Posts Tagged fitness

Munro Bagging 6 & 7 – Mayar & Driesch, Glen Clova (12/03/17)

Summit pic

Summit Driesch No.7. Bagged!

 

View Vlog of the day here >>>

Another team escapade to the hills, snow melting, slightly milder weather and a long drive headed by our kind transporter for these Munro Missions, Jim. We arrived at a nice opening in the middle of the mountains with a cafe and toilets! Oooooh the luxury of such a great thing both before and after long walks is a blessing! It is often the case that we are caught short in the middle of nowhere and just have to go back to nature!

Beginning this hike through forest paths and then into the beautiful sight of the Corrie Fee, and immense view of the whole panorama of hills from the edge of the forest. No rain thankfully and not too cold, certainly not icy cold anyway, and as soon as the walking begins it is not long before we all get to hot and layers have to be opened or removed as required to be comfortable.

Nothing too hazardous on this walk UNTIL we got to the top part of the waterfall next to the huge gorge and a very slim and icy section that had to be crossed to follow the route up the mountain. At this point I felt the fear, one glance looking down my stomach went, quickly turning away focusing on anything that was not scary and taking a few breaths while I tried to get my guts together! Jim was over the other side looking dependable encouraging and directing me the safe steps to take, I couldn’t chicken out and go home, although for a split second this was something that came to mind! LOL! So, I focused and went for the move, yes, I made it to the other side and my friend Grace, I think, equally crapping herself soon followed! Phew, that had to be the most scary section on the hills I had come across yet! A great feeling of brave accomplishment along with relief to be over that bit and we were off on the rest of the climb up these mountains.

The rest of the walk to Mayar was fairly straightforward, weather was coming and going a bit around us, but visibility was thankfully still reasonable so when we got to the summit we were able to enjoy views for miles around. There was a group of highly experienced looking walkers at the top looking like they had stopped there for a long lunch and a good old natter, many of them most definitely in retiree age, which is most inspiring to see! They soon headed off and disappeared very quickly into the distance as they headed for next summit.

We had our lunch refuel snacks and soon followed the same direction but by the time we got anywhere near the summit they were long gone! The old skools must have been setting quite a pace! Anyway, still reasonable clear weather, a few clouds threatening to put a dampener on the day but thankfully we made it to the next bag still dry and that was numbers 6 & 7 now covered!

The decent, due to there still being snow on the path was a little nervy for us girls, as my friend was still nursing her wrist injury recovery and I was just scared of doing any more unplanned Torvel and Dean impressions like I had done on Ben Lomond! Not only that, this path was on the gradient of the hill and on the right there was a steep drop in sections that was best just not to look at I found, just again focusing on the footsteps and path in front of me, as I got that vertigo feeling in my tummy if I looked down!

Boy was I glad to see the end of that path, I had my mini spikes on but that kind of walking is more tiring because it requires much more concentration, or at least I preferred as a learner hiker to take it slow and steady to do my best to avoid injury. It has been said to me by many that most accidents happen on the decent on a hill, when legs are more tired, mind too and often over confidence on the way down or going faster to get home quicker.

And so it was the end of another great day of adventure way up in the mountains of Scotland, places I had never been before, new heights and sights all around. I had well and truly got the bagging bug back again, this hill-walking thing, the fresh air, the natural energy around and generated by the exercise was very moreish.

There would be more that is for sure…where to next???

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Munro Bagging No.5. – Scheihallion (5/5/17)

Scheihallion Summit

Munro No.5. Bagged!

View Vlog from the day!

Having been a bit out of commission most of January due to injury and illness for any further Munro missions, then subsequently experiencing fears of slipping on ice or any greater injuries with a pending marathon challenge in May, I had ducked out of the bagging for a couple of months for some safer and more low impact exercising to coincide with my training as I repaired and rebuilt my strength. I was battling with the fears in my mind of falling in wintry conditions, unforeseen weather conditions and the desire to tackle another Summit challenge! 

My friend and I were both recovering from different injuries and fears of slipping so we took an easy confidence building climb up the Meikle Bin, a lovely local hill walk and not so daunting! Once we hit that, we were both busting for something a bit more challenging so made the decision that we were going to tackle Scheihallion.Our other hill-walking friend Jim thankfully decided to join us last minute and offered to drive, so then there were three in the team for the day!

