Thursday, 28 April 2011

Nearly There

So the working week is over, of course i slept badly last night and woke up with sore hip/leg with has continued to be sore throughout day at work. Clearly I'll need crutches by tomorrow.

I've not ran today, I'm tapering.I'm not going to start going on about why everyone annoys me on the bus, or on Princes st, or anywhere in my path actually. Nope, I'm staying calm and happy as can be. No one will spoil my mood, much as I'm sure they'd like to try.

I'm not even nervous!Nothing to be nervous about right? It's a training run, coach keeps drilling that into my head, even whilst handing me the schedule he said it. Saturday will be about running in a beautiful part of the world, enjoying the glorious views and seeing all the other crazies/lovely people who think it's normal to get up in middle of night to eat breakfast.

Just watched a video from last year and it gave me goosebumps, i was more than a bit emotional when i finished after managing to raise £2602 for Marie Curie a charity so very close to my heart. I hope my Mum will watching over me again on Saturday.

In case i don't see you at the start, very best of luck to everyone.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Onwards & Upwards

I've ran every part of the WHW route,having done the Devil & The Fling that much is obvious. But i know the Fling section so much better having done so much training in the lead up to it last year as that was my main focus.

I've covered various sections of upper route in training but i've only covered Kinlochleven to Fort William twice. Once was when i was supporting Jen 2 years ago in WHW race, it was a very long weekend and Jen finished in 34hrs.I ran from Kingshouse to FW so my first ever time up that section was after getting kicked out of community centre and dragging our sorry tired bodies up that godforsaken climb followed by two sweepers. I can remember little about it tbh, or prehaps i've blocked it out.

The second time was during the Devil last yr, having raced 8 times that year already (5 of them Ultra's) it's fair to say i struggled up that section and again managed to delete some of it from my memory. This was clearly something that needed to be addressed. It's Ian's favourite section and with it being kinda crucial to me finishing i needed to find that love, or lose the fear & loathing at least!

Although we've got a scheduled double run covering it next month Ian decided Easter was perfect time to head up there and tackle it from fresh legs point of view. So that's what we did. Arrived Saturday evening in the misty weather & woke to more of same. Hearty breakfast was had and we headed off to get bus to Kinlochleven to run back. Rickety shoogly bus arrived with bus driver cunningly disguised as Dick Turpin as she demanded almost a tenner for 2 single tickets to a place no one in their right mind actually wants to go to ;)

An hour later we arrive feeling like we've taken a trip in a washing machine instead of bus, quick loo stop and i put on my long sleeve top as it was pretty damn cold, yes, even i get cold sometimes too....

So the climb out was as i remembered it, i think in fact i have exact same pic from devil race, except then it was bathed in sunshine. No sun today. Misty, breezy & cold. Not cold enough to stop me taking off jacket, then top. Then 15 mins later putting it all back on again lol !

It does make it look rather mystical & very "highlandy" though, don't you think?

That's Ian in the distance, yes i was ahead of him. Only because he stopped for loo though and i powered on ahead told, always do as I'm told ;)

The mist did start to clear as we headed towards Lundavra though, now I've always called this loondaavraaaah but apparently it's Loooondavra , it's all about the pronunciation you know, bit like Tyndrum. I nearly got my head taken off in wee shop on corner once by Mr shopkeeper for calling it Tindrum. I was told sharply "there's no Tin in Tyndrum, only gold lass" errm ok. Don't mess with the locals is what I'm saying and get those names right OK?

So, we arrived at Lundavra and i was in a happy wee place quite frankly, this wasn't so bad after all, the climbs didn't seem so bad, the endless trek through the barren bits didn't seem to last as long either. I've got wee landmarks to watch out for to signify mileage, I've got tips on how to break it down, mental things (in my head,not crazy mental) things to do to help me get to Lundavra and to that last stage.

