Tuesday, August 3, 2010

(Walk) All Summer Long

I've not written in a while. Somewhere around the back end of May I picked up a bit a lower left leg problem. It started as being slightly sore but then escalated from there and saw most of the summer wiped out for running. The numbers say it all - May 120miles but June 57miles and July a pitiful 46miles. Not great. It wasn't helped by the fabulous Harriers away weekend at Gairloch. What a place! Friday night saw us all gathered on the beach, kids playing, adults having a wine or two around a seaweed bonfire. It's amazing what having a fire does to keep young kids occupied feeding it fuel and tending it. They kept that fire going ALL weekend.
The running was broken into two groups, the morning gentler run and the afternoon tougher run. Being slow to rise I opted for the afternoon run - what a mistake! It turned out to be a run from sea level up a munro [Siloch]. What a mistake. After a 3mile run in it started to turn into a several mile scramble up a dry stream bed over just too big boulders. I was with 4 other experienced hill runners who seemed to cruising up, followed by this panting, large excuse in a pair of road shoes. A second group was starting 30-40mins behind us, but by the first [false] summit they had caught me. I can remember standing on a ledge, on what seemed like a near vertical face watching Phil T and Will simply bound up the slope as if they were running on the flat. Truly amazing how they do that.
We all met up at the first summit for a quick photo
After making our way to the other actual summit, the mountain goats were going to ridge run across to [yet] another peak before heading straight down a scree slope and on home wards. I had decided that I was too tired for any more and that going back the way I came was the best option. On the way back Graeme Martin joined me to keep in pairs [thanks Graeme!], but have a look at this shot Phil M took of us heading down - look how steep it is!!
Anyway to cut a long story short, I eventually made it down [mainly walking] and had to give up running the last 3 miles home because of sore feet.
I have never ever done such a totally exhausting thing and slept all night on the Saturday from far too early. I have also never had such big blisters on the sole of my feet before - they covered almost the entire width of my foot in one big bulbous blister - on both feet too.
So that didn't help the sore leg much either really I suppose, but June and July were wiped out through injury. As the fitness drained away, a couple of other things I struggle with re-appeared and they all combined to make running very hard both physically and mentally. Even our holiday was doomed for running. I had taken new shoes with me - the intention being to run as regularly as I could. We only hit the biggest heat wave in New England in 30 years, and I can tell you that even attempting as big Scot to run in 110F temperatures is NOT fun. The net effect of this was that the Clyde Stride that I had entered was realistically a non-starter - which was exactly what I was!!
But in the last week or two, the injuries and things have receded enough to let me run again and want to run again. I did a leg of the (now) annual Harriers Tour de Strathearn 5x5 relay as part of 'Tony's Tigers' two weeks ago which as last year's event was a great club get together and a chance to run with people I rarely see.




























Not only that, but the evening festivities at Fiona Lyle's farm, featured Storm running like the wind in the kids race - she could be really quick I think and right now she loves athletics. It's good for young girls to find a sport they enjoy I think. Will be all too easy to drop out of it as she heads into teenager-dom. Hope the Harriers junior section comes off
Sp I'm back into running regularly at night and am hoping, just hoping that the River Ayr Way will still be on if I can get my mileage up again in the short time left - here's hoping. Whilst the last two weeks have left like running with the handbrake on, it seemed to free up a bit this week and the last two runs have not only been of decent length, but enjoyable and fast-ish too.
Maybe I will get there.............
[All photos nicked / courtesy of Phil / Liz Mestecky]

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Alsatians Licked my Ar$#.......

Nope. Not the follow up album to Zappa's "Weasels Ripped My Flesh", but truly the most bizarre thing to happen to me while out running.
I had just started a 12mi trip around Feteresso Forest last Thursday when at the first junction after the initial rise I saw a beardy guy on a bike and his Alsatian dog coming from the other leg of the junction. I assumed that they would be heading down to the car park, so was a bit surprised when a minute later the big scary Alsatian dug was running beside me. I like dogs, [I have two], but somehow Alsatians always seem a bit more threatening when you don't know them personally [despite my wife's protestations that they are just big cuddly bears as she had two as a teenager], so it was a bit worrying having this one running right beside me. After a few yards it went off, but soon reappeared. This happened two or three times, with the owner seemingly oblivious to it. Then just after I assumed it had gone of for good I felt something strange. Couldn't quite put my finger on it so to speak, but something wasn't right. I couldn't see the dug, but something was definitely odd. After a few more yards of this I glanced back to find the dug was running just behind me which is why I couldn't see it, but I also found out why I felt something was wrong. Not only was this big scary dug running behind me, it was licking the back of my shorts as it did so and must have been there for 20-30 yards!
Cripes I've had a few slightly odd experiences while out running, but never ever have I had an Alsatian lick my butt before, and to be honest I'm not that keen on repeating the exercise. One quick loud "f**&^%% sake" later and the dug was gone. Of course during this Mr Beardy mountain biker was still oblivious to what his dog was doing and as he eventually over took me at a speed that made post office queues look fast the dog took off and ran with him for all of 50 yards before stopping. I was understandably not best inclined towards this pair now, so pushed a bit faster to get past them and thankfully never saw them again all night. What was not so good though was the largish patch on the back of my shorts where the dug was licking. It felt truly horrible, like that cold damp feeling you get when you sit on a damp bench. It took the best part of an hour before the sensation disappeared.
Anyway apart from that, and getting a bit lost [ended up in a field when I should have been in the middle of a forest], the run was pretty good and rounded out as a decent 12 and a bit miles.
For the weekend I hadn't really planned much mileage as on Saturday we were across at Oban getting the boat ready for the season. Brilliant sunny day and we all had a great day faffing around and playing in the boat and rubber dinghy. Will be good to get sailing again this year and I must get the Int Canoe ready to sail too. Managed to get out for a brief 3miler round Aberuchill with the dogs when we got home though.
On Sunday it was the Glen Lednock 8 mile road race which starts a whole 100yrds from our house. I was not for running in it in order to protect my knee from the steep downhill return leg and opted for bacon and eggs for breakfast and watching a cracking turnout of 13 Harriers take part though. Phil T was first Harrier in [4th O/A] and it was good to see him return to form after what seems to have been a testing start of the year for him. As Gregor had a birthday party to go to in the afternoon, I got the chance for an unexpected run in the afternoon. Thought about doing a last minute Crianlarich - Tyndrum and back but decided didn't quite have time for that and headed out for somewhere around 8-10 miles. Ended up doing 17 miles of the Tour De Strathearn, going Comrie up to Braefordie and along to the Turret dam. Walked/ran down from the dam to the base of the hill [knee again!] before running past the Famous Grouse [what a lovely smell from the kitchens as you go past on a Sunday] and out along Lady Mary's Walk to Strowan Road, before the perilous last few miles along the A85 to Comrie. Absolutely parched in those last few miles as I ran out of drink with 2-3 miles to go. So it was with some relief then to finish the run at the Costcutter where buying a juice, a coke and a bottle of wine allowed me to cover all possible options as far as my thirst was concerned! Good run, but I was absolutely puggled in the evening. OK - so Sunday's fueling was not exactly of the elite variety - bacon/eggs for breakfast, no lunch and only 3 coffees for drinks before my run which did not exactly set me up properly, but I was immensely knackered Sunday night.
What was more surprising is just how tired I was on Monday too. I went out for my run, but struggled even to do 3 miles. Just could not have gone further, so went home and ate a huge portion of emergency pasta in the hope that I could run decently again on Tuesday. Did it work? - Yes. I'm just back in from 8 miles round the forest, and while it was not my finest run ever, it was OK, and it was 8 miles. Conclusion? - I'm rubbish at this dietary stuff!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Running Clenched