A snowy cold early morning start and a drive that took us on a bit of a detour high into the hills where the snow was still fresh and thicker on the roads, so on this small single track road we had taken was a bit hairy but our solid driver and his van got us there as always, in one piece and safe!

Bit of a foggy start but the snow on the hills looked lovely and there was a clear path to follow on the ascent for most of the way till we got closer to the summit and where the boulder fields of this hill would usually be found as reported by many other hill-walkers but at this time of year snow had filled in most of the ground around the boulders so there were just some of the tops poking through and this actually made it easier to climb!

All in all this was a pretty straight forward hill, so it was fun and not too treacherous, especially with snow to bound through. We occasionally got cloud clearing and views appearing on the ascent but sadly by the time we got to the summit it was pretty thick and not much could be seen. We stopped there and sheltered among the boulders along with other baggers that were, like us, refueling and hoping at some point the mists would clear and reveal what lay beneath, but alas, only short glimpses and to no great avail, so we packed up and made our decent.

No injuries and plenty of giggles that seemed to be brought on at higher altitudes and with the intake of Jelly Babies that Grace had brought along with her! A great walk, a nice Munro to do in the snow and a great feel good factor from the day, as well as more confidence built again. With each Munro mission, new learning and more experience under the belt. Peanut butter and blackcurrant jam wholemeal rolls seem to have now become the summit snack of choice, along with a tepid (usually) cup of tea to wash them down, seems to hit the spot perfectly for me!
Exercise wise, this Munro bagging is a great all rounder, calorie burning, leg working in many ways and also with the pole use an upper body workout, all in all a bit like using a cross-trainer for 4/5 hours! LOL!

So, No.5. under the belt and over the hurdle that got me stuck after No.4…more to follow…

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Munro Summit No.4. – Ben Lomond

Videolog 

A cool but clear day on 2nd January 2017, the new year had begun and it was time to continue as I’d left off in the previous year, climbing big huge hills to get to the top and climb back down again. 

At least with a goal like this I can usually see the summit, at least a destination of exactly where I am headed, not like the path of being a self producing hopeful artist where no defined finish points, maps or presumed journey times were to be found, just travelling in blind faith on some crazy self created test of endurance, striving to progress, find some notable success, job or a way into the life and/or love you always dreamed you’d find in your happy ending, which was often the only thing that drove your passion to keep going, to keep trying and not to give up! It sure wasn’t the pay check, that’s for sure! Lol! 

Mountains though, and being part of a small team, just putting one foot in front of the other, usually with a route already travelled or mapped out and led by a more experienced member of the group, now, this was to some extent an easier or even more pleasurable task at hand right now, everything else just seemed so up in the air in a whole different way than the summits were.

I was getting used to packing my kit now the night before and preparing for the early morning pick ups by one of my kind drivers from the team that would get me and my wee legs to the start point. This time it was just two of us on this lovely fresh winters day. 

The drive to Loch Lomond was surrounded by the sun rising in a clear sky and it was looking like just the perfect day to do it. We arrived at the start point and got on our way pronto, no messing about walking with this one, this guy was a lean mean hillwalking machine, the kind that ate mountain summits for breakfast and was ready for another mountain by lunchtime! Lol! His pace challenged me to keep up as we ascended the steep and quite rocky path, a couple of times I did have to call on a breather or stop to take the odd pictures recording the day for my videolog. 

Quite a relentless climb this one, requiring extra care and focus on icy patches hidden sometimes, just one small slip on the way up, enough to cause me to feel just that little bit more nervous of the footholds under me, after all, it hadn’t been that long since other injuries had prevented me from enjoying much exercise, so the last thing I wanted to do now was fall and hurt myself. 

It was getting colder as we got higher as is usual on these climbs, quite a busy tourist summit route this one, we certainly were not alone on our quest to bag this Munro that day, which for the most part had been providing us with clear views over the Loch and surrounding landscape. However as we were approaching the last leg a large thick cloud began to come down to greet us and by the time we got to the criag at the top all we could see was cloud and it was pretty darn cold, windy and a fine blizzard of snow was also now adding itself into the windchill factor.

