Monday, 1 May 2017

Secret Weapons

Approaching Rowardennan (Photo by Alan Robertson)
Saturday was my 5th year of participating in the 53 mile ultra The Highland Fling (Ding Ding), and the way things had been going was shaping up to be a good one. 

Training had been going well, and was consistent.  I'd been more disciplined in doing the speed sessions as well as the longer/hillier (more enjoyable!) stuff.  Improvements were being made.  I was, am, lighter, stronger and fitter than I have been for a long time.

With all that came some pressure, and 53 miles is a long way to try and set split times and goals for.  I tried not to let that get to me too much, and gave myself a challenging, hopefully achievable target PB of 11hrs 30m (my previous best was 11:38 and last year I was 11:48 (worst time 12:06)).  I also had the added bonus of it being a long time after the Fling until the CCC, so I could afford the efforts to push hard, without having to worry about speed of recovery for the next race!

The Fling is a well oiled machine, with everything slick and organised, right from entry, all communications and then the amazement of race day (with well over 200 volunteers on hand, ably led by Johnny Fling and Noanie). And an amazing goody bag - t-shirt, buff, prosseco, car sticker, medal.  AND free post race food with everything from the amazing tomato soup, to baked tatties and ice cream (oh...and beer!). There's really nothing to fault.


As it turned out, I had a great, if not spectacular day, and knocked the ball out of the park. Finishing with a sub-11 finish that I would never have dreamed possible!

Thinking about it during, and after, I've put together a wee list of my #secretweapons for yesterday's success!

Drymen Hill (photo by Michael Martin)
1. Start slow
This is always a tricky one, given the first 12 miles to Drymen is fairly 'easy'.  Looking at my previous times I was usually between 2hr 5m and 2hr 10m.  

This means an average pace of 10:30min/miles which is actually fairly swift for me over longer distances.  it's hard to not get caught up in the pace of others, and a couple of times I consciously took a step down in pace.  I was well aware that several around me were breathing hard, while I felt fairly relaxed and calm.  It's worth the slow start so later on you can make up time and pass people - that alone gives you strength in the final stages.  I don't know if anyone will publish the split times over the next few days and show the position at each, but I'm confident I went from pretty far back to gain many places for my finish position.

I also love eaves-dropping into the conversations on this stretch and hearing little snippets of people's lives and expectations (especially those who were looking for a close to cut off 15 hours as they sped past me!)

2. Carol Martin
Rowardennan drop bag scoff
(Photo by Sandra Beattie)
Carol is an awesome runner with a great history of completing epic events.  Her pacing is brilliant and she's really strong on the hills.  We paired up at Drymen (along with Sharon), and I hoped to try and hang on for a while, gaining from some of her experience, pacing, and great company. 

Carol is making a comeback from major injury, and was down-playing her aims for the day.  I fully expected her to finish ahead of me, as usual.  We were together until the climb after Rowardennan (having lost Sharon at Balmaha), at which point I had a wee burst of something that saw me pull away from Carol, Lucy and Donald (looking resplendent in his new 'naked' tank top!)

Photo by Monument Photos

3. Food
Mini Mars Bars, Haribo and Chedds Nibbles were the order of the day (the latter two come in small easy to swallow pieces!), supported by rice pudding, custard, a couple of SIS gels, coke, Red Bull (Beinglas) and Starbucks Espresso Shot (Inversnaid).  

Oh, and a wee snifter of Macallan, shared with Dario at the most beautiful part of the route.  I used Tailwind throughout (diluting it more as the day went on), and managed to keep eating and drinking regularly.








4. Marshals and support
Beinglas Marshals (Photo by Ally Thomson)
Kind words and a helping hand go a long way.  Having someone at the checkpoints who knows what it's like and instinctively takes your bottles to fill them, opens your drop bag and stuffs things into your pack, opens your cans/packets and feeds you stuff makes all the difference when you're starting to lose real thought.  Sometimes it's too easy to not know what you want and just leave it and move on, resulting in flagging energy which is hard to resolve. 

These folk make the race - Caroline Strain, a friend who was at Inversnaid with the Wee County team, and the girl at Beinglas (who's name I don't know) in particular made a big difference in getting me swiftly on my way.  I tried hard to not fanny around at the check-points this year - even sacrificing on several planned 'hugs' along the way (sorry Helen in particular!!)