ARRGHH! Cracking run last night - almost the exact opposite tonight, but worse.
Last night was a romp around Fetterso Forest neat Stonehaven. Brilliant, brilliant place. 8 and a bit miles through the forest tracks, some biggish climbs, the odd deer around and I even saw a pine martin in the wild, just 20 feet from me. As usual started slow and grunty on the climb from the car park into the wind, but come 4miles I started to fly [all relative of course!] and was in full fast cruise mode my 5 miles. Last 2 miles were almost reaching respectable [sub 8min] speeds. What's more knee was strong, form felt better and the hills seemed comfortable.
Today though - I had spent a bit of time working up a training plan for the River Ayr Way in September to guide me for the next 20 weeks or so. This week, even though it was the 'first' of the plan, has been a bit messed up by the emergency trip offshore at the weekend and I [foolishly] put down a 15mile run from Altens to Milltimber and back for tonight. First of many 'schoolboy errors' tonight.
They were:-
1. Stupidly I put two 'hard; sessions next to each other. Last night was fast through the forest tracks. I should have had an easy today, but no...like the prat I am I decided to run longish. To cut a long story short my ITB, which has been improving rapidly, decided to remind me it's still there and flared up about 9 miles in. Plodded on, but by 12.5 miles it was too much and it was time to call a taxi to take me the last couple of mile back to the office.
2. Having Hienz chilli baked beans last night, with salad, bran flakes for breakfast and more fruit and salad for lunch. I'll let you work out the rest, but I must have ran out the busy Deeside Way tonight with the tightest clenched buttocks in the history of Aberdeen. No where to go, not recommended and pretty stressful at times.
3. It's pretty clammy up here, and in the rush to go offshore on sunday I only packed one light running tee. That got well soaked with rain and sweat last night, and while it was dry today, by 7 miles into tonight's run I was soaked with sweat, and it was not evaporating away. Result - the tee shirt turned to sandpaper and gave me runners nipple - both sides. Lovely.

So if you can imaging me with cheeks tightly clenched, slightly worried expression on my face, checking out every clump of bushes that might offer cover while running with one knee throbbing and nipples being rubbed raw you can see why tonight was not the best. Basic, stupid mistakes, but it's what makes this lark such a challenge really and probably more of a mental exercise than it is often given credit for.
Thankfully I'm, at heart, a positive person, I can usually see the plus side of most things. OK the ITB complained, but that was on a longish run after a hard run the night before and a hard run on saturday. It's still improving though and I have no doubt I could run an easy or shortish session tomorrow if I wanted to. Likewise, I really need to layout a training plan for daily stretches and strengthening exercise, as I'm far too guilty of only doing them when I'm injured.
Ever onwards I suppose!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Just a Little Fling

Saturday was the Highland Fling 53 mile race from Milngavie up to Tyndrum. I decided after the D33 that even attempting this was not the correct thing to do. As if to reinforce that decision, the ITB I picked up at the D33 has made much running awkward lately. However and it is a big however, I got put onto a team for the Fling relay who were short of a runner or two by the ever running Ian Beattie. I am so so thankful for that call Ian 'cos I had a great time. The arrangements were tricky with me meeting Stan at the end of leg 1, to run me down to the start [and back to the car] before handing over to Liz Mestecky for leg 2 who would then hand onto Stan himself, before Sarah from the legendary Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum to complete course to Tyndrum.
So there I was lining up beside the other relay runners in an underpass an hour or three after the ultra guys had headed off. I have to say it is a strange place to start a long distance path like the WHW, but I guess it is what it is. As usual I started off slow and grunting working my way through Mugdock park at the back of the relay pack. About five minutes into the run my phone [carried for safety purpose may I add!] went off. I missed trhe call, but the voice mail was my boss saying something about incident... offshore... call please. So there I was running on the WHW for the first time ever, phoning him back and saying, "I'm running from Milngavie....[pant] can I call you later...[pant].....". Not really the usual start to a race is it? Ten minutes in began to feel decent, by twenty minutes feeling great, but the long long downhill section near Dumgoyach was not good for my ITB, so that was walked down. Fabulous feeling though as I broached that initial crest and looked out towards Glengoyne. Somewhere after the bottom of that section, I and the two girls I was following managed to 'get lost' and somehow missed the turn onto the railtrack and ended up going east up onto the main road and along there till we met the WHW again. By this point I was feeling bl*/*dy marvellous and started getting into that lovely fast cruise mode where I was running easy, yet faster than at any point before. I've kinda decided that 10Ks are not for me. It takes me 4-5miles to get warmed up and into that fast cruise mode and by that time a 10K is almost over!
The last few miles flew by as they do when I'm running well and in the groove. Was a bit surprise by the few steep hills right at the end before Drymen, but half a mile or so out, Stan met me and ran in with me up and down those last few hills to the handover with Liz. Not my best run ever, but nevertheless one of my favourites to date.
The big surprise was at the handover where apart from Liz, there were a few other Harriers there. It's so good to see unexpected faces when you finish.
After getting home to Jo and Gregor we went and picked up Storm who had been running in her first ever X-country race for the school. She finished a very respectable 61st from 119, which is brilliant. Given by the way she was struggling later on, I think she must have run her little heart out. What a superstar! It seemed a shame to drag them all over the Tyndrum, but I was keen to see the finish, meet up with our team and see if we could see Ian and Graham finish the full event. We ended up staying till nine, keeping Graham's family company while they waited for him to finish, which we did 10mins or so before the cutoff. An absolutely brilliant performance from Graham in his first Fling and he had never ran beyond 33 miles before.
What did I learn that day then?
  1. If I have any Fling / WHW ambitions I need to get out there and know the route. I managed to 'get lost' on the easiest section of the easiest section and knowing the route means also there are no surprise hills to greet you - only bl*/*dy big hills you know about already.
  2. The Fling, and by extension the WHW are brutal affairs, but achievable. Not every finisher I saw was a young racing snake by any means. If they can, I can, not because I'm competitive BTW, but because I just want to do it.
  3. Only in Scotland could we have an Ultra race sponsored partly by a chip shop [even if it is the best Chip shop in the world]
  4. Don't answer the phone during races. I missed half my weekend as I ended up sat on a special chopper out of Aberdeen on sunday morning with 2 other guys from work to see what on earth had gone wrong.
  5. Lastly and most importantly - injuries do go away. at times they feel like 'I'll never run again', but mind over matter, rest and recovery they do go away and we get to run again and in many ways that feels better than anything almost.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Falling Forward

