One Week To Go

One week.  In exactly one week I will be putting all my training to the test and taking on the biggest physical challenge I’ve done.

So how have I spent my last weekend before the big event?  One final long swim? A long ride followed by a long run?  Some strength work?

Nope.  None of that.

I’m hungover!

I’ve done absolutely nothing today.  In fact, I only got out of bed at about half 4.  (Before that it was just trips back and forth to the bathroom to throw up.  Yup, I was sick.  Several times). I went out last night with a few people from work for pizza and I ended up dancing the night away.  When I’m usually fast asleep in bed dreaming of the route I’m taking the next day on the bike/running I was having a dance off with a beer in my hand.

And my god am I paying for it today.

No regrets though.  It was exactly what I needed.  To let my hair down and relax.  Is one week before the race a good time to do it? I don’t know, I will have to get back to you on that one.  But right now? Yeah – it was.

Strangely enough my other half has said nothing about it.  No moans, no grumping, no comments about how we were supposed to be swimming in the Loch and he had a bike ride to do.  Nothing.  So he either knew just how much I needed it or………. something is up his sleeve.

And right enough, when I eventually made it in to the kitchen about an hour ago for a glass of water and painkillers, up on the board was his training plan for a race he’s just signed up to in August.  

But it’s ok.  Once Ironman is done – in 1 week – I can (and I should) relax my training.  Step back a little to give my mind and body a rest and to give him more opportunity to step it up.  

Will that happen? Maybe.  Ha ha.  It might last one week, possibly two.  I will let you know.

One thing I do know though…….

I’m never drinking again.

Ironman Training 

‘May the odds be ever in your favour’


Well that’s not really happening right now is it!

After Fridays fall then Sundays ‘defiant’ half marathon (yes I can do this, I’m fine, the distance isn’t an issue, oh no wait, the pain!) I’ve had a rather quiet week so far.

Running is very difficult as the movement hurts my cheek a bit too much.  At most I’ve done the odd mile on the treadmill to keep me from going insane but I’ve spent the entire time gurning like your grandfather and checking every two seconds it’s not started bleeding again.  Good form it is not my friend.

I managed a session in the pool – which was one of those where I had to guilt myself in to going – and did an ok 2000m.  My swim buddy bailed on me because of the rain and a heavy weekend but I had a set written on my hand – and I made him feel suitably bad the next day. 

I also managed an open water session at Loch Ore again.  However this time the wind was against me and it was incredibly choppy.  At one point I was at the second buoy and every time I looked up – oh yes, my face was actually in the water! – I was getting further and further back from it.  I persevered though but again the third lap was very much a ‘force yourself’ lap.  Had Joe been finished his run I would have quit at 2 laps.  It did make me feel better to hear the stronger swimmers complaining of how hard it was though.  


Any form of weights, pull ups, push ups or even some yoga has been completely off the cards this week so far.  My hand has turned a lovely shade of black and blue (which I’m taking to mean it’s getting better) and reminds me quite often it’s still not quite right.  So it’s been impossible to apply any pressure on it what so ever.

So that leaves me with only one thing I can comfortably do – and it’s the one thing that landed me in this broken bodied state in the first place – cycling. 

I’ve stuck to the spin bike as we appear to be in monsoon season right now, not keen to have another crash I thought it the sensible option.  I’ve tried following it up with a run but as I said it’s still too painful on the cheek so thats been limited to a mile.    I’m dealing with it all not too bad though to be fair.  I mean, I haven’t hurt anyone (yet, however there have been a few moments that have involved clenched fists).  There have been moments I’ve gazed longingly out the window desperate to go for a proper run, U2’s With or Without You playing over and over in my head…..

But I’m ok.  I’m dealing with it.

I may have had to look the other way when I’ve driven past someone running down the street, getting their fix, wondering when I’m going to get mine, cautiously trying not to swerve in to them out of jealousy…..

Honestly, I’m fine.

In all seriousness I should be back to running properly again by Saturday.  And even though I’m working I can still get out for my 5 miles at lunch time – regardless of wind or rain I’m running!

Then it will only be 3 weeks until event day.   3 weeks to get that last long ride in.  That last open water swim.   That last long (ish) run.  

Plenty time to change the nappy as I will be well and truly ‘filling ma breeks’ by then! 

Is it Saturday yet?

Scotlands Toughest

What’s top of your ‘to do’ list when you have your first proper crash off a bike? Nothing? Sounds logical.  A half marathon? Probably not.

However…  My legs still worked so I thought I would see how it went.  It was never going to be an easy race but I suppose what happened on the bike just didn’t help really.

