Monday, 27 May 2013

Jumping the gun

I'm seeing my Physio today at 2.30

I've been a very good and obedient girl of late and following Physio orders to the letter. Well kind of. Letter as edited by Sandra. I was told that pool running would turn me into Freya Ross and/or Kelly Holmes, both of whom went on to PB after being injured and took to pool running. The pool belt thingy is £50 though, and add that to Physio costs along with PT costs and the faff of getting to pool it just gets silly.

This is no *ordinary* Physio btw, he was recommended to me by Debs M-C and he just happens to be  Team GB Ultra Physio, he also looks after pocket rocket Antonia too, its fair to say i put my trust in him.

Mags saw on FB that i was advised to get one and offered me hers and was going to take it to Cateran but somehow we both totally forgot about it. So i mailed my Physio and asked if i could walk. Yes, he said, do it! And if it doesn't hurt then you can speed walk, go for it.
So i did. First day i asked Ian how long it would take me to walk the 3 miles to work he estimated 50minutes. I did it in 49. Yes, i was wearing a garmin. I was also, faebooking, tweeting and taking random pics and generally enjoying my surroundings. I miss a lot of that when running i guess. I saw a ship called dignity, and action men in boat windows.

I was also wearing normal clothes like a normal and was freaking freezing. Next day the lycra was back on as were couple layers and gloves. Walking does not in any way keep you warm in same way. So next day i upped the ante and decided that keeping warm was the focus. I went from 16mm to 14 .  Hmm once a runner eh....

And so it continued, i did a wee bit longer every day, the pce came down further to between 13/13.5 and that wasn't walking like a crazy speedwalker person with my hips swinging out along with my arms. I was actually starting to enjoy it. I wasnt arriving at work all yawny like i had been when getting bus. What a revelation.

Thing is, Ian has been telling me this for months, quite probably years. Sometimes i listen to him, i just didnt about the walking but I'm a convert now. Sorry Ian, i bow to your knowledge.

Saw On Thursday i did a bit of jumping the gun hence the blog title and i ran a bit. It was a rather lovely day and as i power walked along road i suddenly broke into a wee trot. Don't even know where it came from, i hadn't really planned to run. Something just made me. So i ran, then i walked. I tried to keep it structured. One minute off, one on. Then i ran bit longer but still walked too. Ended up doing 7 miles, i'd say 60/40 run/walk. Did much same after work on way to PT

Donny decided the softly softly approach of last week (if you can call doing 100sit ups with a weight on my chest, god knows how many minutes planking with a weight on my back and rest of things i blanked out soft that is) and he worked me hard. Clearly making sure the calf was OK at all times. I mailed my physio on Thursday night to tell him about all the walking I'd been doing and what I'd been doing with PT. i didn't mention the running at that stage as I'd only just done it-no point worrying him -right?

Turns out he was rather impressed, even though I'd never managed to get feet wet. He told me RUN. Not just run but run twice a day for half hour until i saw him on Monday! yeah baby!

Shame i couldn't move my thighs day after PT and my calf's were super tight. So i decided to take a rest day as i had busy day planned anyway, once i was in my heels the calf's eased a bit. I knew it was the PT stuff though as it was both of them and in different place to original injury.

Saturday i ran with Ian in the glorious sunshine for just over 4 miles, thighs still sore but eased off as miles ticked by. Nice easy run for Ian day before the Edinburgh half (his 95th!)

Ran in this morning, all ok. So far so good. Suspect the sports massage today that is planned will hurt but I'll find out if I've got green light to do one more long run before whwrace or not. If i don't then its fine. What I've got from the lay off and the reluctant push into walking is a new found confidence. Sounds crazy i know but as Ultra runners we spend a fair bit of our time on hills and unless your leading the pack you'll be walking.

And i can walk.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Cateran Trail adventues

I'm doing this blog all backwards sorry. I thought with Cateran Race next weekend I'd do update and give people who are doing it for first time an insight as to what to expect.
A couple weeks before the fling my club mates had organised a 2 day training run over the entire route.  It was the week after Perth 50k and I didn't commit to it till the Monday as I wasn't sure how I'd feel. After Loch ness marathon I was broken and it took me a week to recover. After Perth I did a PB and PB at Marathon distance and was fine by next day, goodness knows how that works but I wasn't complaining.

Ian was going to footy on Sunday so he decided to come along for part of Saturday and it would be his last (and first lol) training run for London. Plan was to do Glenshee to Blairgowrie on first day and Blairgowrie to Glenshee 2nd day. Ian decided to run to Alyth which was around marathon distance.