Hey, I put some new shoes on,
And suddenly everything is right,
I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody's smiling,
It so inviting,
Oh, short on money, But long on time,
Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,
And I'm running late, dont need an excuse,
'cause I'm wearing my brand new shoes
(Paulo Nutini)

Well mondays night's run was a 5-ish mile trip round Stonehaven, and despite the new insoles the Saunconys were feeling, well, a bit...err solid and clunky. So that was it - definitely need new shoes. With the best part of 400miles on them, the Sauconys had had there day and needed to be retired so it back into Run4It to try the ASICs they had got in for me on. I have to say they felt good and compliant in the shop, and since they have a great reputation for cushioning the heavy runner, so as long as they fitted I was going to buy them - which I did [obviously].
Tonights run was planned to be back round Scolty hill at Banchory again, but gale force, freezing winds and occasional blizzards during the day persuaded me to stick to shelter. As I headed out of the flat for a trip round Ury Estate north of Stonehaven, the ASICs felt lovely. Just like my first pair of Sauconys did. Not squishy or indistinct underfoot, but rather soft and compliant. Good choice was the first impression. The other matter to attend to was my attitude. Not my mental state or outlook on running, but the way I run. I know I have a strange running style. I seem to lean backwards with my legs pulling me forwards each step and while it feels ok for me, I know it looks bizarre. Really really odd, and photos of me running rarely look like I'm actually moving at all. I believe it is due to my highly trained [not!] super relaxed abdominal muscles as the picture below shows.
I know I need to change how I run if I'm to improve, and tonights focus was on leaning forward as espoused by several of the current running books. I have to say the whole 'falling forward' thing is a bit odd for me, not least as it means I 'm looking down slightly and not ahead as I usually do. It took a bit of concentration to try and hold that position, but I found a couple of mental images and preprioceptive thoughts to hold onto and they seemed to help. The result? I seemed to run noticably faster, but breathing was a but harder at first, and heart rate was up a bit. However when I got past my usual 5 mile warm up period that all became a bit easier and while heart rate was up, it was comfortable and breathing was slow and easy.
All told a cracking run. The first decent one in ages. 6.1 miles in 57 minutes, including a a stiff climb out of Stonehaven, and a few stops for traffic etc. What's more the shoes felt fabulous, the ITB gave no more than the slightest tiny twitch to remind me it's still there [but responding really well to rehabilitation] and I was running freely for the first time in a couple of weeks, and felt like I could have gone on easily enough. What more could any runner ask for? Not running in an evening blizzard in mid april for a start perhaps.....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ITB, Hills and Doubles

I'm beginning to realise just what the D33 took out of me. Barely ran at all last week with my left knee giving me some gip. 100% sure it is ITB with a sharp pain below the knee but on the outside of the 'top' of the lower leg bone [if that makes sense]. Like all injured runners I've been doing my research on this and have turned again to the mighty tome that is "The Lore of Running" by Tim Noakes MD. He feels this is a injury that strikes stiff footed runners [tick], often strike when the hip abductors are fatigued [tick - after 20m in the D33] and is caused by a lack of shock absorbtion in the leg. This is interesting as for ages now I've puzzled about the way my feet behave, when viewed from above, when I'm running. The left foot always seems to run straight and directly ahead landing midfoot and bolt upright, but the right seems to land on the outside edge and roll inwards. I have thought that the right foot was 'wrong', but I've re-assesed this and am now of the opinion that the right foot is behaving 'correctly' landing supinated and rolling inward to absorb the footstrike and the left foot is a rigid 'clunk' foot. Hence if there was one side going to be prone to things like ITB it would be the left side.
As another side issue, that has become suddenly relevant is my shoes. Since I took up running a few years ago I've run in Saucony Triumphs. The first pair I had [triumph 5s] were brilliantly cushioned and did me really well for a year. The next pair were triumph 6s and my current pair are triumph 7s. With each new model I've had the impression that they were not as cushioned as the first pair, but was inclined to think of that as some sort of memory distortion from nostalgia. I am sure they are actually stiffer now having dug my beloved first pair out and compared them both closely. The reason this has become relevant is that Tim Noakes advice is that ITB often comes from too stiff shoes and what is often required is a change to softer shoes for the 'clunk' footed runner along with stretching of the ITB and hip abductor strengthening.
So since my current pair have around 350miles on them, it is almost time for a change so I popped into Run4It in Aberdeen and tried on a few pairs with the help of a really helpfull Kiwi guy. As it turned out the pair of ASICs I might try were not available in my size, but I bought a pair of sorbothane inserts to help cushion my existing shoes some more. So did this work?
Last week and on monday I ran around the beach at Stonehaven. At exactly the same point the pain arrived some 2.1miles into the loop. On tuesday, after getting the insoles, I headed out to Banchory and the trails around Scolty hill. Never been here before, but a tip from a pal at work about places to run off tarmac pointed me towards this spot. Scolty is a quite prominent hill on the southside of the Dee with a tall tower at it's summit. I headed off on the forest track, and while not exactly lost followed my nose this way and that around the base of the hill before heading almost vertically up through scrub along a mountain bike 'down' track, before the final semi run-able push to the top.
What a great view. The path down from there was very steep,and since the knee is not brilliant downhill at the moment, this was walked down. No matter. When I got to the bottom it was time to run again and off around the base of the hill again I went. I even found myself running fast [for me] in the last mile or so with my Garmin recording sub 8min/mi pace which is almost unheard of. All in that was a 4.5mile run in a beautiful place with only very mild discomfort on the knee which is a huge improvement on what had been possible just the night before.
One other thing Noake's book says is that running can continue but only up to the point of discomfort at which point it must stop. To try and keep the fitness up I have decided to try doing 'doubles' or two runs a day on some days. The idea is to split each run i would normally do into 2 parts, neither of which goes past the point of discomfort. One minor problem. I have never been able to get up early to exercise. I can get up at 5am for work or travel but have never, even when I was sailing Finns seriously internationally could I get up and train. This morning the plan was to get up at 6:30 and get out for a run. Of course that failed, but at 7am guilt got the better of me and out I went. Just 2.5miles round the beach, but do you know what - I really enjoyed it! Tonight was the other half and I headed out along the cliffs to Dunottar and beyond. When i reached the bottom of the Bervie Braes I ran into the middle of a pack of a dozen other local runners as they came round the corner and headed up the hill. I have to say they did look a bit confused at where I had come from and who I was, but after pegging slowly behind them for a bit decided to blank them out and run at my own speed up the hill, which was a tad faster than they were going. Lovely run out to Dunottar, taking care to walk the steep downhills, but running the flats and uphills seems to cause little problem right now. Absolutely cracking sun in the spring sunshine and a nice 5miles to finish the day off. Definitely going to 'do doubles' again. It's a great feeling to have run twice in one day, even if it was only 7 and a bit miles in total.
I have noticed that I do seem to cruise a tad faster and easier than prior to the D33, but that my strength in my legs seems to have been sapped. I knew that the D33 would take it out of me, but here I am two weeks later still feeling the effects. Hopefully by next weekend I'll be fit enough to be able to run in the Fling relay if that comes together. It would be a shame to miss it and my first venture onto the WHW route.
One last important milestone though - my belly has reduced enough to allow me to wear my Harriers 25th anniversary running top for the first time. It's only a year since I got it but my gut used to stick out of the bottom and 'flap in the breeze' so I've never worn it before. How good [and bad] is that!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Goals and Gates

