Thursday, 21 February 2013

Winter training

I've been busy over the winter training for my two target races for the first half of 2013, the Deeside 33 , and the Highland Fling.

I ran the Deeside 33 for the first time in March. It was my first ultra-marathon and I really enjoyed it. I'm really looking forward to getting back up to Aberdeen to see everyone again in a few weeks.

There are 9 runners from my club doing it this year so I've had lots of company on my long runs which has been great.

Finishing my first ultra marathon earlier this year.

The Highland Fling will bring a whole new challenge that I've not had before in my running career. At 53 miles in length it's much longer than any race I've ever done but it's also run over the lower half of the West Highland Way so the course profile will be extremely tough with 15,000 ft of ascent/descent and 2 hills over 1,000 ft.

Highland Fling elevation profile

I've managed to get some good training in over the last couple of months despite the miserable weather. In 2013 so far I've completed 5 training runs of over 18 miles including a 26 mile run a couple of weeks ago.

I'm planning a second 26 mile run this Saturday followed by a day off on Sunday to go out to see Ireland Vs Scotland in the 6 Nations Championship. Ireland haven't done very well here in Edinburgh over recent seasons so hopefully we'll get a better result this time round.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Marcothon is an annual running event held in December each year. It began in 2009 when a Scottish runner, Marco Consani, challenged himself to run every day in November. His wife, Debbie, decided to follow this by running every day in December, and to pay tribute to her husband's idea, she called it Marcothon. She posted it on her blog and she attracted other runners willing to take part.

Now in it's 4th year it's a staple of the winter running scene in Scotland and beyond. It's easy to keep up with everyone's progress either via the website,  a Facebook group, or an account on Twitter.

The rules are pretty basic. You must run a minimum of three miles or 25 minutes - whichever comes first, every day in December. There are no prizes, just a personal challenge to get up and run every day for a month.

I decided to take part this year after seeing a club mate, Mike Newton, do it last year. He got a real boost from it personally and he managed to run 170 miles in the month. That's more mileage than I've ever managed to do in a single month so I thought it would be of benefit to me as I attempt to run some longer ultras in 2013 and also to inspire me to get out for a run on those days where I normally wouldn't feel up to it.

UPDATE: I managed to run for 16 days in a row before I had to stop due to injury. I ran 97 miles in that time. I really enjoyed it but I was pretty worn out by the time I stopped on Day 16.

I'd never run more than 7 days in a row before so it was a good achievement even if I didn't complete the whole event.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Walking in Edinburgh - Cammo Estate

We went for a walk for a few hours through Cammo Estate on Saturday, followed by an early tea in the Cramond Brig Inn. 

The Cammo estate is situated in the North west of Edinburgh, nestled between the City Bypass and the Queensferry Road alongside the River Almond.

It's hard to believe to look at it's present ruined state, but Cammo Estate was once one of the grandest houses in Edinburgh. The house was built for John Menzies in 1693, and the surrounding parkland was laid out between 1710-26 by Sir John Clerk of Penicuik. Cammo is thought to have been the inspiration for the "House of Shaws" in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel "Kidnapped".

Local stories say the house fell into disrepair in more recent years with the owner living in a caravan within the grounds and the house given over to his dogs. The house was bequeathed to the National Trust for Scotland in 1975 but, in 1977, the house was torched twice by vandals. The house was considered unsafe and was reduced to its external ground floor walls. 

In 1980 the City of Edinburgh Council was gifted the estate and declared it a Wilderness Park. The Council now maintain the grounds and operates a ranger service. 

The grounds are lovely to walk through, particularly this time of year with all the fallen leaves. Make sure you bring your boots or wellies though as it gets a bit muddy in places. We walked out of the grounds and along by the Almond river down to the Cramond Brig Inn for something to eat. A nice afternoon's walking in Edinburgh.

Ruins of the main house

Having a break

Mum and the girls in matching poses


Smallest first

Hanging on for dear life

This was as far as Norah would go along the branch

Norah losing her wellingtons as usual

Guess who's football went in the ornamental pond and had to be rescued

The football was held onto tightly after that

Inside Cammo Tower, lots of pigeon poop everywhere

Norah posing in front of Cammo Tower with the ruined house in the background

Lizzie at the kissing gate

At the kissing gate

Ordering a well deserved bite to eat after our walk

Stop, Look, Listen, Think - Road Safety Awareness

The girl's school had a road safety awareness showcase last week which we went along to. Each class had a different slot through the day, ours was at 9:45.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Being published

Exciting times this week as Lizzie got a letter saying one of her stories was being included in a Young Writers Anthology and my first article appeared in MADE magazine.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Loch Ness Marathon Review

The Loch Ness marathon is a race I've heard many good things about in the past and one that has been on my "to do" list for a while. When I made the decision to step up the number of races I was going to do this year Loch Ness was an obvious candidate for an autumn marathon.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Triplets on film and TV

This week sees the news that Hollywood has officially run out of new ideas as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito are reportedly in talks to reprise their roles in the 1980's hit comedy Twins, this time with Eddie Murphy poised to join them as a long lost triplet.

I thought it would be fun to look at a few of the better known examples of how triplets have been portrayed on television and film over the years.