We headed up to Alyth in morning and met Lorna & John, Ian left his car there and we headed up to meet rest gang at Glenshee. By 9.30 we were heading out into the glorious sunshine. I had my jacket on for first mile or so but it was soon discarded and I was down to my vest. There was still a lot of snow around but it was such a gloriously sunny day. I'm probably repeating what I've said before when talking about Cateran trail but I do love this route.

It's basically a tour of many farms, one day I shall count all ones you run through, I'm sure Karen could tell us exactly how many there are though. The first 6 miles were the usual, lovely trails and sinky bogs and a poor squashed Hare, the tortoise clearly had made off safely. We came across fair amount of cows on path in first few miles and Ian went to front and shooed them all away
Soon enough we are the first checkpoint area of race. Then it was 3 miles of road before getting to where we re-join trail.

Ian & Donald were a bit ahead and I climbed the massive style to join them on other side they pointed to the huge open gate to the right. They let me, and everyone else climb it before telling us.

These pics are  taken from top of said style.

Might be something to look out for in race if you're running it.

The climbs started again and the snow got deeper as we went on but still the sun shone brightly on us.

We ploughed on enjoying every step and taking in the fabulous scenery. The snow was lovely to run on the bogs were, well, boggy and very icy cold when disappearing into them due to the snow & ice around. Many a time we'd come to a gate and start clambering over only for someone to then go open it. It's not like I've not done this route before! Again, if you're doing race, check first. save your legs.....

When we arrived at Alyth,we had quick pic then
 Ian took off to go get his car and we waited on rest gang catching up before heading off into Den of Alyth which is another checkpoint in race.

Then it was long drag on road again up towards the fabulous Drimmie Woods. I do love this section and was looking forward to seeing the famous spiders web but we were gutted to see it was snapped in half. Guessing it must've been weight of the snow, hope it's been fixed now.

See Fionnas' sad face >>

There was also fair few trees fallen there too which we had to climb over, wasn't too much hassle though, think we managed to jump over one so it's not too much of an obstacle if it's still there. Coming out of Drimmie woods you're faced with a 2 mile steep downhill on road. Sounds pretty good right? Maybe not so much after 29miles running and knowing you've got another 23 tough miles ahead. Just be a tad cautious! We however were finishing at Blairgowrie that day so went for it and enjoyed it.
Day one complete. 32 miles.
Back t hotel for bath, food and wine and fairly early to bed for 8.30 start next day.

Typical for Scotland the weather changed completely and woke up to a fresh snow fall and snow continued to fall for entire second day so we were all layered up. We started 2nd day where the checkpoint in race is just at carpark at bottom of *that* hill

We all felt pretty good and there was plenty of runnable sections, it was minus 3 when we'd got up though so we didn't want much hanging around getting cold.

Just before Bridge of Caley checkpoint there's pretty much no point trying to avoid the bogs & mud, just embrace it and accept you'll get muddy. When you get to that CP during race I always liken it to Beinglas, you know you've broken back of race but you also know you've got to dig deep knowing whats ahead. There's a lot of runnable sections after there but there's also a lot of hills. Fionna was powering up all them and putting us all to shame but I guess that's why she won the race last yr :)

the higher we climbed the colder it got but we were all in high spirits and having great fun.

The fun proper started after last CP in race which is Enochdu. As we started the climb towards Glenshee the snow got deeper and deeper. Not the lovely runnable snow of yesterday but silly deep snow which you'd suddenly disappear into up to your knees.

It became an adventure from then and running was getting harder and harder.


the views were quite spectacular though so it was well worth it, despite it being very tough on legs. As we climbed the last big hill a mere 2 miles from end it must've taken us a good hour, certainly felt like it. when we got to top we found this!
it really was like another world , proper ice cave- quite incredible.

That last mile downhill is usually tremendous fun and it great to power down it knowing you've finished. Trying to run down this time was a nightmare and we kept on disappearing down pockets of snow and disappearing again. Look how deep the snow is here, that post is almost covered!
We did make all make it down safely though and got to hotel, had celebratory drink then headed off home happy.
55 miles done over *interesting* conditions.
Hoping the weather next weekend is a tad warmer as we are marshaling.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Following the Fling with St Nick & Santababy

After the fling i told Nick not to let me hang around the finish too long. I have zero willpower and having found boxes of wine at end i probably would've lain on floor and got it poured from above.

