Had an early start on Tuesday. Leaping out of bed at 5 30 (yes that was worthy of sarcasmaholics) and collecting Mick and BK for a hillwalking day just past Crainlarich.
Mick being our guide, I packed my tiny rucksack with lunch and a few layers and made the start by 8am!
It was a beautiful day and we got in a full 6h on the hills, The first Munro being Micks 100th! Meall Glas it was a marshy and boggy route up, quite steep in sections and a complete absence of paths, we were approaching from the South thus saving a longer time on the road through Killin.
We dropped and followed the ridge to the summit of Beinn Cheathaich which is to my horror NOT a Munro despite being over 900m! We then had another drop and climb to the summit of Sgaith Chuil which due to the route we took was a pretty steep climb before we could enjoy a stroll along the ridge to the summit.
The journey down was pretty straight forward until I went over on my ankle (the same one as I did in the Fling) and had to limp the last bit over the moor like ground. When we reached the river we all dispensed with the footwear and soaked our feet in the stream. eventually we pried ourselves away from the soothing water and headed for a bit of refreshments in the Bein Glas farm bar. bliss!
Met karen and Mike for a run around Mugdock. Good patter good run. Legs definately starting to feel better and we even tackled a few muddy banks and 'inclines'! We ran from Karens through the park, across the road and the moor up the ridge and then back through the park again incorporating the horses field.
Ive decided to get a bit better at logging runs, this is mainly because I need to get back into the habit of 'training' and not just going out for random runs at a comfortable pace. Proper trainng is set to start in the second week of june but I need to get back in the habit! So here goes: Ran 3 mile out and back today from clober along the whw with Daisy. Ran out easy in 14 mins then turned and picked up the pace a little making it back in 12mins. Feel a little bit less sluggish, foot feeling better. The weather was stunning and it was pretty warm. Took Daisy with me too.
Still plodding in the guise of recovery this week...last weekend I had the pleasure of being accompanied by Craig, he was visiting from Canada, a seasoned marathon and half marathon runner, and a friend of my much missed pal Lesley who emigrated a few years back. I took him out along the west highland way (where else) for an easy 6m and then back to mine for a BBQ with his wife Alison and Daughter Amanda.
On Tuesday I helped out at the club team race, brilliant turn out. 103 finishers...102 times..glad its up to Robert to sort that out!
I popped out for a three miler and a four miler through the week, both felt harder and heavier than they should have..and I've a few wee niggles in my left foot still.I know it's probably just cause my legs are still a bit tired. Today I met Robert and Karen for a wee 4 miler.
I'm informed that hard training for the 5k begins 7th June...better enjoy the lull before then eh!?
Well I did it, it was painful and long. I made a new friend. And boy am I feeling it today!
The night before was restless, getting drop bags ready and trying to anticipate what I may need. I laid everything out on the lounge floor and futtered about. Giving myself a 'latest' bedtime of 10pm.
I was up at 4:30am gathering things up and pulling on layers to be dropped or otherwise depending on the weather. I hadn't really thought about breakfast and so ended up shovelling a weatabix down..better than nothing I decided.
Robert picked me up at 5:15 and we headed for Milngavie, arriving at 5:30, the place was already buzzing with activity. People meeting up with people, faces being put to blogs! I found the relevant vehicles for my drop bags and realised with horror that my rice pudding was still in my fridge..bother...
Oh well I don't really like it that much anyway!
The weather was promising to be perfect, drizzling a little then fizzling out. I stood with Karen and her support team Robert, Mick and Mike under the bus shelter waiting for the race briefing. Watching from the side as everyone did their pre race thing.
Before we knew it the race had begun and we were gently running through Milngavie under the West Highland Way arch and out to the all familiar territory of the "way"
It felt so good to be doing it at last. I was planning to be conservative due to the patchy training and weak knee and felt no pressure other than to finish it.
I ran with Karen through the first part of the race, and to be honest I can't remember that much about the early stages, just the determination to keep the pace easy...walk up hills as instructed by just about everyone. As we headed past Craigallian Loch we started chatting to Mary who had been runnin around our pace up until that point.
The miles ticked by as we chatted and ran...walking every incline and before we knew it we were passing through the Beech trees and heading out towards Drymen. Dumgoyne was hiding in the mist, we were pleased of that as the sun was eager to burn it off and heat us up....I don't do well running in heat! Gate after gate was opened and closed and the wee winding paths were eaten up with out any complaints.