No hanging about at the top except for the standard summit picture and we began quite a speedy decent to make our way out these higher level conditions rather than stopping for lunch. Out the worst of it we stopped for a quick, much needed refuel and then headed back down the rest of the way. I found myself on the verges of grassy mounds rather than the stony path as I felt my feet were far more confident stepping there avoiding potential unseen ice patches, but still I found one and proceeded to do a short Torvell & Dean move before stopping on one knee! Another friendly gentleman climber was on his way down just behind me and offered his arm out to give me a welcomed hand up as I joked about my lack of ice dancing skills! That would thankfully be my 2nd and last slip for the day and the rest of the journey down was made unscathed! 

About 5 hours later we were back where we started and that was the end of another adventurous day on the hills. We definitely took the high road on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond that day! Another memory created and another Munro bagged…great start to 2017…let’s see how many are under the belt by next New Year eh! 🙂 

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Munro challenge No.3. – Ben Chonzie 

Videolog
Just 4 of us today 27/12/16, 2 guys and 2 gals, a drive off up into the mountains with an early start at 8am to make sure we caught as much daylight as possible on this cold but clear winters day. A great way to lift the spirits (literally) during the festive period, which can be an awkward time of year for some, certainly for me, so I was very glad for this healthy distraction. 
As we pulled up at the car park we were not alone in our decision to tackle this summit today, another couple of lads were just leaving and likely laughing or wondering what crazy folks we were as we begun our day dancing in the car park to the Eagles, which J had pumping out of his van…nothing like a bit of joviality to start the day! 

Hiking kit on and we were off, snow covered mountains all around and looking forwards to this expedition with my newly found comrades. It’s amazing how fast a bond can be formed with like minded souls on such a trip. New friends, new challenges to conquer and new skills to learn.

This was a comparitively straight forward ascent for the most part, following a well established path that wound back and forth higher and higher into the mountains exposing amazing views of snow caps. 

The higher we got the more ice and snow covered the path and the colder the winds got too, so hoods and zips up time. Once we got so far the footsteps we’d been following in the snow on the path went off piste and hence so did we,  walking through a more potentially marshy hillside section now but it was snow covered so care had to be taken if you didn’t want to put your foot into a bog! This is where the hiking poles come in very handy.

We were getting nearer the summit now, it, along with another few bodies walking in the distance was now in sight. The next section we crossed over was frozen snow and pretty slippy, luckily I’d put on a cheap pair of grips on my boots, they helped a little but later kept slipping off my boots and becoming more of a hindrance, something to upgrade for future winter excursions! 

Along a wide exposed section of mountain now and we were there, a small whiskey swig taken by all as we toasted our next accomplishment! 

Time for some food and re-adjustments to clothing i.e. waterproof trousers on top, to keep the sub zero windchill that was now hitting me at bay. This proved to be quite a challenge as my fingers had decided to go numb and I had to get my boots/gaiters/grips off before I could get the trousers on! Learning curve as I watched D with her ones with a flap that opened at the bottom with studs so she didn’t have to go through such shenanigans! Lol! 
Our lovely gentlemen friends were quite the chivalrous and proceeded to pack snow into the small stone made shelter at the summit so we could all sit out the wind to re-fuel and sort ourselves out for the decent! 

It was bloomin’ freezin’, I couldn’t remember the last time I had been in such cold, but the views were amazing, my companions were fun to be around and those things combined seemed to negate any effects I might usually feel encountering that status. 

Some food eaten with totally numb fingers and toes beginning to join them in that feeling, it was time to get moving and get my circulation pumping some warmer blood into those areas. D & J had already headed off as I was trying to get my grips back on my shoes, to no avail, so just abandoned that idea and managed without them. Part of the mountain here was clear of snow and I decided to jog for a bit to catch up with the others and attempt to defrost my fingers & toes, it worked, but then turned round and my buddy had vanished! Turned out he had just headed over to take some pics and came back into view but there was just a moment of concern and subsequent relief as he came back into view. 

The decent now was through snow and marshy hillside off piste and not trodden on. We took the non-tourist route back down “to make it more fun” the guys said! Lol! And yes, I guess it did turn out to be fun as we bounded about in the deep snow and even did a bit of ice axe stop practice, but it wasn’t so much fun when first my right foot managed to find itself in a hidden stream that was running down the mountain, and just after getting one waterlogged foot out proceeding to then plunge my other foot in also! Lol! Two wet cold feet, yuk, but after a while they warmed up and I hardly noticed the conditions they were now walking in! 