5. Kit choices
I chose my kit well, and packed relatively light (for me!), ensuring I had the mandatory phone and bivvy bag (step up from the required foil blanket).  Just as well, given Stan was doing kit checks on the killer stairs after Sallochy, and I hear there were some disqualifications!  Quite right too - these items are not listed for a joke and could save lives. 

I didn't over-dress on the start line as it was already fairly mild (and the day did warm up quite a lot), and even having taken my arms sleeves off after Balmaha, I didn't struggle with the conditions, even during a few showers of rain.  The only improvement I could have made was more liberal application of BodyGlide and vaseline....there were a few sore bits in the shower on Saturday night and still today!

6. Following a training plan - it works!  Who knew?!
Conic (by Monument Photos)
Being married to a personal trainer has it's benefits....only if you actually listen, and follow the advice.  This year, I've been following the plan more diligently, including doing the evil speed-work sessions.  These hurt...and they're meant to.  They make you tougher, as well as faster, and that strength and suffering (all those times around the Carse in Bridge of Allan) played through yesterday, especially in my final 3 miles, when a random supporter said 'well done lass, you could get sub-11 if you're lucky'.  


Sub-11?!?!?  WT-actual-F?!?  While I knew I'd been ahead of target at previous checkpoints, I honesty wasn't looking at my cumulative time, and I'd only occasionally checked that my average pace was in line with getting to 11:30.  With 37 minutes to go at that point I knew it would be close.  Yes, it's relatively flat for those last 3 miles, however, when you've just done 50 hilly miles and 7,000 ft of climb, and you were suffering with knee pain and the start of cramps coming through 'the roller-coaster', it was always going to hurt.  Channeling how I feel in my speed sessions and knowing 'how' to suffer really helped me hit this new target - WOW!

7. Cross-training
I've blogged already this year about the hot yoga and the strength training.  I've probably bored anyone who would listen, and most of my sports massage clients telling them of the benefits that yoga has made, and combined with my early in the year gym sessions, I've gained muscle, and toned up.  I need to find more time to get myself into the gym more often now!  I can actually see muscles in my arms for a change!

I've also been getting a decent sports massage every 4 weeks without fail - eradicating any early signs of trauma and keeping the muscles fully functioning and relaxed!

8. Making life choices
Now we're getting to the really hard bit.  The things that make people think you're a bit weird.....  Early to bed, early to rise....making sacrifices to fit training into my life, and turning down nights out (bailing on a work night that included some actual work last week in order to go to bed, while everyone else completed the tasks, and enjoyed some lovely cocktails and food).  Cutting back on alcohol, snacking and cakes, and trying to be more organised with food choices.  I love food, I love cocktails and prosecco and all bubbles...and cheese.  Food is my nemesis (today I'm making up for it!)

9. Self-belief
There's no easy way to get this, and it's a trait most of the time I don't posses.  Yesterday something clicked and I thought it was in my grasp - the 11:30 more than what actually happened!  

As fortune falls, the same work event above that I bailed on the evening part, we had a motivational speaker - Stuart McInally who plays rugby for Scotland.  He uses a quote from Roosevelt in his session - The Man in the Arena, and I found this quite poignant, and due to the recency it stuck in my head throughout the day (well, that and Justin Bieber 'you should go and love yourself', for god only knows what reason!)

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

I also needed a big dose of swear words and telling myself to 'F-ing get on with it' when I thought my knee was caving in on the roller-coaster!

10. Amazing husband
Photo by Stuart McFarlane
None of this can happen without support.  You have to be disciplined and selfish, and this helps if you have someone who understands, who can pick up the pieces, and who knows how to keep them together, not just on race day, but all year round.  I was pleased to be able to give Clark something different to worry about yesterday by running great splits that made him worry when I went through Beinglas that he wouldn't make it to the finish in time. Ha ha - that's not a problem we have very often! 

And it was his face I was looking for (and his hand I'm holding below) as I did my final sprint down the red carpet (and he was as emotional as I was!)  He also writes a decent training plan, and does some kick-ass effective PT (for clients and on himself #incredibleshrinkingman)......if only I had time to do more!!
Emotional?  (Photo by Stuart McFarlane)






So, a grand day out, as always, and this year all the sweeter for the massive PB!  The training has paid off and I ran more of the route than I ever have, and the climbs, whilst some/most of them still hurt, were definitely 'easier' than I think they ever have been. 

