Sunday, January 31, 2010

Out above Braefordie sat 30/01

I had been looking at my training logs and saw that if I did 8.5miles over the weekend it would take me to the 30mile mark for the week, but if I did 15.5miles it would take me to the 100miles for the month, which is really impressive given the slow start to the year, so I took the dogs out for a long hill run before heading to the Harriers Annual do. We headed off along to Lawers/Fordies before cutting up the hill. Long long grind getting up the zig-zags as the track climbed ferociously to the high plateau. Needles to say, I walked a big proportion of that, but did run when I could. Eventually we broke out of the trees and onto the plateau with the ruins of Braefordie up ahead. Star [the collie] was nuts all day and she was pounding along desperate to run free, but I'm conscious of the wildlife up there and kept them on the leads.
Running through Braefordie is always odd. Such a desolate place and so beautiful at the same time. Last time we were up here we got slightly lost, but I had taken the OS map with me and we soon found that after Braefordie we had to climb a steep embankment for 50-100m to reach the track above. From here we ran east towards Turret dam along a cracking land rover track. The plan was to be out for 2 hours so we kept on going till we had done 5 mile out [around 1:15:00 or so]. Absolutely fantastic to be up there on a sunny, but freezing day.
It was a lovely run back, stopping briefly to take a snap of Braefordie from above with Strathearn and the southern mountains in the distance. All in all a great couple of hours spent out with the dogs. Poor Shaun [the Sheltie] was real tired on the way back in the last few miles and kept on running under my feet. Not built like a collie for long days on the hill.
In the end it was 10.08miles in 2:16. Not a rapid run, but given the elevation gain I'm quite happy and it pushed me over the 30mile weekly run mark for the first time ever!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Run home from work - 27th Jan

For ages I've thought about running home from work one night. Its about 11.5-12 miles from Altens in Aberdeen to Stonehaven and apart from a few big long hills, is relatively level. So in my new found running buzz I decided to go for it. Before I've prevaricated - always to busy, too cold, too windy, too wet etc etc. Tonight no real excuses. Strong NW breeze [i.e. behind me], warmish at 4-5degC.
So left work at 5:50 and headed out. I'd looked at the route before and new most of the important bits. From Altens, head south along the path beside the dual carridgeway to the south turn off for Cove. From there for a mile or so it was on unlit back roads with the head torch on [and red torch on my backpack] taking care to assume the cars had not seen me. Noticed a couple of potential paths I could use next time to keep me off the road. For some reason the Garmin lost about a mile at this point - perhaps I pressed the wrong button by accident. Anyway I was soon out beside the main A90 motorway and ran along on the well lit path that runs beside it. I knew I had a couple of bail out points and it was not long before Iwas at the first, Asda at Portlethen, but I was going strong and plodded on past it. Next bail out point was the new Tesco Express at Newtonhill, after the long long climb up the hill to get there that is!
Once again no need to even think about escaping. Tescos marks a big change in the route. It stays beside the motorway, but heads out into the dark countryside, but remains lit for a couple of miles. All I needed to do was run down to Muchalls, then back up the long long hill on the otherside before the next chage of route style. At the top of the hill, the lights stop and the path becomes a simple mud/grass/stone track. Back on with the headtorch then! This lasts for 2miles before I eventually reached the turn off for Stoney. What a great feeling it was to turn off down the hill [which incidently felt like running uphill for some reason???].
Running down into Stoney I was smiling and loving it. I could easily have gone on for a fair bit, legs were good, breathing easy and spirits high. Compared to the Glen Clova half this was bliss and reminded me of just how much I love running long and running from place to place. Speed is not important for me, though it would be nice to be faster in short events, and it seems i can cruise at 10-11 min/mile for ages and ages.
I think I will be doing this every week now!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thoughts on the Devils Burden and by Torch to Dunottar

Thinking back over the last couple of days about the Devils Burden and how I did. Apperently, or allegedly I was a "worrying shade of grey" when I finished! Well I did give it my absolute all and was pushing hard that last stretch into the finish. Funnily enough though I was a bit off the barf point though, so guess I should have gone a bit harder still.
My overriding memory of the leg though was how hard my calves ached on the way up. By the time I reached the top of the muddy field they were aching and rock solid, and from there my breathing took a pounding and never really recovered. Now Stoney is a hill place and I did hill repeats last week, and tonight did the long slog from the harbour up the Bervie Braes to the monument. Both of them were nothing, absolutley nothing compared the effort required to get up that muddy field. If I'm going to do hill races [however slowly] I need to find some much steeper hills. [Pictures of the Devils Burden courtesy of Gordon - above the team, James, Andy, Phil, Jak, me and Gordon and below me about to start leg 4]

Tonight was silly run#2. Out to Dunottar castle along the coast path with the big head torch on. Actually not as bad as expected and felt safe at all times. Then back along main road [NOT a good idea], down the side of Dunottar woods before a small tour of Stoney and home. What was funny was the run down past the woods. I knew roughly where I was and roughly where I was going, but not 100% sure. Anyway it all woked out OK and I came out where I expected to.
I absolutley love running in the dark now. Something really satisfying about touring with the head torch on.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Devils Burden - 23 jan