So off we trek to the Forest, we even get glimpses of sunshine. Just after saying to Ian that i was really enjoying this section i went down like ton of bricks. Had to happen eh? i should just keep trap shut really. I quickly got up and carried on running, think it's only way to get over shock really. Hand and knee were bit sore but i bit lip and carried on.

On through the Forrest til we found the section that's been preventing people from running there for past few months. What a shocker that was.

So so bare, it made me really sad actually. I love the Forrest's and it just looked so barren. Ian was as pragmatic as ever and said "at least it'll be lighter when you come through here on race day"
Here is a look back at it, before all you'd have seen was trees, now you can see the path.

I was told off for stopping & taking pics & got told we had to get back within 3hrs. He'd never mentioned times to me beforehand but had let me lead the pace so i guess he had a plan all along. We did indeed make it back to Hotel in under 3hrs though so i guess I'm doing things to plan at least, even if i didnt know it.
Great run followed by bubbly in the bubbly bath then dinner at Grog & Gruel. <

Next morning there a glimmer of sunshine and whilst we were heading home we decided to head up to Lundavra in car, so i could see it from support crew point of view. I Remember Susan & John meeting us there during Jen's race and they talked afterwards about the long windy road to get there. Sun was out for us this time, was nice to take time to have proper look at the glorious views from there, sometimes in races we never look back do we?

We decided to stop off in Tyndrum and run to wigwams & back to break up car journey. As we passed by the way Hostel we discussed new finish and talked about how the new owner was a runner also. There were lots of people out enjoying the the glorious weather and we got to 3 miles just past wigwams then turned back. As we ran past the campsite i laughed as i saw a jolly roger flying, i said "surely they've not made it back from London already?" They, being Dave & Lee of course but no, it wasn't them, clearly other pirates are a roaming........

sorry for poor pic, i should've zoomed in

As we headed back towards Tyndrum i saw a runner ahead, Coach and his competitiveness said "c'mon, we can catch her" And we did. Only turned out to be Kirsty, who owns By the way hostel! We had nice chat with her and said we'd see her next week, or in 4 days time even....

So 21 miles over the 2 days,not many miles but very important ones .

Ran to work this morning but not home, and will make tomorrow's run my last and rest up.

4 more sleeps.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Down but not out

The Hip continues to give me Gip, or is it Jip?

Anyway, still been running as I've already said it only hurts when i sit. I have a Doctor friend in Engerlundshire who is a Sports injury Specialist and also a Pose Coach. I sent him rambly txt with all my symptoms and then i pic pointing to sore bit. Can actually *see* something now, it's sticky outy for want of a better description. Anyway, diagnosis. Abductor tendinitis. How did i get it? who knows, said it couldve been uneven ground or getting out car. I've to keep active. That's good, cause i was already! And massage. so Ian's been poking and prodding me which actually seems to be helping.

Got new Ipod yesterday. Bit of Saga with it, anyone who follows my blog might recall it broke during the devil last yr, it got stuck on a loop of 5 songs (2 take that, 2 oasis and one faithless, cant say I'm not eclectic!)i nearly threw myself off top of devil after losing will to live with it and turned it off in anger (don't look back in anger, how ironic) Stephen had bought it for my birthday in feb and eventually got round to taking it back to John Lewis the next Feb, just before warranty ran out. It's been back and forth to apple since then and i think they've given Stephen the runaround with him just being a bairn. Took 5 Min's for Ian to get me a new one, seriously. On one hand I'm delighted with that, on other hand I'm annoyed poor Stephen was given the runaround for so long (since Feb this yr)

Anyway, Stephen met us yesterday to take charge of said pod to load it with all my cheesy tunes and some of his crazy dance stuff, so I'll have it for fling when the going gets tough, if the going gets tough....

This weekend we're off to Fort William to play in the hills for bit and I'll be taking it very easy for rest of week in lead up to Fling.

Have a great Easter folks :)

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Still Alive

Cant believe how long its been since I've blogged, crikey.