Think we were there for about an hour before heading off to Fort William. After taking off my roclites i discovered 2 huge blisters on heel and one on big toe. I never get blisters and on examining the shoes was appalled to see the heel worn right through. Looking at the tread on shoes they have barely worn down so I'm not very happy with Inov8 and i doubt i'll ever buy them again. Look! the tread is barely worn at all! really unhappy with them.
 After our curry we headed back to hotel. I'd said to Nick I'd text him in morning when was up. Had bit of rubbish sleep, beds are crap compared to Premier Inn. Think woke up every hours or so then was wide awake by 5.30, normal for me, I'm normally up, lycra'd up and ready to go running by then. After couple cups tea and a weetabix i txt Nick about 6.30 to let him know i was awake, he'd also been up ages so we decided to head to Tyndrum sooner than expected.

Luckily I'd brought an extra pair of shoes, my Adidas Kanadias which I'd worn on my first whw race with no blisters so i wore them. Think I've only worn them couple times as felt they were a bit roomy, but with thick trail socks on they felt great.

 Weather wasn't quite same as day before. Pretty bloody miserable in fact and i set off at 8am from the corner store at Tyndrum and was soon walking up that bloody hill.

But once at top i was fine and off. I do love this part of course and i ran smiling and happy not seeing another soul for about 4 miles when i came across couple campers out on hillside who'd just woken up, looked out tent and thought better off it.

I got to BoO bang on time Nick had predicted and he was ready to run with me. This part was new to him so it was nice to show him the sights and Murdo's hill (100k) point of race. Took quick pic there and enjoyed the downhill passing some walkers on way who were all very cheery despite the brutal weather. Nick ran with me til start of Rannoch Moor then headed back to car to drive to Glencoe.

Rannoch Moor isn't my most favourite part of course, i find it bleak and sore on feet. This time though i felt great! The Kanadias did a great job and my feet felt fine even with the blisters (good old compeed) passed a few walkers but mainly coming towards me and everyone was cheerful and said hello.

As i ran across the moor getting battered with rain, wind, sleet and hail i embraced every step and was actually enjoying it! But i  made decision that i was going to stop at Kinlochleven. Not because i was tired or anything, i felt great and knew i could easily run to Fort William. Nick had driven from Lincoln on Saturday to support me, had then driven to FW, then me back to Tyndrum in morning and was supporting me all way back up up there.  He was then heading back to Lincoln as he was working the next day. I thought that keeping him out there for 3 hours longer would serve neither of us any purpose.

 Again i got to Glencoe bang on when Nick predicted and i jumped in car for quick cup tea, told Nick my plans and although he protested he knew my mind was made up. 4 minutes later i was back out running down towards Kingshouse with big fuck off hailtstones in my face and winds trying to blow me sideways.

As i ran the route from Kingshouse towards Alntfaedh i was just about to run past a walker and i said "Morning!" when he screamed like a girl and threw his arms in air. lol, i apologised for scaring him and he laughed and said he hadn't expected anyone passing him especially in this weather. He was chewing on a full block of cheese and had a big hairy beard, mistook him for Richie for a mo ;)

I got to bottom of devil and remembered with a smile the last time I'd been there, doing my up n over day. I headed off feeling strong and was even running the runnable parts. Felt like i got to top in good time and it started snowing and blowing a gale by time i got to summit. I'd got sunburnt and had worn a vest for Fling the day before for goodness sake.

As i headed off down towards to fabled town i was singing at top of my voice and loving it. Because I'd done my back n forth day i had wee markers which made me know exactly how far i had to run. Yes i know my garmin can also tell me that but that town sometimes gets further & further away the closer you get and when you're tired your mind tends to start playing tricks on you.

Nick said he'd run out to meet me and he appeared about a mile from KL, he'd fallen asleep in car which only confirmed I'd made correct decision to stop. I was singing when he met me and carried on singing til we got to car park. I felt totally elated and still had plenty energy left should i have needed it for a further 13miles.

82miles done in 2 days. I felt great on the second run, despite the crappy weather.

Then it was back in car, back to Fort William to get cleaned up & changed then head back down. Ian had said he'd meet us in Glasgow so Nick didn't have to drop me off in Edinburgh and it saved him bit more time off his journey.

I'm am so lucky and so blessed to have such good friends. How many people would put themselves out like that? I have an amazing crew.


This could be a long blog, but 100 miles is a long way. I've always had a pull to this race for various reasons. I've heard many g...