Well a few days after the D33 and I'm still fairly sore and stiff, [but not as bad as I have been previously] and thoughts are turning to what to do next. I had posted a question on the Fling and WHW forums about whether the Fling would be do-able for me and despite overwhelming encouragement to go for it, I'm getting more of the the opinion that not to do the Fling is the correct thing to do. It's not that I perhaps couldn't do it, and it's not that I'm afraid of failing, but more that right now it does not seem the right thing to do. To everybody who gave their encouragement on the forums I say a big thanks and I'll I hope you'll understand the reasons why.
The D33 was a stretch 3 month goal for me. Well a bit more than a goal actually, more like a combined goal and gate. Now I've made it through the gate I have a whole bunch of possible ways from here I can go. If I had not made it to the gate the options would not have been there. One thing I had discussed was doing the Speyside Way or River Ayr Way, but both of those were highly dependant on how the D33 went. If I hated the D33 I would not even be thinking about those races, and would probably be thinking about alternative challenges to try. As it happened I enjoyed the D33 and those 1 or 2 races later this year seem like a reasonable next step. To move quickly into cliches, one mistake I probably made in the D33 was to try to run too fast too soon. I think entering the Fling this year would be that sort of mistake. It will still be there next year and I have to remember if I am going to try a bit more ultra running, that the long view is important not only in the event but in the process of getting there too.
I made tons of schoolboy errors in the D33, but like all experience it is only when you have made the mistakes do you have a chance of eliminating them. A colleague at work last week used the proverb "you build your first boat for your enemy, your second for your friend and your third for yourself". I kind of like that and in many ways the D33 was like building my first boat.
So where now?
I am slowly condensing my thoughts into a route map to take forward. At the moment I know what is possibly over the page [2011], but I'm not looking to closely at that at the moment. The Speyside and River Ayr ways are 20-23 weeks away, which is a tad too long for me to plan effectively towards so I'm going to probably find some intermediate goal to work towards. I'm working offshore for 3 days now which will help my legs recover a bit more and hopefully give me time to formulate a plan to get me to the Speyside or River Ayr events in top form.
Right now I think the plan will have to include:-
Speedwork - I only really concentrated on 'going long' in the run up to the D33. I should really make more of an effort to run with faster runners to drag my speed up a bit. If I can go a bit faster I need to be out there for less time.
Strength - I'm 99% sure my knee problem was ITB brought on as my legs fatigued. I need to spend more time running on the trails as I think since most of my training was on easy running tarmac, the soft trails at the weekend had big effect.
More weight loss. I'm now 110kgs down from ~118kgs at xmas. Getting down to double figures will make a huge difference I'm sure to both of the above. One thing I don't lack though is momentum!
Mileage. I do need to up my mileage a bit and keep the LSD going. More off road track running is required for sure.


I grew up in Troon and my folks still live there so a run to Ayr will have significance for me. So the overall goal/gate I've set for the remander of the summer is to do the River Ayr Way and possibly the Speyside Way as a warm up 3 weeks before [What am I saying! a 35mile run as a wrm up event!]. Beyond that lies only dreams and is too far away to make concrete plans for. This time though I also want to run almost all of it and not run/walk for a third of it. So the next immediate step is to formulate an outline training plan while I am offshore this week and more importantly a philosophy to allow the plan to change and respond as stuff happens through the year [as it will]. As always all and any suggestions and input is gratefully recieved.