Been a busy old time and a bit hectic. Work is really good at mo, it's been nearly i year since i was moved to where i am and for first time I've been in complete control.After asking the staff to pull together i feel they are working as a team for the first time since I've been there, it's been pretty good. Encouragement & positivity go a long way i find.

Loving the spring weather & all the daffodils & blossom trees in the meadows. Loving that the sun makes people far more smiley in general, it just makes the world a better place to live sometimes dont you think?

After racing on 3 consecutive weekends and PBing at all them followed on by the double weekend on WHW i told anyone who's listen at Dave & Lee's party that "no way was i running next weekend"

>I was down at Old Trafford on the Saturday with Stephen, luckily they've always won when we've been down and this time was no different. We had great seats too only snag was we were in the direct sunshine for the whole game so i ended up bit burnt. We had a fantastic day as usual and after leaving house at 7.30 didn't get home til 11.30pm so i was pretty knackered. Big thanks to Nick for getting us the tickets x>

On Sunday i had to nip into work and do couple things so although i had promised myself that i was doing nothing all day and not even getting dressed, there i was lycra clad and ready to run! To be fair it was a beautiful day and although Ian would have quite happily ran me there i decided that I'd run there as Ian was planning a run anyway.

I'd said that i would run there and get bus back and meet him there but by time i got to work (3.5miles later) i was fired up and quite happy to run home again, so much for my total rest day. So Ian went off for few miles while i did my stuff at work and then we ran home. Feet up for rest of day after that though!

Still been gyming it but took Monday off and had a total rest day on Coach's orders. After spending so long on train to Manchester and sitting down for nearly the entire day i had a really sore hip/leg. Very odd. I'm not sure if it was down to inactivity and fact i was sitting for most of day but I've still got it now. I'm fine when I'm running but anytime I'm sitting/lying down for any length of time i can *feel* it. Odd.

After discussing plans for last weekend and realising it was going to be a busy one we decided that we'd do our long run on Friday night. Plan was to do 7Hills route and last bit would be with head torches, good training for WHW. We both ran to work and i had planned to get bus home but ended up running to bus stop, then next one and so one til i was home. ooops. So up at 5am,run to work, run home and a full days work ahead of 18miles and 7 hills. Ian got home around 6 and we set off pretty quickly.

It was a lovely night, perhaps a bit too lovely as we'd hoped for darkness by time we got to Corstorphine Hill, it was dusky more than dark but we put on the headtorches anyway, by time we were descending it was proper dark and we needed them more.Have to say it was torture running past all the chippy's/Chinese/Kebab shops on way home!

Did 18miles in 3hrs20, so took my total for day to 25.5miles. Didn't get home til 9.30 so we were pretty knackered to say the least!Had a cracking run though. Managed to force down some well deserved wine before bed though ;)

Saturdayy night we were out with bunch of friends for a curry, it was to be celebratete Pb's and multiple Marathons allegedly but really it was just an excuse for a get together.It overlapped slightly with FA cup semi final so we went to pub across road from restaurant to watch game, although i kinda wish i hadn't bothered now!(we lost) Oh well, onwards and upwards.

It was great to catch up with everyone and find out their racing plans and stories. I feel bit odd not having anything to do with Edinburgh Marathon this year, if I'm not running it I'm usually organising the support crew(fetch point, as we call it) and party but I've had to take total step back this year to concentrate on WHW Race

With the clocks going forward recently it took my lighter mornings away just as i was getting used to them, they've started catching up again now though and I've been taking alternative routes to work along with canal and through Princes st Gardens. It really is a joy to have the whole place to myself! This will save my sanity during the festival/Summer Months and avoid most of the roads, i only have to negotiate a wee bit of Princes St & Lothian Road then it's traffic free and mainly people free compared to the crazy people populated pavements of Edinburgh.

I'm not stressing over mileage these days are most of my runs are quality over quantity, my works runs are about getting to & from work obv but long runs are planned for specific reasons. I've done 711Miles so far this year and I'm doing plenty cross training too :o)

Got another Spa day planned with Jemima early May.Going to The Scotsman this time, we got pretty good deal, J is great for spotting them!