So yes.  I took on the toughest half marathon in Scotland (because you know, why do an easy one?) and gave it my all.  

Genuinely.  I collapsed in a heap at the end and didn’t care what I looked like.

Obviously this was a championship race – if it’s hard it’s on the clubs list, sadists, the lot of them – so I was keen to at least try and finish.  It was meant to be a hot day so shorts and vest it was.  With sunglasses that didn’t cover the hole in my face even slightly.  I would never make a good celebrity with my crap disguises.  As we grouped together for a team photo (scrap book must have) the heavens opened.  I was kneeling down, already stiff and in pain, and I was not happy.  For some reason everyone else in the club found the weather funny and laughed.  I did not.  I glared at the photographer (because obviously this was all his fault) before refusing to look anywhere but the ground.  Admittedly, the photo is not my best.


I then ran under a tree with a few others for some shelter.  We chatted and I was told I was currently top of the leader board.  Well that made me smile! Well, half smile.  The left hand side of my face still doesnt move so I probably looked like a demented villain but it gave me a little boost.  It may only be because not many have done a marathon this year yet but yeah, I have screen shotted that bad boy! 

On to the race.  It instantly starts up hill.  

And doesn’t stop.

For 11 miles!

How can you run UP hill for 11 and only run 2 miles downhill yet still end up back at the start???

Sadists.  I’m telling you!

The first few miles were ‘as expected’.  Tough, but I managed one foot in front of the other.  The sun came out as soon as the shower passed so I took water at every station, grateful there were a few on this route! There were some very chirpy marshalls too. ‘Go, on, you’re doing great’ they shouted.  Which was sweet.  But I knew I looked like death.

My cheek hurt so much every time I very briefly went down a hill.  My left knee and hips felt like they were grinding and at one point I stopped to walk as I drank my water.  Derek went past me.  ‘Come on Ella, I’m using you as my pacer’ he said.  ‘Don’t do that unless you want to be last!’ I shouted after him as he disappeared in a cloud of dust.

I stopped again at about 9 miles to walk it off and my ‘second voice’ as I’ve come to call it started up. 

‘Why did you do this?  What are you trying to prove? And to who?!’

‘Whom.  It’s to whom are you trying to prove something’.

‘Don’t try and correct me! You’re not gaining anything by doing this you know.  You should have had a rest day, let your body recover’.

‘I’m fine.  I can do this.  I just need to finish. I don’t care about the time’.

‘Clearly you don’t because you are walking during a running race’.

Ah man I’m walking! Get a move on! I had gotten lost in my thoughts and had walked for a good minute at least.  Whoops!

I found my steam again and kept pushing one foot in front of the other.  Eventually I reached 11 miles.  And eventually I reached the start of the promised 2 miles downhill.  It was just a shame I couldn’t really run hard down this section as my face now felt like it had been smacked a hundred times with a bag of bricks.

Not just one brick.  A bag of bricks.

I resolved to write a very strongly worded letter of complaint to the roadrunners committee about their choice of races.

I tried to smile at the photographer but this race just wasn’t my most ‘gracious’.  On a good day I would like to think I’m a 7.  You know, like a good tv character that’s not the lead but gets her fair share of lines.  Today was not a good day.  Today was definitely a 2 at most.  I was the body in the gutter that had been electrocuted just as the wind changed and that was it.

I’m not posting the photo.

Just at the final stretch there were a few roadrunners who had very wisely chosen not to run this route.  ‘This is so painful’ I cried as I crawled past.  They just laughed that knowing laugh.


Across the line and I was handed my bottle of water and banana.  I found a large group of roadrunners who had finished about an hour earlier and just collapsed down on the grass.  ‘I’m just going to lie here for a minute’ I managed to whisper as I rocked back and forth on the floor.


All jokes aside this is a great race.  Fantastic scenery and the most challenging route I have ever done.  I just wasn’t fully fit for it, but I knew that.  I’m pleased I still miraculously came in under 2 hours even though it was a full 10 minutes over my PB on this distance.  I’m paying for it today though.  I did nothing on my lunch break at work.  Nothing.  Not even a walk.  

But I did take a selfie in my car.


I’m not ready to commit to saying I would do it again next year.  Depends how competitive I get I suppose ha ha.  Maybe ask me when I’ve been able to run again. 

4 weeks and counting until Ironman 70.3.

Face Plant

‘I’ve signed you up for a charity cycle’ – text received from Joe.

Cool, sounds fun, I’m up for that.