Did the Devils Burden relay race round the lomond hills today as part of a 6man Harriers team. Leg 1 was James and Jak from Falkland over east lomond to near Scotlandwell. Leg 2 was Gordon up and over the hill into Scotlandwell. Leg 3 was the biggy- Phil and Andy from Scotlandwell up over Bishops hill and west lomond to Strathmilgo. My leg was the easiest - from Strathmilgo to Falkland after a short [in comparison] 200m climb onto the flank of the lomond hills. My leg was about 4.5 miles and I was expecting a time of 50mins or so, but ran my sides out and did it in about 43-45 mins [not sure exactly] which is probably sub 10min/mile and for me off road is excellent.
Still shaking from the effort now, a few hours later.
Excellent event with massive turnout [176 teams of 6 people]. Totally stoked by it!

One thing i did notice was how much harder i ran WITHOUT the iPod. Also having the Garmin watch on helped keep the pace right as it told me roughly how far I had gone and hence how much further to go. So from now on it is train with the Ipod, especially for the long stuff, but no Ipod for races.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Daft run#1 - 19/01/10

Was kinda bored with running round Stonehaven at night. Its great in the summer but a bit limiting in the winter nights, especially since i hate doing more than 1 lap of anything. So decided to do a dafty run at the last minute. So up Netherly road I went, up past the A90 then turned off switched on the headtorch and ran out through the Ury estate in total darkness. Its a road where you only ever meet 1-2 cars in the summer so was not expecting any. In fact I met 3 [bet they were puzzled!] and got barked at by a slightly bemused boxer dog. The cars were easy to spot as their headlights lit the trees and road up well before they got to me, so it was an easy matter to just step onto the verge and let them pass. Could do with a brighter headtorch though.

The Ury estate road took me out onto the Slug road and from there I headed back into Stoney and did the last 3 miles of my normal circuit Was running easy and slow but found I could have ran all night! Ended up going down to harbour, along beach front to Cowie and back again into the town and home. Just over 8 miles in just under 1.5 hours. Brilliant!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday at Troon - 17/01/10

Down at Troon for Lewis Glover's christening. Earlyish run before heading off for the event. Decided to run up Dundonald Hill behind Troon to summit of road, then back down, along road into Fullarton woods, past Marr rugby club and down to the old railway line where the Troon-Prestwick cycle path is, next to the Lochgreen golf course. From there up thru' cemetery, past greenies hut and up along Ottoline drive and back to mums.
Good run, mostly doing 9:20ish pace, and only took 2 short walking breaks on the way up the hill.
Good start to week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thurs 14 jan

Plan was 4 x 2min hill reps on the hill out of Stoney on the Netherley road followed by a gentle trot round Stoney. Reps were pretty hard going with me almost reaching my 'barf' heartrate of >162bpm at the end of each. After each allowed HR to drop to 140 before jogging down. Brief pause at bottom before heading off again once HR dropped to 120bpm. Last one I had a boost on as just at the start "Shoot to Thrill" came on the Ipod. Just about my fav running song! Amazing what it does for you. After that headed off round Stoney for ~4m. Felt pretty hard after the hill reps TBH, but kept on going. Small musical treat at end finishing to Hoedown by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. What a track!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wed 13/01/10 out to Linn and back gemtly

Jo still in hospital today, so between dropping kids off and picking her up went for a gentle run with the the two dogs.

Ran out to the Linn and back. A bit snowy and slippy in places.

Stopped a few times for cars, odd phone call etc. Semed to be running easy-ish at a reasonable pace too

Linn was still frozen over and lloked tempting to go down to. Slope was way too slippy though!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tues 12/01/10 - Dalginross Repeats

Don't want to run as a mono-speeder any more. Time for some variety I think. Going to try to do long&slow, hills and speedwork at least once a week. Tonight - speedwork - 3.5 x intervals over the length of Dalginross. Was going to be 4x, but a small cough on the 3rd nearly ended up as an, ahem, 'bigger cough'.

Good though. Amazing what itdoes to your slow jog home pace!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sun up to Auchingaroch

Took my running partner out for her first run of the year. Somehow she doesn't lose fitness as fast as me and with four paw drive much better traction.

Needless to say she looked glad to be back out running again!
We headed up along the Langside assuming the road would be very quiet. Actual busier than I thought with lots of really old grannies looking a bit white after what I guess was not what they had expected for a sunday drive from Braco to Comrie.

When we got the the star of Glascorrie road we decided to head up the snowy track into Auchingaroch.
Long slog up the snow but what a view

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thurs 7 Jan

Quick gentle recovery run around Cowie and beach to harbour and back. Left cheek a bit stiff from running on the snow last night, but OK. Not so cold [-1C], but roads and pavements slushier and less nice in places.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

wed 7 jan

Here we go, trying a new toy to upload my runs

This was a very slow, snowy run, made worse by having to run on the road and stopping constantly 'cos drivers cant cope with 1/4" of snow.
Anyway first medium run in ages, felt decent even in the -3C temperatures