Loved watching London Marathon on TV last weekend,I'd like to do it once at least but I'm not sure how I'd cope with the crowds, i fear i may end up violent lol. So think we're going to do it next year. I can claim a GFA place so saves any hassles of ballot/charity place etc.

Next up Highland Fling, I'd like sub11 so only have to shave off 5mins from last year, as with all Ultras i guess it's how it all pans out on the day though, fingers crossed.

Life is pretty good.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

It's all in the head

I cant remember the last weekend i had that wasn't totally revolved around running, and this weekend was no different.

After busy week at work we decided to head out for drinks, i quickly nipped home and got changed and met rest of staff at 5, I'd already said I'd only be staying til 7 as i still had to finish packing and wanted to be nice & fresh for weekend. I left my workmates as planned and met Ian who was also on work drinks night, notice i did my side of bargain. We ended up leaving his night out around 10 (i think!) got Chinese on way home which i didn't eat as i fell asleep. Great prep for my WHW training next day.

Alarm went off bright & early and when i got up to make tea i noticed rice from previous night, hmm that looks good. My tum was rumbling a bit so i decided to eat it. Ian was horrified and said i'd be ill. Don't be daft i said, I've done that plenty times before. Finished packing and off we went stopping off in at supermarket for supplies and a *proper* breakfast. I met Susan in Glasgow at 11am and off we headed for Beinglas Farm.

I felt a bit dodgy as we drove up the country roads. I started to feel a bit queasy and by time we hit loch lomond i knew i was going to be sick. Cue Susan pulling over and me emptying my stomach in layby. Back in car and half hour later i was out again retching until nothing but bile was coming out, my throat was really hurting at this point as were my stomach muscles. My head started to hurt too, not good.

We arrived at Beinglas around 1pm and i ran to toilets once again to be sick. oh joy. Felt lightheaded too probably from all the banding over and emptying stomach! We got keys to our *wigwam* not entirely sure why it's called that. It's a hut, a pointy hut. I'm 5ft nothing and still banged my head twice on bloody door. We assumed there would be electricity and had duly brought our chargers along for phones & garmins. We were sorely disappointed. It was a hut with 2 hard mattresses, a dim light and a heater which was, well fuckin rubbish quite frankly. Blowing on my hands produced more heat.
Look at it, it's like a friggin dolls house.

Anyway, enough of that. We had a run to do, to Tyndrum & back. I can honestly say I've never felt less like running in my entire life. I had a completely empty stomach and no energy whats over. I darent eat anything in case of it reappearing and causing me more stomach/throat pains/dehydration . I didn't really mention this to Susan as i knew she was nervous about this run and has enough problems dealing with that without worrying about me.

I let Susan set pace for most of time and every mile or so i harboured thoughts turning back and curling up in ball on the stupid hard mattress in the stupid pointy hut and going to sleep. Susan had noticed i hadn't eaten or drunk anything after about 9 miles and was bit worried so i sipped on some energy drink praying it would stay down. It did. It was quite an enlightening run for Susan as she'd only been on that particular route twice, once when i supported her on last leg fling and once last yr when she supported Jon. This time she could take in her surroundings and familiarise herself properly with it.

When we got through the gate at Tyndrum and into the wooded area just ahead of finish i fell, tripped over a wee twig and bashed my knee. Typical that I'd made it almost to turnaround point then fell!

Least it took my mind of throwing up. We got to by the way hostel and stopped there as that is where Fling finishes now.We stopped for for 6mins. 6mins weren't planned it was just how long it took and Ian had told me to time it and leave my garmin on, so i did. I managed a nutrigrain bar here and drank about half my energy drink as well as taking few sips of Susan's coke. Off we went for return leg.

I started to feel much better within about 10mins. Having some food in my stomach albeit a teeny bit was making for a much nicer return leg! We had a wee rain shower which quickly passed over and as we turned the corner we were greeted with a stunning rainbow.

