Vlog #1

I like making short videos and thought it might be fun to vlog the next 6 months both for posterity and the interest of others (if your interested in such things).


YiR – 2017

Wow, to my surprise 2017 was my most runningest year ever. I expected things to tail off with Angus being born in the summer but it seems consistent commuting on foot is key!

Running: 2872km

Cycling: 2094km

Despite a new marathon and 10k PB I am most pleased at getting a clean run of the Fling Race this year. My first attempt a couple of years ago was a pleasingly keen time but marred slightly by a missed turn and some bushwhacking to get back on course, I definitely had some unfinished business. I had a strong start to the year with consistent long running at the weekends but fell at the first hurdle, literally, when I slipped during the Glentress Trail Marathon and opened up my knee requiring some stitches and almost three weeks before I could get back to work. Clearly, managed to retain some fitness as I managed a good run at the John Muir Ultra. This was three weeks before the Fling and so just enough time for some confidence inspiring routes and a brief taper. I enjoyed my experience at this years Fling and could take many positives and lessons from it. Getting under 10 hours is a box ticked but there will still be some time to found out there in future years.

A year of two halves in a sense, Pre-Angus and Post-Angus. He was born mid-Summer and has prompted a re-examining of my motivations, capabilities and potential. People talk about training smart to maximise gains by the workouts done and the extra sessions fitted in around the sides of daily life and that’s slowly the realisation I’m coming to.

See you in 2018


MiR – December 2017

Running: 177km

Cycling: 72km

It was nice to back things off in December and not feel obliged to do anything exercise related. No guilt here for consuming a bonus mincemeat pie!

There was the 7R’s race at the begining of the month which heralded a new course PB for myself.

I didn’t partake in the Marcothon this year, it’s been fun in the past but I felt I did enough the rest of the year and cover enough distance the rest of the week that I deserve (require) at least a couple of days off at the weekend! Plenty of family and friends were taking part and it was fun to watch them revelling in the crisp clear days and suffering on the days when it was miserable and dark.

I was pleased to be offered a place in the 2018 West Highland Way Race and spent some of the month mulling over training plans for the following year. This was particularly fun as it’ll have to fit in around some travelling earlier in the year. But, hey, I wanted a challenge that would shift my perspective a little with regards to what’s possible and what matters and that’s what i’ve got!

We were spending Christmas with my parents in-law in Aberdeenshire, I managed a couple of runs out up Glen Tanar and around the local hill and trails.

And with that the year came to close and a new one dawned…


7R’s Half Marathon

Held at the beginning of December when the weather can be a little fickle, with extremes of seasonal conditions having been experienced in the past, this year was a cold but bright day bringing firm conditions underfoot with minimal mud and the potential for some fast racing.

I’m a big fan of the route which encompasses some good trails, some ups and downs and plenty of variation in surface.

I live close enough that an easy spin on bike brought me up to the registration in good time and I managed to catch up with some folk while waiting to start.

A swift start as usual and I made sure I settled into a good pace before the first climb, exponential. Once into the hills I could relax a bit and enjoy Green Cleugh, which winds between the steep sides of Black Hill and Hare Hill before coming out at The Howe and the top of Loganlee Reservoir.

There were a few bodies ahead of me but I was happy with my effort and keen to save a bit to work hard up through Phantoms Cleugh. I cruised past Loganlee and Glencourse before heading up Phantoms. It was a bit greasy underfoot but nothing that some careful foot placement could negate.

Upon descending Puke Hill to Bonaly I had closed the gap to a couple of gents ahead of me and settled in with them past Torduff. Upon cresting the nippy wee climb up to Clubbiedean I felt obliged to take a turn at the front but immediately found myself out in front and creating a gap.

I was happy with this and with about 6km to go felt I could work a bit harder till the finish. There was the odd glance behind but unless someone had a massive kick in them I knew i’d be fine.

1:31:44 for 7th place a surprising improvement of 3mins over my previous years attempt.

Once again there was a fine looking spread hosted at the Youth Vision cottage around the open fire, a great venue post race! All that remained was to coast back down the hill for a second lunch.

Solving a puzzle.

My phone beeped on Sunday afternoon to say an email had arrived. I knew the West Highland Way Race ballot results were going to be announced at some point that day and I saw the subject line. I raised a finger to pause my wife midway through a question. I’d been successful in the ballot and had an invitation to enter the race.

There was no dancing round the room of jumping with joy just a small burst of elation followed by some butterfly’s in my stomach.

Anti-climactic stuff perhaps?

I’ve been thinking about this race for a while, about alternative plans for another race should I not get offered a place, about how the following six months might play out should I get a place. I had plans of plans.

So, now that I’ve been offered a place and grabbed the opportunity with both hands I just need to toe the line at 1am on the 23rd of June next year.

But, I also need to flesh out how to get myself to a state in which to make it an honest attempt at the race.

…and that is the puzzle that needs to be solved.

Ask me on the 24th of June if I found a solution.

MiR – October 2017

Running: 319km

Cycling: 233km

November kicked itself off in fine form with a good mornings effort at the Edinburgh Mens 10k. At a time when I don’t have any specific goal it’s nice to know I can still churn out a satisfying time.

Trotcommuting continued unabated throughout the month as I watched the progression towards the winter solstice via the early morning darkness. As I write this in early December, I now don’t even get a rewarding sunrise but that should all start to change in a few weeks.

This is my current reading list. This pile sits on our coffee table and I dip in and out of them during the evenings. It doesn’t include what’s on my kindle that sits beside my bed. I’ve decided to give the kindle a break and try and put a dent in this stack.

You can enter the ballot for the West Highland Way Race during November. The results of the ballot should be announced some time mid-December… Stay tuned…

Verbalising a Goal

Scottish ultra runner, James Stewart wrote a short series of articles on his blog entitles Friday Thoughts. The first of these articles dealt with the concept that mindset is essential to achieving goals. One aspect of this is that the verbalisation of a goal can be important as it shifts your perspective of it from something that previously existed in your mind, your imagination to something that now exists in the real world.

Despite this merely being an entry into the ballot it still verbalises my intent to do this race. With only a week to go until the ballot window closes we’ll soon find out those who will get a chance to have a crack at the West Highland Way race in 2018.

Fingers crossed.