53.2 miles / 7,000 feet ascent

Chip time : 10 hours 56 minutes 06 seconds (12:23 min/miles)
Drymen 2:05:47 
Rowardennan 5:09:16 
Beinglas 8:25:31

Finish position 208/681
Women 33/189
F40 Age Category 12/78

Roll on 2018 when I hope to successfully get through the ballot again, and, with my heart hoping for a WHW place next year too, a different plan for #FlingRace2018.

Thanks to Johnny Fling, Noanie and everyone who makes this race so special!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

This Girl Can

There was a bit of buzz recently around the #thisgirlcan campaign and amongst other debates, whether ‘girl’ was an appropriate term to use for the target audience.  Personally, the campaign resonated with me (and I prefer the use of the word girl to woman as the latter makes me feel I should be old and sensible) as a representation of normal/real people doing what they could, and hopefully caring little about what other (negative) people might think.  That latter point is always the hard bit, with so much perceived social (and often internalised) pressure around looking a certain way, and the idealistic views of what ‘athletes’ (or females in general) ‘should’ look like.

Hard to dismiss these thoughts about ourselves sometimes, but who are we (or others) to judge on size, shape or anything else, if that person has the motivation to get out there and do something…to try, and to persevere……even when there is often no glory (more often blood, snot and tears), no prizes and very little chance of ever being a podium finisher.  They CAN do it…and they are.
From that latter point however, and I refer back to James Stewart quite often….go read his story, or listen to his interviews on WHW or TalkUltra podcasts, and you’ll hear how ‘an overweight NED from Croy’ (paraphrasing something James may have said on occasion) ended up winning the iconic Rocky Racoon 100 mile race in the USA!  Maybe the unperceivable CAN sometimes become a reality.

So I digress, and what I really wanted to write about was the feeling around ‘can’, and trying new things, different things, or re-visiting in an effort to improve, to adapt, and to over-come feelings or niggles. 

Many people get injured, or have weaknesses.  Sometimes they ask (the jury of social media) for advice….sometimes they post, but don’t *really* want advice…inevitably they get it anyway, and then dispute as a way to deflect what is often viable advice (to be fair, often can be a lot of tosh too).  I’ve a number of these niggles, from past lives and mis-adventures, and one of the things I’m trying to focus on this year is to stop avoiding these, as essentially these could be the pea under the mattress that derails my potential, and sees me miss my goal.

There’s a lot of ‘can’t’ flying around: ‘I can’t do that, my XYZ won’t’…and I’ve often been in that camp too…my medial ligament in my right knee being one target of such comments.  I was in the mindset that this weakness, caused by historic injury, put me off certain things in the gym – I avoided squats, lunges and the like.  This year that’s not acceptable, and I’m picking these exercises off, little by little, back to basics with no/low weights, less depth, fewer reps….and I’m already reaping the benefits and see progress where once I thought there could be none.  My knee CAN do these, and CAN get stronger. 
Focusing on a more holistic approach (yes, I’m going to talk yoga again), and again, stretching and strength, balance and stability that comes with regular practise, and approaching with a learning mindset (you can’t expect to just get ‘into’ something new and be a guru, or even be that good at much of it).  This is also seeing the rewards come.  There’s no quick fix, and there’s always more work to be done. It won’t happen at once, there are no quick fixes, and you have to listen to your body.  Tease it, challenge it positively…and it will reward you with the gains.

It’s not just about a relentless focus on that one specific stress area either.  Rewards come from training the rest of the body to function efficiently…core strength, mental capacity, upper body strength (anyone ever get sore arms after a long run?!), and there are so many elements we CAN influence and CAN improve.  Good things rarely come by chance.  Most of us have to work for it (or we all do at some point…even those more blessed will face a time where they too will have to adapt and change, to improve, or often just to continue.