We approached Drymen and spotted Mike who had scouted down to chum us in to the check point. I was guided to the pad where my chip was swiped..very efficiently and we continued on up through the forest to Conic. That section to the hill always seems longer than I remember...even though I tell myself that..and given that the last time I had done it with Karen...our aborted conic attempt due to snow...we had missed the turn and got all mixed up. We managed not to go wrong this time thankfully and negotiated the forest well talked our way through the forest more like.
Conic Hill arrived and we kept a pretty brisk pace walking up, Karen firmly dictating a speedy ascent, then the slippery slide down the otherside. I usually love the descent but since the trouble with my knee I dread them a little and sure enough I started to feel my knee niggle.
Mike was waiting near the bottom full of cheer and crazy stuff..I hit the carpark and first drop bag station to find my kids there with an array of banners and smiles...a lovely surprise. Also Davie Hall and Jude were faces to behold...its amazing how seeing friends can lift you.
I should have stopped for longer though..I looked round to see karen disappearing and panicked a bit...grabbed a hand full of grapes and ran...Karen however had set her own pace which I know I would never have kept up with and so Mary and i didn't attempt to catch up.
We ran on during this section I was really starting to feel the pain in my knee, I was welcoming every climb as a rest from the running and wincing with every descent. I was also starting to feel nauseous, and the nuun in my camel back was starting to get too much. I realised the muller rice was going to be missed as I was starting to crave something more savoury than the contents of my drop bags...how stupid of me to have not realised this! Mary was amazing talking and pulling me through a real low as we descended into Rowardennan, I was trying to think what i could stomach and for some bizarre reason Tea was at the forefront of my mind.
As we arrived at the base at Rowardennan a marshal directed us to the swipe pad and bag drop..the kids were there with their banners and so were Mick Mike and Robert. Mike asked.."what can I get you..do you need anything?" Tea I snapped I need tea...I knew this was an unreasonable request but within seconds there were two flasks on offer...coffee or green tea..I took the green tea and immediately felt the nausea ease, Robert was shouting at me to eat...rifling through my drop bag hand feeding me pistachios and chocolate!
After a few minutes Mary and headed on our way..easing back into the run, ready for the section to inversnaid.
This section although a shorter leap between bag drops does go on and on...then suddenly u see a building through the trees and realise you're there. I was trying to ignore the pain in my knee but couldn't help but sit down on the floor and take the weight off at inversnaid...cursing the lack of savoury items in my drop bag Mary shared her crushed up ready salted crisps with me..they really helped and definitely something I would pack for future ultras (wait a minute did I just say that?!!)
I tipped out the NUUN from my camel back and Mary got the marshal to put water in it... I just couldn't stomach any more! I decided that it was time to take a couple of Ibuprofen tablets to dull the pain in my knee..I wouldn't usually do this but I just had to do this race.
We hit the Lochside which I must say I quite enjoyed. The scramble makes for a real adventure feel. I recall that by this time the sun was breaking through a little but still not enough to cause too much concern, I have walked/run this section in real heat in the past and it can be almost tropical against the rock.
I can't say I found the treck to Bein Glas easy. I was suffering, my knee was still sore and I felt like I was running on empty. But I was still going and I was determined NOT to stop! As I sit here typing this Im trying to remember where Marco passed me...I really cant but i do remember how fresh he was looking.
As we approached I could see the drovers through the trees to the left, What a welcome sight that was. Another pit stop.
I was craving something savoury and almost hallucinating sausage rolls or soup, but I knew I had nothing of the sort in my drop bag. i slumped down and shared my pistachios with Mary, she had spotted one of her friends who was having a Low so she went to chat with him. There was a lady in front of me giving support to another runner who promptly headed on her way.. she had a flask of coffee so I asked for a wee sip...hot n strong and welcome..so thank you that Lady! It was a tummy settler!
With less than a half marathon to go I knew that I was going to make it...even if I had to resort to walking. the pills had dulled the pain in my knee but I was not feeling strong. We started to set targets...a tip that Marys husband had given her..."even if you get really tired..run/walk...set targets and run to them" we did that biting away small chunk by small chunk. run to that cattle trough..run to that lamp post....run to that gate...walk for two mins. We came across the cow barricade and edged our way past them...they didn't bother with us as we opted for the cow sh*t slurry trench rather than barge right through the middle. There were calves and I wondered how the runners with dogs had negotiated this bit?
The killer hills through the forest were killers...I couldn't remember how many there were from the training runs but I knew they went on a bit. I knew we dropped down to the road just not how soon. At this point my garmin gave up too... seems I wasn't fast enough for it. It died at 47.5miles! Bother.
Well I really did limp home those last few miles. run a bit walk a bit.past the wigwams where we met a friend of Marys who gave us a good prep talk.
