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!