Keyline was the company that had organised it to raise money for Prostate Cancer and Joe was a regular customer in there.  They knew he liked cycling so asked if he wanted to join them.  He asked if I could come along and signed us up for day 3 of their 4 days.  Loch Lomond to Fort William – roughly 80 miles.

We met up with the group at 8:30am.  There was only one other female (Hayley) but that didn’t really bother me.  Everyone introduced themselves and after seeing the extent of the sun burn on a couple of them I gladly accepted the offer of the sun cream!  The brief was simple (even for me) – we were cycling on the A82 heading to Fort William. Straight road.  Easy.


We set off and man it was difficult trying to figure out what position to put myself in.  Do I push? Do I do a comfortable speed? Do I hang back with Hayley and keep her company? Oh my word the pressure!  

But…. oh my word… instantly the views were gorgeous.  We were going along Loch Lomond and I couldn’t resist a photo or 2.



The road was bumpy in places and about 3 miles in one of the guys hit a kerb.  A small bump but a bump none the less.  On to the road and it was a lot smoother but quite busy.  At 15 miles it was decided the next part was too dangerous for a big group of cyclists as it was full of twists and turns with very few passing places for the impatience cars and vans.  The bikes were loaded in to one of the support vehicles and the riders went in the mini bus behind.



A few miles down the road and we all got out and got our bikes.  Cue fall number 1.  I stupidly tried to clip in whilst pushing up a gravel path and promptly fell over – slow motion of course.  No biggie though.  It happens.

I decided to stick back with Hayley for a wee while and started chatting.  She was doing all 4 days and had the attitude of ‘I will get there when I get there’.  4 days for someone who only really cycled to and from work was a bit of a difference! 

Glancing down I noticed my handle bar was bent.  Oh you’re kidding.  How could a simple fall like that have bent my handle bars?  I was going to have to see if I could get this fixed.  I shouted to Hayley I was going to try and catch up with Joe and see if he could sort it.  ‘See you soon’ she said.  I put my foot down and pedalled harder.  

It was busy but it was ok.  I see another from the group just in front of me.  As I began to catch up with him I see a large sunken drain in the road.  I turn to my right to make sure I have space to go round and I’m met with a van so close to my face I could have stuck my tongue out and licked it.  I swing my head back round but the gust from the van pushes me straight in to the hole.  As I bump out of it I throw myself to the left and away from the road.  The force of the bump has me flying over the handle bars.  I see a solid iron man hole cover and thank the lord I’m wearing a helmet as I hit it face first, my left hip stopping my motion on the side of it.

I roll over and instantly throw my right hand on to my face, knowing I’ve hit it quite bad.  It’s wet.  Ok I’m not moving my hand.  I lie there for a few seconds a bit shocked.  Did that really just happen? I move my legs still expecting them to be attached to my bike (I’ve never crashed before! I’m amazed they unclipped!).  Legs are fine – I can still run.  I try to move my left hand which is sticking awkwardly out.  Nope! That isn’t happening without considerable pain! Oh… shit.  Ok, leave it there.  You know Hayley’s not far behind you.  

The rider that was in front of me is now at my side.  I suspect I let out some hell of a yell or made a very loud noise as I face planted a solid object.  Soon enough he says ‘Here’s Hayley now, it’s ok, she’s a nurse’.  There’s a few people round me now.  I feel a bit of an idiot.  This wasn’t even 20 miles in! She asks me to move my hand and I garble some rubbish about there being blood – like she can’t see it!  The support vehicle pulls up and she shouts for a first aid kit.  

I’m lying on the ground focusing on my breathing trying desperately not to cry or think about what the hell my face looks like when there’s a thump on my cheek.  For a second I remember back to Mags hitting her face at Tough Mudder, sneezing and her whole face blowing up.  Please, no.

‘Fraser!’ ‘Jesus Christ!’.

Turns out Fraser had thrown the first aid kit across the road and hit me square in the face with it.   No, I don’t blame you for laughing out loud at that.  Comedy gold to be fair.

Hayley patches my face up with some steri strips and a bandage.  She tells me I’ve punctured it and will need to get it looked at.  As she’s doing it I ask if my bikes ok.  I’m convinced I’ve buckled my wheel and I’m worried about Ironman in just 4 weeks time.  Luckily it was just the other handle that was bent and a couple of the guys managed to push bits back in place.  I sit up and try to move my shoulder, which I can do but bloody hell its sore.  I can’t really move my left hand either but it’s not really grazed or anything.

