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]