As we approached Tyndrum I could see the green welly 800m sign on the road and told Mary excitedly. Running past some backpackers as we approached the end of the community forest path I went over on my ankle..the air was blue and I was done..I felt I was going to have to sit there until someone brought me some wheels..I couldn't believe it...THIS CLOSE!!! Of course it was a total over reaction and Mary grabbed me firmly under the arm and said..."NO! You're going to walk on it a bit then in a minute we'll run and you'll see it will be fine!" and do you know what..it was.
We were met by her husband Hugh who had overtaken us and finished in an amazing 9:40 he chummed us along to the end...taking my camel back for me (could you carry my bag pleeeese)...yes I was that pathetic! As we came into the field the piper piped us in and the finish was in sight..Flags lined the path and we crossed the line. It was emotional..I was soooooooooo glad to have finished. The king of blogland John kynaston was there ready to remove the chip..I'm glad he was cause I was in no state to do it. I found a seat n sat down for a long time.
I could go on to write about the time since them...the legs the trying to undo my shoelaces in the tea room toilets....the inability to eat..until 4am this morning when I just HAD to have supa noodles. But I wont. What I will do is say a huge well done to everyone who did the fling yesterday. Specially Karen who did it in 11:52 and Debbie and Sharon who did it in 9:49 and 9:41 the three of them securing the team prize for Garscube. Marco who did an awesome time of 8:23...and was 3rd man. you're all amazing!
it was a brilliantly organised race and the Marshall's were fantastic.
I'll post some pics when I get them! Oh and I nearly forgot..my time was 12:41 !!
Karen finishing the 8 miler Well here we are in the final run up to my first ultra. My thoughts are really pretty 'open' I would say. I've had a few problems with my left knee (ITB) on runs over 20 miles but this hasn't stopped me from running and the recovery has been pretty quick. I just hope that it doesn't get too bad on Saturday.
The last few runs have been pretty good although I really feel as though I'm p%$$ing in the dark a bit with this training having done REALLY structured training plans for past marathons!
In my favor i do know the whw like the back of my hand...although this didn't stop me getting lost on the 30 miler (I know) I know I respond well to a challenge and race day vibes so I hope that that will make up for the patchy training!
I ended up missing my longest training run of 42 miles and replaced it with some aimless wanderings of Clydebank-Knightswood-anniesland...just to get a run in! hardly the whw but better than nothing!
I ran back from the airport a couple of weeks ago-having abandoned my family in Essex with the outlaws. Anyone who hasn't done that it's well worth it! (Maybe not this week) There's no more liberating feeling than boarding a flight with only runnin gear on and a wee back pack...skipping down the steps of the plane...past the baggage pick up, out of the doors, past the taxi/bus queue's, and running home. I took the wee footpath that runs down the side of the Normandy Hotel and round the banks of the Clyde, passing the rather Dr Seuss like scrap yards (sure I saw a few Sneetches)It also gave me chance to use the renfrew Ferry which was well worth the £1:60 charge for the novelty and the avoidance of te tunnel or the erskine bridge. I'm not sure that nipping into the 'Ferry Inn' for a bottle of water and change was advisable however I got out unscathed..more I think because I had the priceless element of surprise on my side!
Last week Karen and i ran along the Strathblane railway accompanied by Robert on his bike. A nice easy 8 miler to mark the start of the taper..it was freezing and we just had to head to the strathblane deli for a coffee n snack afterwards.
Mick a fellow firey from clydebank and I headed up into the hills on Monday...early rise so I could be back for 3pm. I'm pretty random it seems..I'll climb anythin but Mick had a destination in mind..so we bagged Meall Buidhe making it to the top in 70Min's, thick cloud and hail/snow hammering us from the start. As if by way of reward as we left the cairn the sun burnt away the mist and we were treated to stunning views over Glen Lyon and the reservoir below.
So here I am... contemplating what I should put in my drop bags...hoping it doesn't snow! Forecast looks good though and i don't have to catch a plane anywhere. Good luck to EVERYONE running this weekend Fling and London, Debbie..I've packed my club vest for that team GH shot..if you can hang around at the finish for me that is!!
Oh and BTW just in case you haven't noticed Im looking for sponsorship for this race and the Tunnel to towers 5k in New York in September. follow the Just giving link at the top of the page...all donations appreciated!
Well another age has passed and i am finding it slightly ironic that in training for the longest race of my life I am doing the least most disorganised training EVER!
Oh well it cant be helped...My life now revolves around my three little angels and Strathclyde Fire and Rescues 5 Watch Duty System! Runs must be shoehorned in where they can and often I just cant arrange them to coincide with my runnin Bud Karen...I have managed the key runs...since last blogging there was a 30 miler from Home to Rowardennan along the whw route. Last week was a washout-literally, and I just finished a dayshift and did a poxy 10.5 road route.
