Saturday, 30 March 2013

I Told You So!

and so he did.... at least 7 times before bedtime last night!

Yesterday was the first day of our 4 day Easter weekend, and I decided to do my long run of the weekend rather than put it off until today.  Couldn't do it tomorrow (Sunday) as we are going to go up to Perth to watch the Anglo Celtic Plate 50km and 100km races and to support friends.  If I put it off until Monday then it's into next week's running so doesn't count apparently ;-)
So, up nice and early - who needs an alarm when the daylight is creeping round the edges of the curtains at 5:30am?  Up at about 20 past 6 and downstairs to put the porridge on.  I had sort of planned to run from Milngavie to about the foot of Conic Hill and back as I was looking for 24 miles but John who is now officially tapering for Boston in 2 weeks, decided he'd like to run with me but he wasn't enamoured with Milngavie out and back as he's done it a few times recently... I let him coerce me into running from Balmaha to potentially past Rowardennan and back!  I have done this once before way back at the start of my WHW running adventures in February 2011 and it nearly killed me that day!  I have since run twice from Drymen to Rowardennan on my own, once as a practice and once as the second leg of the Hoka Highland Fling relay last April.  I did much better on those two occasions than the first time I'm glad to report.  So I wasn't too phased about it, other than when we were driving towards Buchlyvie and it started to snow - we left the house in sunshine!  I realised that I hadn't brought any spikes for my shoes so had a wee panic that there might be snow or ice to contend with - I have real issues with icy roads :-(
Fortunately it was but a passing flurry and we arrived at Balmaha in dry if cold conditions.  A quick visit to the facilities at the Oak Tree Inn and we headed off down the path along the lochside.  First set of steps - god how I hate those stone steps that litter this route - and an unscheduled stop as I thought I was suffering from a leaky bladder... quick recycling of a zip bag as a precautionary measure and we were on our way.  The first 3miles were AWFUL!!!! This is where the I told you sos started.... you see I had done my usual 3 fitcamp sessions this week, Mon, Wed, Thurs and they were all tough!  However on Thursday I had a rare chance to get to the treadmill at lunchtime and decided to do a wee interval session which I thorougly enjoyed but which was the fastest running I've ever done... so.... as you can guess my legs were screaming!!!  Hey ho... At mile 3 John suggested that I decide whether I wanted to turn back - how dare he??  I said no I might not do 12 miles out and back but I would definitely go to Rowardennan and probably turn back there.
Now it usually takes 40min to an hour for me to warm up on this sort of terrain at my plodding pace, so things started to get better and even the 'dreaded steps' that I have had nightmares in the past about weren't nearly as bad as I remembered them... I even got a row for running down the path at 9:30 pace!  Though I don't think I was going that fast!
We got to Rowardennan and stopped to use the facilities and I changed my shirt there as I was too warm in 2 long sleeve tops as the sun had come out, so I swapped one for a short sleeve T and then proceeded to be quite cold on the way back when the sun disappeared and the wind blew in off the Loch!  Typical!
I'm still not getting the feeding 100% right, but I am getting better as I did say at the hour and 2 hour mark that I needed to eat something so that's progress :-)
John was running up all the big hills like some sort of Ibex or other fleet footed mountain climber - it was truly a sight to behold and at one point I stopped to watch him and wanted to woop and holler but didn't as I was worried he'd think there was something wrong and think he'd to come back to get me :-)
I much much prefer to run this route in one direction only as I think it's much tougher coming back the way - there are some big climbs on this section - cumulative climbing was 451metres - that's adding up all the Ups - so it's no wonder my poor legs were dead by the last hill... he only told me so another twice on the route, then another time in the pub when our friend Bob had the audacity to agree! Then I think it was another 4 or 5 times before bedtime LOL!
As I came back into Balmaha I met Karl Zeiner and Debbie Brupacher, they are running the full WHW on 3 days and various friends from our facebook community have joined them for part of it - we met some of them at Balmaha as they'd stopped for a break and were heading on to Rowardennan where there was a previously-planted car to drive back to Balmaha for some food at the Oak Tree, then back to Milngavie to pick up various other cars and head home.  Others are meeting them today to run some of the next part and yet more tomorrow I think.  Yes I was pretty gubbed at the end, and I'd only got 15 (tough) miles instead of 24 (gentler) miles, but as my wee mouse at the top of this post reminds me it didn't kill me, or to quote John in a recent post I'm not dead yet!!
So tomorrow will be a day of cheering and flag waving and watch the real big guns fight to keep the AC Plate in Scottish hands, Monday will be our fitcamp anniversary so I'll be heading to the morning camp, and that gives us the rest of our day off to do something - or not as the fancy takes us.  Then it will be one more week at work then we're off :-)
Happy Easter everyone  xxx

Monday, 18 March 2013

Tempus Fugit - again!