So take a look at what you are doing.  Are you avoiding and hoping weak areas will pass unnoticed, or go away over time?  What can you do to address them now and improve your physical or mental well-being?  Can you seek treatment by way of physio or sports massage?  Can you try a new class or cross-train?  Can a PT or coach or buddy help you look at things differently?  And where you think you have no time to train/stretch your body or mind, can you get up earlier, take a lunch break or can you fit something in between chores or TV in the evenings or weekends?

Nothing is beyond you, you CAN and should give it a try!
 

Friday, 24 February 2017

Being Led Astray

I had a wee Google for quotes about being led astray and the one on the right appealed.  Interestingly there were also a few about 'looking for scapegoats'....

Anyway, it's been one of those weeks where I've allowed myself to be diverted from the fairly strong focus I have had, with the distraction of a couple of lovely days away on Islay, being immersed in the wonders of Bowmore and Laphroaig malt whiskies....along with some fine food, and rather more sugar and caffeine than an average week.

It's always a challenge with these events, and while I managed to resist too much alcohol, the sweeties took a bit of a battering.....'calories on "holiday" don't count'.....

And I did manage a couple of short training runs while I was there, much to the amusement of my colleagues (one of these involved going down the wrong track, ending up on a pebble beach in a downpour, and my headtorch packing in....)

Hopefully I can remedy the indulgences, as, although training has been lighter as it's a semi-taper week, it is RACE week......with Glentress marathon tomorrow! 

Last year I ran it in just under 6 hours, and it's a tough old shift (and it was jolly cold, icy etc), with some challenging climbs and descents (1,500m of ascent in total across a 2 lap course).  It will be an interesting test tomorrow, although I'm not sure how my pace will compare.  I don't want to end up broken or needing several days/week recovery, so I'll be taking that into account as I scamper round the trails optimistically.

I'm half looking forward to it, and the chance to catch up with friends....

Race report next week!


Friday, 17 February 2017

Go Compare......Don't!


It’s that time of year where everyone is ramping up their training and going all out to post on social media about how good (mostly) or bad it is going.  Strava links appear on Facebook in abundance with ‘check out my run which I did while you were sitting slouched at your desk drinking coffee and trying hard to resist the pile of sweeties in the snack trough!’ and ‘look at me grinning atop the latest peak I have summited’.  (BTW, I know I’m prone to posts of a similar nature!)
I’ve probably blogged about this before, maybe often.  I see a number of people getting caught up in this again this year with ‘OMG, you’re doing loads more miles/ascent/lifting than I am’.
 
Control what you can control.
They are not you.  They will not be running your race for you.  They do not live your life.

'Killer Hill' (Blackford)
Pic by Clark Hamilton
 
They’ll have their own challenges to contend with, and maybe while you are out at the weekend tearing up the heather, they are working, or doing night-shifts, or dealing with their respective families and ‘other commitments’. 
While you’re getting up at the crack of dawn, they are still sleeping off their bottle of wine and fajita-fest from the night before.  They may not have posted for a few weeks as they’ve been sick…but you’ve not noticed that…you just hone in on their ‘come back’ AMAZING jaunt up Conic Hill, and it puts the fear right into you.
Don’t do it.  Focus on being a better you.  Fit what you can, as best you can, into your life.  Plan and prepare (training and food)!  If you’re hurt or under-the-weather, think about what else you can do instead of your ‘usual’ (be that 30, 40 or 100 miles a week).  Don’t fight through viruses that will wipe you out for weeks or months.

Stay positive and focused! Adapt, change, deliver!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Feeling the Heat


As part of my renewed vigour this year, I was keen to ensure I was putting enough emphasis on training elements that weren’t just all about running…a long way…slowly.

Being married to a PT is a blessing a curse…Clark tells me a lot of good things (about how to train better and smarter), and I haven’t always acted on them, despite wholeheartedly agreeing with (most of) them. 
Doing what I’ve done before, won’t necessarily get me where I want to go.

So…what can I do differently…
Aside from the obvious focus on eating less crap, drinking more water…I’m making a conscious effort to get back into Pilates and do regular hot yoga.  I’ve been a fan of Pilates for many years (still totally missing the guru that is Gill Webster) and have joined a local class (in Braco Church Hall (man is it cold in there some weeks)) and gone back to basics with a bunch of middle aged locals.  Who knew that the basic moves could ‘hurt’ so much two days later when you really focus on doing them ‘right’, having been out of practice for the best part of a year…!?!  Thanks Gi, it’s definitely working!

