Sunday, 2 April 2017

Another weekend, another long run!

photo courtesy of Bob Marshall
I love that I can write that sort of title again :)  At the start of this year I had a notion I would write a post every month or so, but I've not quite managed it - been a wee bit busy with this thing called training!  Yes, back out there on a regular basis doing the planned sessions, and in the main nailing them and feeling good - I am hugely grateful to so many people for their support over the past couple of years, some are more aware than others of the stuff I've been dealing with, but your support and encouragement has been really appreciated.
Yesterday was the John Muir Ultra Trail Race - 50km over varied terrain along the East Lothian coast from Port Seton to Foxlake just outside Dunbar. 
There was a 4 hour cutoff to get to the half way point at the RNLI shed at North Berwick and I worked hard from the start making it with half an hour to spare!  I was absolutely delighted, I felt that I was running hard but wasn't dead on my feet as I was aware I still had another 25km (ish) to go and needed to keep something in the tank... unfortunately I didn't leave as much as I'd like in the tank and between miles 20-22 (ish) I really struggled with the mud and cambered/slippy trail.  It's a shame as it was beautiful but I really struggled here.  My left hamstring did it's usual and started to seize up resulting in a pretty much non responsive left let which made running the really narrow paths difficult, at one point I was trying to run a narrow path alongside a field and was staggering like a drunk!  I was also petrified of putting my foot down a rabbit hole and twisting an ankle!  The terrain was testing, there was tarmac, trail, very narrow trail, soft sand, a grand wee run at North Berwick across the hard packed wet sand, farm roads, grass, woodland trail covered in needles/leaves, you name it they laid it on for us, even laid on fantastic weather!  The winds of the past few days disappeared - though they're back again today - and the sun came out :-)
We drove down to Foxlake straight after work on Friday, meeting up with Amanda and Tim and enjoying Donald & Elaine's hospitality for an hour before dinner.  A quiet evening listening to the rugby and an early bed.  6am alarm, breakfast, kit organised and registration - nice to see so many friendly faces!  8am prompt the buses left to take us to Port Seton, a visit to the conveniences, catching up with more friends, a thorough and amusing race brief from the RD, some group photos and then we were off!
I won't deny it was tough in places, it was, but I am pleased with the fact that I could keep shuffling on and motivate myself to keep moving forward, finishing 7h52mins after I'd started which is a bit slower than I'd like, but apart from the dead leg, I felt good, strong and compos mentis.  A chocolate milk, a quick shower and change of clothes, a ginger beer, wee drive down to Dunbar Harbour then a bottle of pink cava shared with Elaine while we giggled at the mixup over her and Donald's results!  John and I wandered across to the Volunteer Arms for a pint and some food and they joined us for a pint later, then we wandered stiffly back to our vans, just before the rain started!  It was heavy but we woke to blue skies and sunshine again today.  I have tired legs today but nothing is 'broken' big muscles are tired and a wee bit tender to touch but otherwise I feel great and so pleased to have got that run under my belt!  It's the longest and strongest I've run for almost 2 years and what it means in my head is too difficult to put into words, but if you've been out for a while with injuries/health stuff and sometimes question if you'll ever get back to it you'll understand.
TO top it off, the sun is still shining and the first laundry of the year is blowing outside in the sunshine (it's the little things...)
What it says :-)





Sunday, 29 January 2017

Forward progress & Fun with Friends

This weekend was the annual West Highland Way training weekend and it also marked the end of the second month of my training programme, both events worthy of recording.
As always the WHW weekend was based in The Oak Tree Inn at Balmaha and a motley crew of regulars and newbies turned up to enjoy the exercise, the company and the hospitality.  Some folk arrived Friday night, some came Saturday morning and stayed overnight and some just rocked up Saturday morning, ran and enjoyed the company and post run soup then headed home.  The full run is out to Inversnaid and back which is 30 miles though there were many variations and distances on the day.  For many people this is their first long run of the year and for some, it's  their first sojourn onto the WHW.
I'd a 10mile run on my programme but went to Rowardennan with Julie where we turned for home. Unfortunately at about 11miles we had to slow to a walk as Julie suffered cramping and we were lucky that Lorna was passing and offered us a lift back just as the watch ticked over the 13mile mark!  I was happy though with a wee bit further than planned, some good climbing and no ill effects.
A long hot shower, then as John had also returned from his run, we headed down to the pub for some food and to catch up with everyone's tales of their adventures and their hopes and plans for the coming year.
Afternoon rolled into evening and then it was dinner time, and proseeco and giggles later we were getting gently ushered out the door - oops! I can't remember the last time we were in a pub til closing time!  Great evening catching up with friends, a good sleep, nice breakfast and after a wee walk to say cheerio to Karen & George and Donald we headed home.  Tired but giggling as we remembered some of the conversations from last night!
This weekend is always special as it reminds me of the fun to be had when spending time in the company of friends, you meet on the trails and then again over a bowl of soup or a drink and for me it marks the start of the year for real.
As I said at the beginning I have now completed the second month of my training programme and am feeling quite proud of that achievement, I've managed all the workouts, some better than others and have been enjoying the discipline and the routine.  I'm also sticking to my healthy eating and this is paying dividends too as my weight is slowly starting to come down,  both of these factors are helping me to stay positive and stick at it.  Here's to February and whatever it brings! (Hopefully some snow!)

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Happy New Year!

I was looking back through the Facebook memories thing this morning and came across this in a blog entry I wrote in 2013...I still feel the same way! 
In 2013/14 I achieved the goals I set myself then various health stuff kicked in and it all went downhill and the last 18-24 months have been pretty crap, and only made bearable thanks to the love/friendship/support from some very special people. It's back on the straight and narrow now, the eating is back on track and the running and training are back underway too. I've got goals to achieve this year and I'm going to do my damndest to nail them. I'm pleased that whilst I put on a couple of pounds while on holiday it was only a couple of pounds and I'd managed to lose 6.5lbs before we went away so am still on a nett loss.

I think we still had a good time over the festive season with enough indulgence to make us feel that we'd not been deprived, but definitely nothing like the gross over indulgence we used to undertake - for no reason other than I think we were conditioned to believe that that was what you did... in the same way as the hundreds of people who flock to the supermarkets on Xmas eve and Hogmanay and panic buy as if the end of the world was nigh - the shops are only closed for 2 days!! So, if there's a moral to this post it is this - in the same way as we are conditioned to overeat and drink in December - how many times do you hear - 'oh well just the one then it is Christmas' or similar excuses from people who can't say no thanks? - We can also condition ourselves to make healthier choices, to get up out of our chairs, to park a little bit further away from the door of the shops, to drink more water etc etc...
None of these things cost us much time but they will make a difference to our health.
So a toast to all my healthy friends, and a 'come on what's stopping you?' to the rest... you decide which category suits you xx