We stopped off Strathfillan farm to pick up more juice then headed off. The miles were ticking by fast this time, probably because i felt much better, in fact the further we got the better i felt.As we approached a hill Marco came bounding down with big smile on his face, we stopped for quick chat and said we'd see his later. About 20mins later as we went through forest Thomas (Tam)came bounding down past us looking very unlike someone who'd stormed a 100k just 6days earlier!

Susan started to get doubts at this stage, doubts about fling, doubts about her ever even starting it. She felt tired and was already talking about not being able to run the next day. I told her she'd be fine after a nights sleep and to stop worrying. I flew the last few miles and felt like i could've ran on & on but i didn't, obv. We got to our pointy hut and went straight down for a shower to get changed for party of year back up in Tyndrum. oh my actual god. It was baltic. There was a radiator but it wasn't turned on.We had optimistically taken our chargers & a hairdryer thinking there would be plugs. You guessed it, we were disappointed yet again.

The water eventually got hot but the tiles were ice cold on the feet, i didnt want to turn shower off but reluctantly did. Ran out to get clothes where I'd left them and bolted back into shower room where at least the floor was warm , wet but warm! There was a hairdryer on wall, which of course you had to pay for. Ok, so I'm not used to slumming it, and wont be doing it again anytime soon, in fact, never.

We somehow managed to scrub up quite well.

Party was great, Dave & Lee looked deliriously happy and everyone was having a ball.The Ceilidh band was superb and kept dancefloor busy all night.

It was made even more superb by the tremendous spread they put on, none of you're basic buffet here folks, there was an array of curries to put a local takeaways to shame. Brilliant.With my stomach being almost empty of food for around 36hrs by this point i was one of first in queue and even went back for more(but struggled to eat 2nd plate)

We left around 11.15 when party was still in full swing as Susan was driving back and we planned to get up early for next day's running. After a pretty restless night and waking up every couple hours then realising with horror i was sleeping in a hut i gave in around 6.30 and looked at my phone sadly which was still showing no signal. We were up and running by 7.45 and this time i had a muller rice before setting off. Legs were absolutely fine, and although Susan was bit worried, hers were too. This section is a bit mental with all the rock scrambling etc and it was another section Susan couldn't recall much off. I do love this section as you get amazing views and it's on "Darios' hill" I remember saying to few folk last yr to remember and look back and say goodbye to Loch Lomond here and stop & appreciate it for a minute.

We got to Inversnaid and had a 4 min break this time. Susan was starting to slip into negativity again and doubted whether she'd be running by last few miles. I assured her she would.

I told her to think of that section as a *rest* time for her legs. There's few hills to speak off and lots of obstacles to get over/round/under etc and for me personally i think it gives the legs a wee rest from running. It's a mental thing perhaps but it works for me. This again is where Susan struggles big time. In harsh reality she should be getting same times as me, we have comparable 1/2 and Marathon times , her 5k is much faster and she beat me at D33 other week too. But she thinks she cant. I've seen Susan at her lowest point running (last leg fling 2yrs ago) and she also struggled mentally during S2S Ultra.

I can tell her til the cows come home that she's a great runner, that she can do it, she can enjoy it. etc etc. But i cant make her believe it. That's got to come from her. Susan is one of strongest people i know, who's had everything chucked at her these past few yrs but picks herself up and just gets on with it.We're very alike in that respect i guess that's why we get on so well. I truly wish she could see just how strong a runner she is as well.

Ultra running is a mental sport in many capacities and i personally believe that it's up to 70% mental 30% Training. I'm not saying you can get by on no training, far from it. I've beaten many people in Ultras who can kick my arse big time in short races who seem to struggle with the distance thing. So is it all the the head?

So was there a lesson to be learned here? Yes & no. No, dont eat cold chinese that's been sitting out all night. Yes i can run through that feeling of sickness, no energy and dehydrated and still get to my destination.

This weekend i'm going to Old Trafford. Not running. Cant wait.

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