I decide to carry on.  I know that if I don’t get back on that bike right now Ironman will be over for me.  I won’t make the start line.  Everything still works on the bike and the support vehicle is right there.  I start off with Hayley and agree to take it slow but as soon as I’m confident the bikes ok I speed up.  I think the adrenaline just kicks in and I refuse to let ‘that fear’ creep in to my mind.  My hip is screaming at me and I can’t move my left hand but I am doing this cycle.

I stop at the round about.  Naturally both exits say A82.  I wait for a minute or two to see if the rest of them catch up but all I can think about is getting to the next stop (The Green Welly Boot) where I can get red bull and pain killers.  So I carry on.  The van goes past me and I give it a wave to say I’m fine.  Not so sure my face said that though.  I was extremely aware of how close some of the cars and vans were coming and after my fall I was what can only be described as a small ball of utter fury.  

I’m about a mile and a half out from the stop when this blue crappy fiat 500 literally skims past me.  I blow my top shouting and screaming at it and try to chase it down – fully intent on banging on the window and letting all my rage out.  It’s a car though.  It has an engine.  I don’t catch it.  

When I finally arrive at the stop Joes standing waiting there.  ‘You alright?’ He asks.  ‘I need red bull and pain killers’.  We walk round to the van to get his wallet and I scan the car park for the Fiat, just in case.

I am genuinely fine.  The bleeding doesn’t feel like it’s stopped yet and the pain is ‘a bit much’ but overall it’s not stopping me from cycling.  I can’t really eat anything as I can’t move my cheek but I can drink my red bull.  What more do I need? Ha ha.


Back on the road and the wonderful sites continue.  I draft Joe along one section and enjoy taking it that bit easier.  Every time we stop and I put my left foot down I get a shooting pain right through my hip so I don’t stop for many photos.  The faster guys in the group go on ahead and stop for selfies.  This gives me a bit of a chuckle as I go past grown men in Lycra cheesing at their phones.  Only for them to go past again and it all to repeat.  


The views are what keep me going.  Gliding down through the hills past Glen Etive – it’s astounding.  Despite the pain I was enjoying it.  


We were booked on the last train back to the start so it was a race against time to get there after my fall.  At times I wasn’t sure we would make it and we would have to bail.  With 15 miles to go I have to admit I was cracking.  There was another hairy moment when another hole in the road appeared and it was a close call.  There were tears shortly after that.  As I counted down the miles I just wanted to get there.  

The final stretch to Fort William was bad with cars and vans.  They seemed to be in a competition to see who could get closest to us.  Joes temper was going at this point so when we finally saw the group it was a great relief.  I wanted to punch the air but my I couldn’t raise my left arm and I couldn’t hold on to the bike to raise my right.  Lots of hand shaking and well dones all round – and a few ‘you’ve got bigger balls than me lass’.  
Unfortunately we couldn’t wait for Hayley and Fraser to come in as we had to get the train.  I went to shop there to get more painkillers.  ‘Oooh that looks sore’ the woman said.  ‘It is, can I have you’re strongest pain killers please’ I asked.  She didn’t take card but she insisted I take them with me as I hobbled back to Joe to try and scrape some change.  

Waiting for the train and I spot the drink and food trolley.  ‘Are you going on this train?’ I ask her.  ‘Yes I am love’.  ‘Oh thank god, do you take card?’  – ‘yes, signals not great, what is it you’re after?’ She asks.

‘A cup of tea, a sandwich, biscuits – actually, everything.  I will take everything’.

I’m hungry now – so is Joe.

3 hours on the train back to the start and surprisingly I can move when it stops.  Pain killers were doing their job.  A quick call to my mum to say I was having to nip to the hospital to get my face seen to (no jokes please) and we were back on the road heading to Perth. 

For a late Friday night the emergency room was really quiet.  I was seen very quickly and thoroughly checked over.  An X-ray showed a tiny fracture in my hand which I thought was just bumped hard.  They were a bit concerned on my hip.  Said it should be ok but if it didn’t get better to go back.  And I got away with glue in my cheek as the puncture didn’t penetrate all the way through.  

I’ve spent the day after resting and frustrated.  I missed park run, I’m tired because it was a long day and an uncomfortable sleep.  I have a half marathon race tomorrow.  It’s a championship race.  I really don’t know if I’m going to manage it.  If I do get round it’s not going to be in a spectacular time, so for me, it won’t be a race.  But I do want to see if I can do it. The positive is that I cycled 75 miles yesterday and my legs are fine.  

It was a spectacular day, there’s no denying that.  Some great people and laughs (including the bag to the face!) and the scenery.  I’m very grateful for having the opportunity to do it and I admire Keyline for encouraging its employees to do it also.  It’s got me thinking what I could do at my work!