Wasn’t long before we got back on the path for the last leg back down, passing the snow Angel that D had made on the way up, our stamp on the landscape for that day! 

Another Munro bagged, my no.3 and another great day out with my fellow mountain people, my new found tribe…

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New Heights

My first Munro Bagging experience…Glas Maol & Creag Leacach 18/12/2016

Videolog

An early start and two cars convoy drive to the start point for 5 of us. This my very first Munro challenge, an opportunity offered by some other lovely enthusiastic walkers I’d met who encouraged me to come along and most thankfully supplied the transport to take me. 
As we drove into the mountains towering around us I felt the enormity of the task I’d set myself up for! Feeling part anticipation, maybe a little nervous excitement and just totally awestruck at the amazing feeling of being in the middle of this beautiful remote destination, one I had never experienced before.
Gaiters on, bag & bits all sorted and we were off…making our way along the initial section beside the stream was a little challenging but I managed to scramble along the dodgy footholds and got more confident as I went. This type of walking was new to me, so just took my time as the last thing I wanted to do was fall, get injured or end up soaked this early in the climb! 
After that section I felt much happier, just steady climbing after that, quite steep in places but that I could handle with the help of my poles for extra leverage and balance.
The cars parked at the start point began to grow smaller and smaller as we ascended up and up, the views of the mountains more and more expansive and breathtaking, small amounts of snow dusting the landscape in places or unmelted piles still dotted about. 
Nearing the higher grounds approaching Creag Leacach was much more bouldersome and rocky, another type of surface to navigate and get used to walking on. Much colder now as we reached this level into the sky, cloud inversions below us in the valleys creating a landscape so beautiful all around us, what a feeling, quite magical really. 
And so there it was, the Craig of rocks that was to be my first Munro summit! The whiskey dram was shared in swigs by us all as we toasted our conquered journey to the top.
A hop over the rocky ridge away out of the wind provided a warmer spot for us to stop for some food and refuel, I’d never eaten lunch above the clouds before, what a view! 
All packed back up again after that short breather we then continued on along the ridge down and up again to the next summit of Glas Maol, and that was Munro no.2. bagged! That was it, I was already hooked! 
The journey then continued on along the ridge and we began our winding descent. This part was where I was slower than the others, the climbing I found okay, but the way down just a bit more challenging, more nervous of a fall, slipping and the knees being punished in a way they hadn’t before, so just took it a bit easier until we got to a last section where we came to a track that wound down to the left swinging us back towards the cars that we could now see getting closer again.
One of our crew decided to jog a little and I joined in, partly just in triumph that I could now put one foot firmly in front of the other confidently and jumping for joy at the elation of the achievement I’d just made. 
The rest of the journey down was relatively straight forwards, rambling through the grassy mounds cutting across towards the start point. Then it was boots change, clean socks and into the cosy vehicles for the drive back and a stop off for a nice cup of warm tea/coffee. 
An experience I will always treasure, thankful to the souls I met that day for creating the memory and sparking a new passion in me to keep climbing. The start of new goals and aspirations, I was now a officially a Munro Bagger and there were another 280 still to go…this journey will most definitely continue… 

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Why I run…thoughts after my Great Scottish Run Half Marathon 2015.

Contemplating as I sit here on the couch under a blanket with cups of ginger/lemon tea, soggy hankies, a runny nose, bit of a cough and generally feeling the aftermath of this year’s running event. Glad at least that on a muscular level it only took 2 days for the worst of the burn to cool down in my legs and reflective of what was behind my motivation for doing this challenge in the first place.

I was unable to run the 2013 event due to ill health in general from chronic stress overload causing all kinds of horrible symptoms and on top of that I somehow managed to develop a Morton’s Neuroma on my left foot, which for the last year or more meant that even walking was painful until at the beginning of August I was given a cortisone injection which greatly helped thankfully!