Having previously been a doubter of yoga (did a class with a load of old ladies years ago and it was proper dull!), at the end of last year I found some ‘pop up’ hot yoga classes, being run in Bridge of Allan, by Jack and Jules from Heat Fitness, back in the UK after a life in Aus (or something like that…not my story to tell!).  So I gave it a try and loved it…despite being significantly challenged by my lack of balance (see previous posts about falling over a lot!).
Skip forward a couple of months, and having found it hard to make the BofA Friday evening class often enough, Heat finally got their studio at Springkerse opened, and with a cracking “£20 for 20 days” introductory offer, it would be rude not to try and make this work!

The first time you go into ‘the box’ (actually a fairly big room), the heat is immense (38-40 degrees celcius) and you wonder how you will ever be able to do anything useful.  You do get used to it after a few minutes, and start to get all the benefits it brings – for me in particular the appeal was around driving increased length and flexibility into my muscles, to offset all the pounding the running brings, and the potential to help prevent injury.  There are a number of other benefits quoted (see the website for more!), and the more I attend (trying to commit to the 0630 class at least once a week), the more I feel these develop.  Combined with my other training, things are definitely starting to take shape!
A few observations:

-        It’s not all skinny hippy-types doing yoga, there’s a broad cross-section of society – men, women, national athletes to the other extremes, and everything in between…and don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be ‘better’ at it than some more generously proportioned or “old” people….(and don’t be put off by the svelte, skinny people!)

-        Listening is key – there are few demo’s, part of the training is to focus on the dialogue and move accordingly.  There are a couple of moves I’m still struggling with where to fixate my gaze (and consistently ignore Jules request to stare forwards at my outstretched fingers…but I know she’s right and that’s what I should do….)

-        It’s sweaty!  The first class, I looked around as a river of perspiration cascade off my head whilst doing ‘Standing Bow’ (or something similar), wondering if everyone else had the same going on….turns out they did!  (Two towels are best…one for your mat and one to mop your brow!)

-        It’s a great workout – the calorie burn is good (yes, I’ve been wearing my Garmin), and there’s definitely significant strength gains to be made....and DOMS to be felt a couple of days later!

-        There’s no chanting, or funny ‘ommmmmmm’ noises (hurrah!!)

-        You’re allowed to hydrate during the class (a couple of folk have asked!)

-        Don’t moisturise your hands/feet the night before….this makes grabbing your feet/ankles during some of the balancing postures a bigger challenge than it already is!

-        When you’ve tried it, you’ll want to do it again!  I’ve recommended to several people and most of them are now devoted!

-        It takes a while to stop sweating afterwards…even post-shower…..cue me driving to work in a vest in the middle of winter so I can get dressed and do make up at the office sweat free!

-        100% feel great afterwards…and now miss it when I’ve not been!  If only it were closer, and I had more hours in the day!
So hopefully you'll get the idea that I'm quite enjoying this new element to my training, and it's something I hope to continue throughout the year.  I'm sure the heat adaptation will do me good for the sunnier climes of Chamonix later in the year!
 

Friday, 3 February 2017

Oooops, I did it again!



Ah well, maybe that's the falling out of the way for the year?!  I certainly hope so!


Photo by John Kynaston / WHW Race Family
It was the annual West Highland Way race January training weekend last weekend, and always a great opportunity to catch up with a big group of lovely people, run on the best trail in Scotland, and have a good scoff at the Oak Tree Inn, who are not averse to hosting a bunch of sweaty ultra runners in various states of joy, despair, sobriety and drunkenness!
My plan was to join on the Saturday and do a 20 mile out and back.  The 'full' run is 30 miles to Inversnaid and back, but I've not done that distance in January for a few years, and felt that 20 would be plenty for this weekend.  I was going to be running with Carol, which meant good company for the day, and an opportunity to explore 'the low road' which I hadn't yet been on!

I was also mostly planning to take the van, and stay over, if the run went well, and the lure of chat and a wee glass of wine got the better of me....

I don't have pretty knees at the best of times
However......this happened.....(I do wish I'd picked that bit of skin off my left knee before the pic.....)