One final thing - I have recieved several very kind comments both on here and from fellow Strathearn Harriers about the D33. I am truely deeply touched by all of them and the sense of being part of a community they bring. Thank you again and again!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Deeside 33

Well I did it. I completed the D33 ultra. Perhaps not in the manner I would have prefered, but I finished never the less. I am so happy about it regardless as this was always going to be a bit of a long shot. I had done the Glen Clova half in november [badly] after a very sparse year of running for all sorts of reasons, and then did zero through till xmas. It was just after new year that tired of being fatter than I would like and with a bit of a sore back I decided to get back into running more forcefully as a kind of new years resolution. So on the 7th of Jan I headed out for a whole 2 miles which was as much as I could honestly manage at the time. I had no great plans per se, perhaps hill racing, but somewhere around the middle of january I heard of the Deeside 33, and since it was the first place I ever ran any distance [a whole 6 miles] it had a certain appeal. Could I do it? Get up to that sort of mileage in a bit under 3 months from where I was. Probably not was the answer, but heh! - worth a go regardless. From there I kept the idea pretty quiet, only asking the sage advice of Ian Beattie at the Harriers 'do' if it was even worth trying.
Well I did it. Including today's run I've done 407 miles this year which is way more than the whole of 2009. Chuffed is not the word

As to the event -the forecast was rain, heavy rain, but apart from a few showers it stayed dry. Two other Harriers were running - Graham Martin and Ian Beattie. Jo did try and get a picture of Ian but he ran off as the photo was taken and she ended up with a picture of someone else!

For Graham this was his 30mile test before the Fling, for Ian his 75th ultra/marathon on his 20th year of running anniversary.

Definetly felt like the proverbial fat boy at the back amongst all the racing snakes, but as the race started droppped into a [possibly too quick] 9:00ish pace. Felt really good all the way out past Culter, but was starting to flag a bit as I came into the Milton of Crathes car park where Jo and the kids had arrange to meet me. Storm was there to greet me on the approach path and Gregor near the road.
From there it was only a mile and a half to half way, which seemed to be some sort of party in the woods, with lots of runners taking advantage of the free jam sandwiches and cake.
The return leg was not so good. I hit left knee pain which meant I was struggling to run freely and started on a long run/walk cycle to get me home. There was no way I was giving up, but it was a long unpleasant trip home. A Culter station I went to take a small stone out of my shoe and got hit by severe cramp in the left calf which had me rolling about in absolute agony much to the amusement of a few old grannies. I admit to reaching for the phone and canning the run, but decided to wait till it cleared and keep going. I learned later that Graham had had some hip problems, but Jo and the kids wouldn't let him give up and get in the car! Not sure if he was thankfull at the end or not. That last 6 miles or so was tough, but despite my knee and calves my head was good and I was in pretty decent spirts. No way was I giving up!
So 6hrs, 35 minutes after the start I crawled across the line.
I may not have had a super race but I think the smile on my face says it all. I actually really enjoyed it. The others? Ian finished literally miles ahead in 4:37 and was thankfully still around. Graham finished half an hour ahead of me in 6:05, but I'll let him clarify what his finishing mood was.
The funniest bit though has to be the finish. I had ran / walked the last 10miles and while it was not great it worked and my legs never felt like I could not move them. 30 seconds after the finish though they locked and it took me ages of waddling like a penguin to go the 30yards across to the car. Getting in the car was even more hilarious!
So all in all a good day, and the question of willI do an ultra again is yes - I may have only done the 75% I predicted and walked the other 25%, but my head was in the right place and for sure I will do another. I had toyed with the idea of the Fling, but I'm way way off being strong enough for that. Next year though? Hmmmm.

Friday, April 2, 2010

12hrs 42minutes 28 seconds to go

As I write this, my countdown timer on the PC tells me it is 12hrs 42minutes 28 seconds to go till I start the D33. Absolutely bricking it and excited at the same time about it. This will be my first ultra marathon and to be honest I'll be doing my first marathon on the same day, just before the final 10k and bit needed to get to the 33mile mark. There are two other Harriers running - Ian who does this sort of thing every week [it seems] and Graham who I think is probably in the same place as me, but is probably a stronger faster runner. Best of luck to both of them!
I don't think I have ever been so well prepared logistically for anything. Not even when I was sailing internationally on a regular basis had I covered the bases as well as tonight. All my gear is chosen, drinks made up, backpack stocked, lightweight phone charged, spares of everything. We even recc'ied where Jo and the kids are going to meet me [1.5 before the half way mark at Milton of Crathes]. I've tapered, been carefull this week with my ankle [almost there I think!], even carbed up according to the book and no alcohol since my birthday on tuesday. Estimated times are 2:30-2:45 to half way mark and 6:00 - 6:30 to finish.
Everything suggests I can do this, but that hasn't stopped me sleeping badly all week thinking about this run till the early hours. Tonight will be late-ish bedtime with Horlicks to help me along before getting up at 6 for porridge and bananas.
Will I succeed? If the ankle holds up and I can make it back to Milltimber bridge [mile 27] I am sure I can. Will I though? - I'll find out tomorrow!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A week to go

A week to go till the D33 and I've hit the first real threatening injury I've had. My right ankle is a bit sore and stiff and I think there is a bit of tendonitis around it. Can't seem to run without 'clonking' a bit on the right leg at the moment, but I know that after half an hour or do it does free up a good bit. I think I may have over cooked it a bit in the Alloa Half,but what the hell - it was also worth it to do sub 2hr and ultimately this is about the process of getting there and not the path itself.
I've only done 14miles or so this week, which is fairly well as planned [20ish planned] and I think the best bet for next week is to do no running, perhaps a bit of cycling though and to ice it twice a day and munch some ibuprofen. It will be hard to resist the desire to run and the fear of going backwards, but come Saturday I am running the D33 and nothing is going to stop me!
Had ran today really badly with a mix of clunky right ankle and heavy legs that left me wondering what has happened. The heavy legs I'm putting down to eating rubbish yesterday and today, so I'm going to be very conscious from here on in of what I eat.
I know that almost exactly a month ago I had a similar bad clunk run at Hartlepool, which was probably the start of this ankle impediment, but that was also after a couple of days of eating badly [travelling] and was followed by three cracking weeks.
Anyway here's hoping for a more comfortable few day and having plenty of get up and go on Saturday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A half of Alloa