I now have to decide whether to go ahead with the 42 miler scheduled for this weekend...but I cant do it till next Thurs/Fri...or cut the mileage to 30-34 due to the proximity of the race....comments welcome. The fling is on the 24th for anyone who doesn't know!
Life.s just been too busy to blog but I have a few pictured from the last few runs Karen and i have done in trainng for the fling. so Ill post them...we ve done a 22 and and a 26 so far. Last Saturday we planned to do 30 Drymen -Inveranan. ill expand on that one!
I had just come off my second night shift...and thanks to the new duty system was lookin forward to two day shifts (sunday and Monday) before bein back on normal shift pattern on Wednesday. This really only left Saturday for the long one. During the day on Friday I had dumped my car at the Drovers (Inveranan)
I got home filled my camel back with NUUM citrus...not quite as nice as cola but a change. And stuffed other random snacks into the remaining space...these included raisins, rice pud and chocolate. See picture of our new favourite snack....pistachios and chocolate mmmmmmm heaven!
We made it to Drymen and headed off but soon found that that nights snow fall had hit the area badly, it was passable but running conditions weren't great. We plodded on, jumping into the footsteps of some walkers who had made an early start. In parts we had to walk and watching the time realised that we were going to struggle to get to inverannan in a reasonable time frame at the kind of pace we were making.
As we came out of the forest trails the snow got instantly deeper, and the wind chill had caused a hard icy crust to form making it harder to crunch through. we litterally ploughed on...reconciling to a run based on time on feet NOT miles.
As we approached the bottom of Conic we caught up with the walkers. The had decided to turn back...the snow was now thich deep..which means waist deep on me!! after some discussion and reluctance we decided to abort the run...it was bitterly cold and we just werent dressed for the conditions.
We bid the walkers good bye and headed back to drymen.
A little way into the forest trails we were starting to warm up and we met Marco heading the other way. We relayed the conditions but he was set to meet deb...and thankfully went on to make the rendez-vous... (see debs blog!) As we were talkin to him another runner came up on our tail..Dave..who had travelled up from keswick kto train for the fling and ultimately the whw race.
We ran most of the way to Drymen...and following a slight navigational error (well I dont think ive ever done it backwards before!) repeated the last couple of miles a few times!! Fortunately Dave is very fit and very chatty...
In total we did 12miles in 3 hours!!!! Now Im just trying to work out how to fit in a long run next week with a night shift on saturday and sunday!
Oh well we'll see.
Pictures are from a few different runs..along the whw.
A run was had...given the icy conditions that are still present on the majority of routes we would like to take, Karen and I opted for an out and back along the Canal from Bishopbriggs. It has come to my attention that Karen has started reffering to me as 'The Late Rachel Stevesnon' can't think why..but determined to get shot of this tag I was making good progress..untill I hit a blockage on Boclair Rd, just by Dobbies. There's been a collision and so I turned round and headed back to take the other route...makin me 15 mins late..I think Karen thought I was fibbing as I met her stare when I pulled in to the Playdrome...
Anyway eventualy we got started, the first three miles I felt like my legs were lead but we managed to chat along. The canal was completely frozen still, the poor swans and ducks trying to find the water. We saw two buzzards, chris fron Kirky olympians..lookin strong in his mara trainin, and it really was quite a nice change to run along the canal. We both commented on how we usually have times and goals when we run the canal but today we just ran.
It wasn't an overly long run just 6 out and 6 back but it was a good start. My knee was a bit niggly..just keep on rollin it I guess.
Forgive me I have sinned..its been so long since my last post.
Its due to a few reasons..one was that Nov was a pretty busy time at work..the 5th really does stir up the coals it seems. The chaos of Christmas, and the fact that the pc is rarely free nowadays!
I think I need a laptop!
The main reason however is that I really felt I had little to say about my runs..they've been made up of short 'fit it in run like sh*t' runs and non runs due to the ice which stuck around for ages!!
I did a few long runs with Karen before christmas among them...Milngavie-Balmaha. Balmaha-Bein Glass but I had a sore knee and got concerned that my plans for the fling were ambitious.
Tomorrow we are headin out again and I will write..am sure it will be good and get me back on track!! Hopfully no grief from the knee! Will post no matter what!! Cody winnin the Jack Shirley memorial Garscube Christmas handicap cup.....after he ran so hard he spewed his dinner everywhere!! Nothin to do with Maz makin him run hard or me givin him his lunch less than an hour before...Looooooooong story!!