After a lovely 11 miles out to cover most of the low road - which is lovely, and has some interesting steps and climbs on it, and is much more in keeping with the true feel of the further lochside path....covered mainly with Carol, and chats with others, including Lorna and Kirsteen, who had run Rowardennan to Millarochy to join us...we ventured on the return, and just shy of Rowardennan....BOOM....down I went!

I'd had a few stumbles earlier in the day, so it shouldn't have come as much surprise.  And boy, did this one sting!!   Both knees, both thighs, both forearms (somehow my brain told my body to not put my hands out to save me)....and luckily not my face (Carol's first question!  Mine was 'have I smashed my Garmin??').  Carol was a great first responder and made sure I didn't get up too soon, and that nothing was hanging off.....

Photo by Fiona Rennie
When I managed to get up (with Carol using her unbroken collarbone side to help me), I had a rush of blurred vision and nausea and needed support to walk along a short while to a big rock, where we could administer some paracetamol and get some big gloves (by this point I was proper Baltic!).  Carol phoned Lorna to come rescue me, and I felt ok-ish to start walking for a few minutes, and then an adrenaline fuelled shuffle.  Come Sallochy, and Lorna wasn't quite there, so I opted to push on (feeling super guilty for wasting Lorna's time (however she managed to rescue someone else later, so not a totally lost cause)).

Made it back, to complete 22 lovely miles!  And straight into the Oak Tree for a seat by the fire, and big cup of coffee (thanks Julie, I owe you one!), and then remembered my emergency £10 and got some soup, while Laura (first aider) checked out the bleeding knees (another ruined pair of XBionic tights :-().  Decided I wasn't dying, nor did I need antiseptic scrubbing!  After a shower (thanks Helen), and the challenge of getting into my skinny jeans(!) Sean also checked me out when he got back from sweeping, and we decided, other than having had my second set of painkillers too soon, I was ok to drive home (I was still feeling a bit puggled and needing a rest with my feet up!).

Photo by Fiona Rennie
3 days of rest...Sunday and Monday suffering extremely pounding head (we think there was some concussion), Tuesday a little more 'normal', so back to some training on Wednesday with hot yoga before work (postures involving kneeling were a bit of a challenge) and a short, flat run after work...decided there is not material damage, and with arnica pills, massaging with arnica lotion, and taking care, I will focus on getting on with it.  There's nothing else for it!

Thinking about my gait on today's run, I think I have a bit of a roll out on my right foot, probably from the historic medial ligament damage, weak adductors, tight IT, probably some glute issues.....aaaah, plenty to work on then!  Plenty of time to make progress, and I've treated myself to some shiny new Hoka Speedgoats...just in case!

More another day..... 










Thursday, 26 January 2017

Embracing the power of positivity

It's been an exciting start to the year, with that all important CCC place secured for August.  Having this goal now confirmed has set the cogs firmly in motion and now it's all about that journey, being focused on how I will achieve it, staying positive and surrounding myself with as many positive people as I can! 

Yes, there was the lurgy, the 'bad' run at Arrochar, and yes, there are some ongoing injuries and imbalances to address, but a wise man posted on social media last night about busting through those 'limits', and that's exactly where my head is at!  Constantly working on how to train whilst not compromising health or weak points, and building the strength to overcome! Be that through training, or better nutrition decisions.

I've kick started the year with similar gusto to last year - Garmin records a similar activity and run count (slightly higher mileage this year) and a shift from several Versaclimber sessions into Hot Yoga and Pilates...along with slightly more strength and conditioning sessions in the gym!  Taking action on the points I knew I needed to address....I do still need to start building those Versaclimber sessions back in.....somewhere!!

There's plenty more to blog about, when time permits.....I've a whole heap to say about last weekend's fabulous 'Glee Club' Feshiebridge weekender and my first jaunt on the Burma Road, my journey with hot yoga, and the joys of back to basics with pilates.  Not to mention some deadlift, chest press and squat PBs!  And some weight loss to boot!

For now - happy days, happy training, early alarm calls and a 'just get the f*** on with it' positive attitude!  Do what's right to get you where you want to be!

And here's some happy  photos...
Carol, Lorna, Dawn, Me
At the "Secret Trig"
 
Climbing in snowy Glen Sherrup
 
On the Burma Road, Aviemore
Glee Feshie Weekender