Good weekend all round. On the Saturday we walked as a family from the Turret Dam across the hill to Braefordie and from there down to Lawers. What a cracking walk. Jo loved it Storm ran most of it, the dogs loved and Gregor - well secretly he loved it too! Poor lad. It is a long walk for him and although he wanted carried from almost the word go he managed until well into the descent to Lawers where I carried him on my shoulders for a bit. That was a bad mistake for me but he was glad of it. All in all a superb day out, with bright warm sun, good fun and tired kids and dogs in the evening.
On the Sunday it was the Alloa half marathon at the weekend I had only entered the week before and was only down for the run so to speak. What I hadn't expected was how stiff and sore my calves would be after carrying Gregor on my shoulders down the hill on walk the day before. They were really really tight and sore, but I assumed [hoped] that they might free up after a few miles [they did]. Eight other Harriers were there running with one or two others in support and although I'm not a regular club runner, as I'm never around when the runs are on there is something really special about being part of the Harriers at an event. So I lined up in the middle of the biggest event I had ever been in chatting away with Liz Tipping as the hoard moved forward towards a big sign that said FINISH. Not sure why for such a well organised event they had the sign back to front, but it was Alloa after all! The first few miles were the usual slow plod and doubts about whether I could do this, but of course 20-30 minutes into it things improved, I found my groove and started to pull the pace back up. It might not have looked like it but spent a most enjoyable 5 or so minutes running beside Colin and Fiona who seemed to be constantly chatting, joking, running ahead for photos or berating the locals for not waving back. I might have had my 'this is painfull' face on - but I did enjoy their company. Colin's report is hilarious as usual and is well well worth a read - here [and the photo below is from there too BTW].
I had had quiet hopes before the start that I might break the 2hr barrier [despite my pleadings of no such interest to Phil T before the start] and as I pulled the pace up my watch was telling me this might be on. To be honest I LOVED the race from that point. I've never had the pleasure of overtaking people before, and for the next 8miles or so that's what I did - and it felt great. Even right at the end I was running strong and finished in 1:57:01, nearly 19minutes faster than the dreaded Glen Clova of last year. Not only was the result good but I finished with a huge smile on my face - a prerequisite in my book for any run, but I'm absolutely stoked with the result. Beginning to realise that the half is a good distance for me. Long enough for me to get up to speed and then work away at it, without being overly long. Would really like to get under 1:50 before the season end and might do the Loch Leven half in may if time allows.
The other news is that I've now decided to stop keeping quiet about what all this training has been for as I've got to the point where [as I said before] I'm 75% sure I'll complete what I've entered and even if I don't I'll be cool with that outcome as well. So as I was speaking to Ian Beattie and Phil T I let them know that I've entered the Deeside 33 in two weeks time. Ian is running it [he did 38 miles on the Saturday and then the half marathon on the Sunday!!!] and had seen my entry online. I reckon he'll be home with his feet up before I finish the run itself. Anyway Ian and Phil both reckoned that if i can do 23 regularly I can do 33. - Hope so.
One other milestone is that I have now ran more miles in the first 2-1/2 months of 2010 than I did in the whole of 2009. Now that is an achievement.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Definitely Maybe.....?

Haven't posted for a week and a half or so, so it is time for an update.
Last wednesday [10th] was the weekly long run and was down to Duthie park and out the deeside way to a few miles past 'Culter, before back along the North Deeside road to Duthie park and back up to Altens. Absolutely murderous, really hard work and in the end made it to just short of 23miles. Never the less - nearly 23miles was a good run after the quickish run on the monday night. Legs were certainly tired from the start but they got me home. The following thursday was a light 3mile recovery run which went better than expected.
AsI thought the weekend was pretty hard to get anything in. It was Gregor's 5th birthday and the WHOLE wekend was consumed by it, between running round getting bits and pieces, doing the party on the saturday and the whole actual birthday on the sunday with my folks coming up as well. I did manage a quick round Aberuchill with the dogs on late saturday afternoon. Cranked the pace up a bit on the way back which felt really great. I'm not fast, but I felt fast and that is a good feeling. One other thing I did do, was to enter the Alloa half on the following weekend. I was not going to do this already, but right now it makes little difference to my training if I do it or not, so on that basis I might as well enter and see how I do. Expectations? None. Just going to go and run and be there with the other Harriers. If I feel good I 'll go hard, otherwise it's another 13miles logged on what will be my peak week.
This week started with a 7.5miler out the cliff path to Dunottar and back round the outer loop of Stonehaven. Once again hard hills out to the castle, a mile cool down back into town and down the Bervie Braes, before upping the pace and running hard for the next 3miles or so. It is nice to find the miles I'm doing having secondary effects on my speed and stamina at beyond my usual plod. Wednesdays long run was almost a disaster. Had been in a meeting ALL day and had only had sandwiches and coffee so fueling and hydration were 'nearly not sh*t'! I got back to my desk at 4ish and went to make up a sports drink only to find the bottle smelt a bit suspect. Bother! No worries I'll pick up a drink at the garage. So off I went. The garage only had sports drinks with phenylaniline [which triggers my asthma] or fizzy. Ended up buying a plain water and two milk shakes. A couple of miles in and my stomach did not feel good. a bit bloated and heavy. By mile 9 some where out by 'Culter I knew I had to 'go' and eventually found a place to retain my modesty! That was a real relief. Carried on from there till the light was nearly gone, almost at the point where the way reaches down to the Dee around Drumoak. The return was back into Culter and along the boring boring boring North Deeside road. This stretch was not brilliant. Stiff back of knees, several walk breaks. Not good. I even drank one of the milk shakes too quickly and ran for a bit with what felt like a brick in my stomach. As I said not brilliant. That did clear though and suddenly around mile 20 I had some oomph and made it across the dee and up to the Audi garage at the top of the ['first] hill. A few miles later [with some walking up the hills] I was back at the car. 23miles later.
Now it was not a good run. Gastric problems, badly fueled, stiff legs and upper calves very twitchy at the end, but there is one big big big plus. Mentally I was always strong and finished smiling through the pain in my jellied legs. Come sunday and the Alloa half will be the end of my peak week. Next two weeks are taper time, but will need to learn NOT to run though!!
I now rate my chances in two weeks as being 75%. That did bother me at first when I arrived at that figure, but on reflection I'm cool with it. This was always going to be a stupidly ambitious challenge and even if I don't complete I will still be a winner.
Right now though - a glass of wine and a few days off before Alloa.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Still Surprising myself

