mattie’s, I had a lovely surprise waiting for me at midnight!

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I have been very thankful Debs encouraged me to go – I had lost my mojo for a while with not being able to race as much, and having all the focus on one race, as well as forcing myself to train out of my comfort zone – at night time, for example – and really just wanting to spend time with Debbie. Luckily, she has been a phenomenal pregnant lady (she has not forced me to say this!) as she seems to still have so much energy (even at 36 weeks!), is training, or “exercising” herself, and has had no hormonal strops (any different to usual!). She has been motivating me to get out there as opposed to playing the P-card, but trust me I know I owe her so much when this baby comes and when I have finished (and hopefully smashed!) the UTMB!

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(My present from the organisers definitely brought a tear to my eye..!)

Another huge thanks must go to my coach Lewis Walker, who has been hugely instrumental in believing in my potential and although some lessons before UTMB, I must admit I am feeling much more confident that I can perform well in August!

It is such a great event and I would encourage anyone to do it! There are different distances for all abilities and I will definitely be back!

 

For anyone who wants to hear more about the race, please stay tuned for this week’s episode of Tartan Running Shorts!

 

 

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