"again" as I'm sure I've used this title before but I can't believe it's been 3 weeks since I last posted on here.  And a busy 3 weeks it's been!
After I last posted on 24 Feb we had 3 days off work which was bliss, on the Monday it was a 'jammie' day in so much as I stayed home and did some chores and tidied up the garden and stuff, we were really fortunate to get 3 days of glorious Spring sunshine if a little cold.
Tuesday we headed off to Tyndrum so that I could recce the last leg of the Fling course, we ran 22 miles - 11 from Tyndrum to Beinglas Farm and back again and boy was it hilly!  John told me after about an hour that 'those in the know call this the rollercoaster'  I understand why!  We had a fantastic day out in the most amazing scenery and another bright, cold, sunny day.  To see some photos of the day, look at the slideshow on John's blog the rest of his blog's good too :-)  The following day we had a day in Glasgow as John had an appointment to get his VO2 max and other stuff tested, again if you want to know the detail I'm sure he's blogged about it, it's all a bit geeky but basically just means for an old guy he's mega fit and healthy!  While he was away doing that, I treated myself to a manicure and a wee wander round the shops.  We'd a really nice lunch and then home in time for me to get organised and back out to fitcamp.  Then it was back to work for a nice short 2 day week :-)  Saturday 2 March, John was heading off for a long run and I went to Strathclyde parkrun, they do a pacer day on the first Saturday of the month, and although my legs felt kind of heavy and tired I wanted to go and see if I could get a sub29min time, the decider was that it was my friend Mike who was the 29min pacer and having run on his shoulder in a 10k at the tail end of last year I was hopeful I'd be able to stick with him and maybe make it over the line under the 29.  He did an awesome job of pacing me but I think he got a slap from another runner as he went off a bit fast and kept me steady until with about 1km to go he said he'd best hold back and I should keep on going, I'd no idea how fast I'd run as I'd mucked up  my watch at the start, so I was delighted to cross the line in 28:28 :-)  A quick coffee with some refugees from Falkirk parkrun (it's suspended as path upgrading underway) then home to hear about John's long run.  The next day - Sunday - we headed through to Mugdock to meet up with some friends of the 2 and 4 legged variety for a sociable run to the Beech Tree Inn and back followed by coffee and hilarity in Costa Milngavie.
I then had a really lazy week, I did my fitcamp sessions but didn't get any running done, until the Saturday when we headed to Dunfermline to do an out and back on the old railway - it was freezing, windy, sleet, snow and rain probably the worst weather of all winter, yet ironically it was my most consistent 10miler ever, I had a good run on all sorts of levels...
It turns out that the bad weather was fortuitous as this Saturday past 16th March, I completed the D33 ultra - in brutal weather! Freezing cold, headwind out and headwind back, sleet, hail and rain... all good fun :-)
What a FANTASTIC event!  Loon Dod and his amazing PA the lovely Karen and their team of willing volunteers put on a day to remember!  A unique medal - see pic above, a specially labelled finisher's beer, a D33 goody bag with beer, crisps & caramac in!!!  We travelled up to Aberdeen on the Friday afternoon after work and stayed overnight, which gave us the chance to meet up with some of the  folks we'd met through the Facebook group setup for the race, and then drove straight back down Saturday afternoon as we had the Alloa Half marathon on Sunday 17th.  I had entered the Alloa Half months ago when it first opened for entries, then on a whim on Hogmanay entered the D33 not realising it was the day before.  When I did realise I thought oh well it won't matter I can do the Half any year, it's our local race, then as my Fling training went well I decided to try to complete both, everybody - except for John - said I was mad and I decided I wouldn't commit until I saw how I felt after finishing the D33 but I felt great and as I could still walk when I got up yesterday morning decided to get ready and see how I felt after a wee warmup.  Mentally I was up for it, physically, my knee was a bit sore and big muscles were tired, but I didn't feel like anything was 'broken' just tired so I lined up at the start - still being told by friends that I was nuts :-)
I took it really slowly and easily, I was quite comfortable to be near the back and would have been happy being last as long as I finished.  The first 2 miles were really tough, legs were really tired and slow to respond, then about mile 3, the 'muscle memory' kicked in and the brain got kicked out :-) I just kept ticking over, and before I knew it was at the half way point and as well as never having being in last place I was now passing people!  Between miles 5 and 12 I managed to pass 8 or 9 others which gave me a huge boost and as it's a local route I train on I was able to keep ticking off the landmarks, though I have to admit seeing John in the distance as I passed the 12mile marker was a Huge lift of my spirits :-)  He told me how well I'd done then ran off to be at the finish, then there was Alan waiting for me and ran a wee bit with me telling me how he couldn't believe I'd done it, then on the last corner was James smiling, and shouting encouragement and as I turned the final corner and passed Janette, the announcer gave me the most amazing welcome!  It was a tad embarrassing as he proceeded to tell the cheering, if smaller by now, crowd that I had completed a 33 mile ultra the day before - it really was a very special finish line build up and for that I have to thank Murdoch who does a great job every year.
So there you go 3 weeks in a 10minute read - hope you're still awake!!!  My two medals signify something very special for me, 46.1miles in 2 days, or 73.76kms and still physically and mentally in one piece!  I was all set to go to fitcamp tonight til it started snowing this afternoon and hasn't let up since...
Next stop Boston :-)