Every time I have not run for a day or two I seem to doubt my ability to run at all. Don't know why - but even after being semi-regular it never ceases to amaze me that I can run easy as I step out the door and yesterday was a fine example of that.
Hadn't run on Thurs, Friday or Saturday and needed to get out Sunday to get some miles in. So Out the door mid afternoon I went with the two dogs planning to go out Glen Artney for '7 miles or so'. As I ran across the church car park it really did feel amazing to be moving and as the title suggests I still find it surprising.
So we ran across Dalginross bridge through 'sheeps and rockets' [as the kids call the woods on the south bank of the earn there - long story BTW] and out along the Ruchill to the opposite side of the Linn. There are few things to concentrate the mind as running through trees connected to two mad dogs on a Y lead. One always has to go the other side of a tree from the other for some reason.
From there it was up through the farm and on to the Glen Artey road. I have not been out that way for ages and forgot just how high the road is above the Strath floor. It was a long long climb for about 2 miles or so to the peak. Amazing how much snow is still up there and it is amazing that folk like Phil T manage to get to work at all I guess.
Time was limited so we ran out for just under 5 miles or so and headed back. Shaun, the Sheltie was getting a bit tired so I had to call in the mountain sheltie rescue service [Jo and the kids] to pick him up and give him a lift home. As They drove off Star, the collie went nuts and tried to chase the car home [with me attached by the lead]. Daft dog, but we had a good run home together going back the way we came and I even found myself running 8's on the way along the Ruchill. All this distance running is helping my speed too it seems as I now run long at around 132BPM instead of the 145ish BPM I used to run at at the start of the year.
This week the plan is to get to the magical 25mile mark for my long mid week run and to do 40+miles. I failed by a mile and a half or so this week to get in the 40miles and this week is going to be tricky too. It is Gregor's 5th birthday on Sunday along with mothers day and my folks are visiting then too and he is having his birthday party on the Saturday. If we get any time for anything I will be surprised!
I have to say though that my targets and weekly mileages are working well. It does help to have a 'I need to do another xx miles this week' to budge you along and it's getting close to the time when we will see if all this training has worked or not. I am now thinking of doing the Alloa 1/2M 'because I can' and I don't think that will affect my overall training. The big question of course, assuming I make my goal is what next?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Running out to the west

The decision this week was whether to run long on Tuesday or Wednesday. I had run very badly on the Sunday at Hartlepool for a terrible 4miles and Monday night wasn't much better. My niggles in the right ankle were beginning to make me thing I had to back off a bit. However the forecast was for good still nights on Tuesday and wed. Tuesday was to be not too cold [-1^C] and clear skyed. Wed was forecast to be warmer [4^C] but cloudy. Anyway decided Tuesday would be best and planned to head off from work out the Deeside way / North Deeside road for 12miles before returning to work to pick the car up.
So Tuesday came. Really bright sunny day and setting off at 4:30pm it was nice to run in the weak sunshine. The Deeside way is really a pleasant route and the first place I ever did any distance at all. It was funny running past some of the places I remember from those early runs. Places where I turned back with a calf strain, or places where it felt like I had 'gone long'. So out the way I trotted and just past [the remains of] Beilside station I came to a spot of major flooding. No way round and even the cyclists were struggling through. So it was up the embankment path and out onto North Deeside Road. I didn't find a way back down though and just carried on out through Milltimber and Peterculter until I eventually ran out of pavement somewhere near Drumoak and about 5 miles from Crathes castle.
One major thing out there. I was running in shorts as I had all my running tights in the wash and out there, just at the end of the twilight it was seriously cold. Once I got back into the built up area at 'culter it really was noticeably warmer. From there it was the long way back into Aberdeen and up that bl**dy hill to Altens. It really is very very steep!
All in all a good night - 21.4 miles in around a leisurely 4hrs.
Felt really good today after the long run and by the evening was confident enough of doing a decent run with no bad effects. Would have been nice to do 5.2miles but settled for 3.8miles safe in the knowledge that I had not pushed it in anyway. The big surprise today though was at work when I was asked about where I went running to. Open mouths all around as I don't think anybody thought I was capable of doing stuff like 20mile runs. Now that felt good!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Like swimming but wetter

Like swimming but wetter.... That is how I've heard crewing on a Starboat described before. Its a boat I have had 2 off and one of the ultimate racing craft. But it is very very wet, especially for the crew up front. Tonight's run was like that. Somehow I had managed a lucky day, leaving Comrie at 5:30am to drive to St Fergus [north of Peterhead] and while the rest of Scotland seemed to be gridlocked in the snow, I managed to get a reasonable run up, even if Crieff was just passable. Once as far north as Aberdeen, it was just rain and at St Fergus it was horizontal and not the best day for having a site visit and looking at some ancient piping.
But tonight I thought I could leave work and run out for 6miles or so to Cults, and back again to the work car park.
I was prepared for the rain, but right at the 6mile mark, the pavement narrowed suddenly and for some reason I decided I had to go just another lampost before turning round. Bad mistake. as I squeezed past the narrow bit a car crashed through the large puddle beside me and absolutely bl**dy soaked me. Not a happy bunny at all and suddenly very concerned. Here I was on a rotten night, 6 miles from my car, soaked through and only 2 quid on me. Very aware of how hypothermia can strike even in town and decided there and then to turn round and run hard for bit to generate a bit of heat in my legs to dry me out. Didn't really work, but I didn't get cold and battled on into the driving rain and gale force winds back to the work car park. At the car grabbed by site overalls out the boot and put them on over my running gear to high-tail it home.
Fine and warm in the car, but really really cold the moment I stepped out the car at Stonehaven. Not good, but a quick shower sorted it all.
In all glad I went out and a reasonable 12miles, but disappointed I wasn't more prepared for the weather. I'll take my snorkel and flippers next time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not brilliant but worthwhile all the same

This week was looking like a hard week to achieve any real distance. Too much going on at work, lots of frozen ice and snow in Aberdeen and we are off to Hartlepool at the weekend to see an old friend of Jo's. But last night when I came out of work at 5ish after finishing what we were doing much earlier than planned [could have been there till as late as 8] , it was bright, sunny and still and thoughts turned rapidly to heading out for a run. At first I though I could do a dozen miles or so, but as I ran north from Stoney towards Aberdeen I started to think, well why not do 15, or 18, or 20. I had some food with me so why not. In the end I ran as far north as the where my normal run home route leaves the side of the main road and goes onto the back roads. I decided that was unnecessarily dodgy in the dark and snow, so turned to head back home at the 9mile mark.
The run home has not so good. started getting a bit of stomach cramp, either from the Muller rice I had momemts before heading out or from the frozen belly that was being exposed to the sub zero temperatures between my top and my running tights. Ended up walking up the hill at Muchalls which relived it greatly. At the top of the hill I went to get my headtorch out and found it dead! This was serious as the last 3 miles are unlit on rough track. I could get the torch to work for 1-2 seconds and then it failed. ended up running when the path was illuminated by cars and walking when it was not. Took ages to get home needless to say.
Regardless of all this, it was a worthwhile outing. Now at 23-24miles for the week. If I get another 10-12 in on thursday and squeeze another 5+ in at the weekend I will be happy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Easy week

