Monday, 4 March 2013

Making friends with the Devil

Oh dear, i promised JohnK I'd keep my blog updated but that's been a big fat fail.

Last blog was in January, woops. Must try harder. But hey, at least i filled in my profile, whats your excuse?

As i mentioned in last blog, this year was all about quality. About tweaking the training to avoid the pitfalls of my well documented ankle failure of last 2 years. I did my 14 day break and even though i was sceptical and had to be coerced into it i actually settled down and enjoyed the rest. Probably a bit too much, what i found most odd was that i was eating more. Was it just boredom i wonder? I'm quite good at kicking back when i need to and that's exactly what i did.

I had a girly Spa break with Louise which was just what the doctor ordered, and for rest of time i embraced my laziness gene and vegged out big time. And pigged out too.

All my long runs have been planned out up until race day, as are certain races. Ian sits down with me on a Sunday and we discuss what sessions we are planning for that week. Actually, scrap that, Ian tells me what sessions are planned.
After seeing on Facebook that  Donny Campbell now has a studio in Edinburgh, i decided to get myself a personal trainer. Ian does great job as my coach but i wanted something to compliment the running and training plan he'd set and who better than an Ultra running PT? (bloody good one at that) I guess a normal PT wouldn't quite "get" Ultra running and i know whatever stuff i do with Donny will only compliment what i'm already doing and what plan Ian had set for me.

So my first run back was gentle 4 mile run to work followed by a gentle 4 miles home. Gentle it may have been, but by the next day i was in 50shades of pain with DOMS. wtf! 8 miles and i was busted, not great and i was not happy bunny. I spent most of December doing 8 miles before i even got to work, how quickly my legs had forgotten.

That night i had first interval session too, just to add to the pain. Surprisingly this went really well, and my legs were ok next day. Talk about confused. Weekend saw the first long run, i headed up the Pentlands and back down on Water Of Leith, then went to Club Ceilidh that night. Legs were fine next day. hurrah. My glee was short lived as i woke up Monday and assumed someone had injected cement into my veins overnight. *sigh*

Ian had told me to run hard home. I tried to run hard home and i actually nearly ended up crying. I cursed Ian, i cursed the 2 week break and i cursed my stupid stupid legs and stupid stupid DOMS. Txt Ian when got home saying as much and he basically told me to dry my eyes and calm down. lol, full of sympathy then. NOT.

Fast forward 6 weeks and all is good. My weeks are filled with quality running and the mileage is clocking up without me trying really. I'm feeling strong and feel like its all coming together.

Saturday was a huge confidence boost to me. Way back in January when we were devising my plan Ian had said he wanted me to run from Kinghouse to Kinlochleven, then back, then back.

Yeah, i know, i thought that too.

This was a specific tester run, my weakened ankles most definitely suffer on the downhill sections. Ups are no problem really, but downhill is where i start having issues. . I'd done quite a few long runs that consisted of lots of ups & downs and the DOMS had abated and the ankles ok. So far, so good. This was different kettle fish though. The  the highest point of WHW, 4 times. The descent into KL is a killer. The town appears, then disappears like a mirage teasing you and dashing your hopes as you think you're getting that little bit closer only to discover theres still 2 miles to go. It's safe to say i was more than nervous about this run. This was basically going to decide on whether i was going to race this year or not. *gulp*

I got dropped off as at the road where you rejoin trail section just past Kingshouse so had 2.5mile warm up before hitting Devil. Off i went full off beans marvelling at how lucky we had been with the weather. I've had some proper horrendous weather on that stretch before which nearly broke me.

Said hello & goodbye to Ian who was busy making videos on his new iphone and off i went on first trip up Devils staircase. Amazing how "easy" it can feel on fresh legs and i was even running up bits. About 80mins later i appeared at the Ice Factory as planned, quick toilet stop and off i went on the return leg. Here i am arriving first time >>

Going back on that route hurts! it's basically a 4 mile climb which never seems to end, but end it did and i was soon heading back down the Devil in the sunshine. This time i stopped and refilled bottle at  AltnaFeadh where Ian had parked and set off again minutes later. Half the job done, lets do it all again.
 I'd passed 2 blokes on way down and as i passed them again on way back up i was told i was "as daft as a brush"  I'll take that as a compliment thanks. Up i went again and although it felt harder than first time i was still running up wee flatter sections. Before too long i was at top for 3rd time and began my descent again.

This time i was bit faster :) I arrived at Ice Factory to find Ian chatting to the legend that is Pete Duggan, quick stop for pic and some water and off i went again. >>>

Last time.

I was determined not to be slower and attacked hills where i could, running as much as possbily could. Pete soon caught me and he told me that whole section was totally run able and that he'd ran it one day, all of it, not walking a step. I told him i was a mere mortal and not a machine like him and that i would indeed be walking bits.And with ringing in his ears off he skipped up the hill. As i approached last climb back up to Devil i spotted a figure at top of hill, they seemed to be just watching and not descending at all, most odd. Turn out it was Ian, most odd indeed ;) He decided to test out his knee and climb to top and meet me.

He told me to head off down and that he'd get me back at where I'd started back at road up from Kingshouse so off i went. Was about halfway down when i suddenly heard footsteps behind me, it freaked me out and i  turned round to find Ian hurtling down hill! So much for his sore knee. He said he felt ok so just kept going. Hoping this is him on road to recovery. He's not had it easy of late.

I left him at AltnaFeadh and ran back along the last 2.5miles to finish where i started. I was singing at top of my voice and loving it, i felt strong and felt so incredibly happy to be there. 28.3miles. Job Done. I nailed it.

Ian as usual did a superb of supporting me, i certainly couldn't do all that without him.

oh, and i wore my dirty girl gaiters for first time, many thanks to ultramarathonrunningstore who sent me a pair at Christmas. they were ace! so many times i've had to stop to empty stones out my shoes, no problems at all this time and it was rockiest part of course.
here's me at end

Next day i expected to  be broken, i had made half promises to be up at Meadows supporting the Half/Marathon but actually thought I'd wake up with usual cement feeling. I didn't. I woke up feeling good. Ian decided he wanted to test his knee out so i joined him for a "recovery" run. None of my recovery runs have been just over 8mm, this one was. 3.5miles. crikey.

What on earth?

I stayed in my running gear and packed back and off we went to Meadows to cheer folk on, Ian went off to see his boys and i dotted around course popping up all over place and clocked up another 2.5miles at a far more sedate pace. Still my legs were at peace.

I half expected to wake up this morning and suffer the consequences. But no, I'm fine. 6.5 miles before 6.30am, and it's even half light.  Headtorch will soon be left at home for my morning runs as spring sneaks upon us.

It's all coming together.


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