Prior to this the previous 2 years were a challenging emotional roller coaster ride that ended in a painful crash. Healing from the damage that ensued after that soul wrecking experience was perhaps the deepest and most challenging thing I have had to go through, and I had to do it alone for many reasons that will probably not be understood by many or most. Alone was the only “choice” as many of the people closest to me were not helpful or supportive, and in fact added to the equation of negativity I was trying to solve. Only those healing from virtually a lifetime cloud of narcissistic abusive experiences will truly know the depths that this type of experience brings.
It is a programming pattern puzzle only fully solved when the deepest shadows of the soul are brought to light found by looking deeper into the conditioning and circumstances that caused this to be a vibration I found so often in the first place throughout my life. Once this is understood, the metamorphosis can begin to change future life experiences creating them from a new mould. A new self that knows and understands healthy boundaries, has awareness of the red flags and NPD as whole, a new way of seeing the past which then can heal the present and allows the future to unfold with inner peace never known before. Breaking the co-dependency, the people pleasing syndrome, the seeking for external validation and seeing and understanding the dynamics of the meaning of love in a whole new way. The journey to real self love and acceptance.

The last time I ran this marathon in 2013, my life was in the beginning of a turmoil that would unfold and reach a climax in 2014 and so to run this road again now and complete this distance was a huge sense of a comeback, a proverbial stamp I was putting on myself to say that I had won the battle through the emotional and physical hurdles of the past couple of years and built my strength back to where it was before it was challenged.

Therefore, there was a lot in my mind hanging on my performance for this event. I was aiming and hoping to get close to my PB of just under 2 hours. The training on the run up to the race was sporadic and not my usual full on thing, twice I had to stop training due to first a pulled left calf, out for two weeks and then again my right, out again for another couple of weeks leaving me unsure if I would even be able to train for it. After some advice I changed my training routine and incorporated cycling into the mix which really helped build my core strength up, then I was able to run the distances again and began to build up my miles so at the beginning of September I decided I was going to go for the half marathon and do my best.

IMG_5782It’s always emotional at the start line, especially for me as a sensitive empath soul. I did have to fight back a few tears as we did the warm up with the music booming through the crowds of participants and supporters all cheering and anticipating the 13.2 miles of tarmac ahead. Once through that start line it’s amazing what you tell yourself to keep pressing on. The first 4 miles are usually pretty easy, I ran them at a good pace, the next four a bit more grueling and uphill in parts, then the next 4 miles you know you are over the halfway mark and on the home straight to some extent but this is when it gets serious and you can see some stopping to walk and hear the tiredness in the pants and puffs of those running alongside, by that time the supporters cheers are even getting tired! Reaching the crowds on the home straight is always a great feeling, you know you’re practically there, so I pushed to try to scrape a few extra minutes off the race time and then threw a fist in the air as I thankfully crossed the finish line.

IMG_5796 (2)Running has been something that has given me a sense of purpose, triumph, fulfillment, accomplishment and pride over these past few years since I started in 2008 with my first 5K Race For Life I built up to 10K’s, then half marathons and managed my first full one in 2012, another one being contemplated! 

I find having goals like this to aim for as a challenge help to keep me focused and disciplined, and create a physical parallel to balance the other more desk oriented work that I do. When I’m running my mind clears, or I think things through, pray even sometimes with music playing softly in the background as a constant ambiance from my Iphone playlist selection.

When I’m running it doesn’t feel so bad being on my own, similarly with cycling. As a creative Empath soul, alone is something I have tended to be quite a lot of my life in one way or another. As an artist, creativity has no finish line, maybe lots of small deadlines to complete projects but no great finale and certainly no medals, so doing something like this in tandem with my musical productions provides me with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that so far I have not found in quite the same way through art.

Music has been my running partner from the start. In the earlier events and training all I ever used to listen to was house music, a few years later down the line my selection is now a bit more varied with some other favorites added in there from the 70’s, 80’s and other classic favorites. During this run I particularly remember when TYREE – “ACID OVER” came on around 9K and that giving me a great boost!  Going for a run with the right music makes me feel great, especially if there is a bit of sunshine, but even on the colder Autumn and winter days, that crisp fresh air and then coming home to a warm flat and a hot shower feels good to my soul.

Participating in these bigger events allows me to feel like I am here, I matter, I am somebody, a runner, a something, I am a winner in this at least, maybe not in love, not so much in money, or even my music either to any great extent, but at least on these occasions I beat those that said I couldn’t or shouldn’t and I got my medals. I won them all with my valiant courage and determination and nobody can deny that or take that away from me.
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