This week is planned as an easy week. Target is 23ish miles, but not too bothered if it goes either way a bit. This works in nicely with last week's high mileage of 21/42 and the fact I'm offshore Tuesday through Thursday doing an Audit on defined life piping repairs on a couple of assets [I'm actually writing this sat at the heliport as my chopper is delayed by 2 hrs - what exciting stuff I do].
Last night though was back out to Dunottar and the outer loop of Stonehaven, although before I went out I couldn't really be ars*d as it was raining and cold. Went out anyway for what turned out to be a mixed run really, with my right ankle giving me a bit of light jip as it seems to be rolling inwards a bit at times. Perhaps it was the older shoes [~400+miles on them] or just a bit of weakness in it after the high mileage week. Anyway, the run up the Bervie braes to the summit of the path was good and strong as was the coastal path itself. First time I have done sea level to the castle gate without a pause and I think that speaks volume about my strength and aerobic gains. The last sections of the path at the castle end as it tuns inland was on very slippy grass though. From there an easy run back into Stonehaven until the 4.5mile mark when my 2nd wind came through and I cranked the pace up a bit for a couple of miles, before slowing down for the last downhill to home. Overall a nice 7.6miles and it certainly proved the old adage that you never regret the runs you do, only the runs you don't.
So if my chopper ever arrives, I'll have tonight and Wednesday night off and if I'm back on the beach reasonable on Thursday I'll probably do 3-5miles easy, which just leaves 10ish miles for the weekend. Next week however I need to get a single 25miler in on Wednesday. Strange thing is I'm almost looking forward to it and the idea of doing 25 miles now doesn't seem too outlandish!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cracking week Gromit!

Thursday night. In my last post I did wonder whether I was going to manage the week ahead. OK, so my week runs Mon-Sun and I still have the weekend to trip up on but the weekdays have been more than expected. Monday night was the [now usual] run out along the cliff path to Dunottar followed by an outer loop round Stonehaven. 7.6miles. The big run was planned for wednesday and even up till lunchtime I wasn't sure what the route would be. Could have been Stonehaven and back, or out the Deeside way, or a few miles in Aberdeen, then onto Stonehaven and a few more miles there. In the end what I decided on worked really well.
The route saw me leave Altens in Aberdeen [I work on top of the hill at Altens on the south side of Aberdeen], run downhill for about 1.5 miles [really!] to the riverside, across the Dee and back along the riverside to Anderson Drive. It is only when you get out the car and run that you notice just how hilly Aberdeen is! Anyway the route carried on up Anderson Drive to Great Western Road, before cutting along Holburn Rd to Anderson drive again, back along the river to cross again at Great Southern road and back up the very very long hill to Altens again. That gave me just under 8 miles, before the 12miles back along the A90 to Stonehaven. Once there a quick [actually slow] circuit of Cowie gave me 20.8 miles in just under 4 hours. Another new distance achievement.
In keeping with the lessons learned last week, I purposely ate more this week, consuming 2 gels, 2 small bananas, 1 gel pack sized custard [OK, but not too tasty], 1 small ambrosia custard pot [absolutely brilliant!], some jelly babies and the high-5 sports drink mix in my backpack's drinks bladder. All the way I felt warm enough, mentally strong and happy 90% of the time and generally OK. Definitely the proof of the pudding was in the eating!
Tonight's 3+ mile recovery run around the beach at Stonehaven was so much better than expected. Last week's was a bit stiff and uncomfortable in the beginning and end, but tonight's was pretty good. Just a bit of a struggle into the strong breeze at times.
So all in all, an excellent 4 days. Just short of 32miles in three runs, so just need to fit in 10-11 miles at the weekend to do my target mileage for the week.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Learning lessons and the week ahead

Last week was a pretty significant one for me with a total mileage of 39 miles against a target of 38.5. This week the plan calls for 42.5 miles and requires me to go beyond the 20mile mark for the first time ever. I've no worries in whether I can do that distance or not, the only doubt now is that because I've published it as a target something will step in and make me miss it. What could go wrong? Well lets see-
  • the weather, with more snow being forecast could make things trick again although it is looking ok so far.
  • Injury - I'm well aware I have ramped up very very quickly this year and am probably just under the injury line. so far I have only had the usual stuff round the lower leg calves and ankles. I think as long as I keep the pace comfortable I'll be ok, but I know on paper it could all go wrong very easily
  • Stuff - you know stuff - there is always something crops when you don't want it.
But on the plus side I learned a whole lot last week.
  • Fueling on the run. I'm big. Even at my reduced 112kg [this morning] I'm much bigger than most runners and since energy expended, either kinetic or potential is proportional to mass I must use more than the average runner. So....assuming most advice, like take 1 gel per 40mins is aimed at the average 75kg runner I probably need to take 1.5 x that, or 2 gels every 50mins. Last weeks long run proved that. Every time I took food in I felt warmer and mentally brighter never mind stronger or faster. I probably need to eat way more than I am at the moments on the long runs. According to Garmin, I used ~3500cals on the 17mile run, so that takes a bit of replacement!
  • Given fuel, I can run for ages and ages!
  • Keep off the hills when I'm planning a long run that week. I had done a lot of hill running in the last few weeks and last weeks my calves were just stiff as anything going up the climbs.
  • All this training is working wonders with my cold induced exercise asthma. Running much easier, no need for the Psolar mask and because I'm pushing it a bit, my heart rates are dropping rapidly. For ages I ran with little improvement. Putting the miles in over the last few weeks has brought a huge increase in aerobic ability. Great!
  • Keep worrying about getting injured. As long as the niggles are there and the threat of it hangs over me I'm more likely to run defensively. The more defensive I run, the longer I can run, in both distance and time [as in I can run next week].
So I'm looking forward to this coming week. This is my peak week of the cycle, as I'm offshore next week and have planned a step back week, before climbing again to the mid-40s the week after. Anyway, as the mileage climbs I'm getting more and more confident I can make the first goal I've set myself in some sort of comfortable shape and beginning to think maybe, just maybe I could do more and longer. Could I do the Fling or the WHW? not sure and definitely not this year, but next..... Well lets see what pans out over the next few months.
Yesterday I finished a great week off by running 5miles with the dogs and Jo cycling alongside. That was really nice, running along chatting away to her. MUST do that more often - much more satisfying than any mileage ran.

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