Saturday, 17 December 2011

Short runs

& falling off the marathon training waggon with a huge bruising bump.

Basically that's 2 weeks training wrapped up (it being Xmas time & all) into a wee header sentence.

The weather had a wee bit to do with the training. Like being able to run in a forward moving motion is good and even expected on training days. Step in Stan.. lets go to Irvine beach... into the eye of hurricane Bawbag.  Hmmm. He lost his hat.. a few times, I lost all sense of what the F**k we were trying to achieve.. until it soon became apparent getting back to the car with the dog and head accessories would be a hard earned goal! The occasional hail shower was bloody agony.. tingly but sore.

Now I'm no lightweight, not quite a tank but I'd be hard to blow down, I was less than a half foot from nose to the ground & the wind was holding me up.. no more needing said! But none the less, fun it was.

I soon lost my will for all these 5 mile speed runs, the wind, rain and probably lack of anywhere nice to run was all a bit demoralising but I did manage a few 3 mile ones. Does this count? in my mind off course it does. Till I start looking at the training plan, sh*t, not good.

Then after a week on nights.. depression isn't a big enough's slightly more desperate than that. I still manage all my wee short Marcothon runs... and I pass my yearly total.. I was well chuffed, last year I missed it by QUITE a few miles. 1500 miles was my written goal, in my mind it had to be 1501 miles cos you don't pass a goal by equalling it do you ? and there is no point having a goal if your going to stop there.

So between now and Xmas I am going to try fit in as many speedy things as possible. Also 3 times I have tried to run 11 miles, 3 times I have failed. Why is 11 miles suddenly so far?

Anyway as my schedule is tight and my bedtime is 2000 hrs tonight. I best pack my things for tomorrows Harriers V Cyclists at Irvine beach. I have my wee Xmas parcel all wrapped and looking forward to taking part in such a brilliant fun race. I also thank myself lucky that yet again I have colleagues who will cover for me just so I can get out an hour early. run round a desolate moor.. cheers

MERRY XMAS... Karen & Munro x

Monday, 28 November 2011


Something I'm not good at. I was due to up my training plan to include SPEED work.
That was Friday. I put it off, I'll do it Saturday, but.. on Saturday the weather was again atrocious.
Re jigged my plan and done a 3.1 jog instead. Sunday then perhaps? oh dear no, spent Sat night in the pub, celebrating 6 years together (aawww) needless to say Sunday was spent feeling ever so slightly delicate! By T time I feeling better so we plodded to the gym after dinner. An hours worth of cardio and my legs were like jelly. I stepped on the treadmill as my last piece of equipment. Managed to turn it all the way up to 7.5! now this is barely quicker than a walk and not quite fast enough to be a comfortable jog. Oh what a painful 1K. I was very glad to get off.

Today I was DETERMINED I was going to get out there, my plan was either 'the gym' or 'the cycle track'. Firstly though I had to go to the shops, then some Xmas shopping nipping into the launderette etc. I set out in my running gear including maukit trail shoes. Shops here I come!! As it happens the shops are just across the road from the trail so after filling our Xmas boots me & Munro drove across the road and had a 3 mile fun run round the woods. So far so good. Still no speed work though.

On getting home I was famished but didn't want to eat anything heavy as I was still DETERMINED I was going to break my very obvious fear barrier of going outside my comfort zone. So weetabix it was. Within the hour I'm cleaned up dried off fed and have nice dry clothes on and ready to go.

I had made my mind up and the cycle track won hands down, the very thought of 5 miles plus on a treadmill was enough to make the wind and rain appealing. I went without the Munro this time. The cycle track tends to be very popular for dog walkers and I usually spend quite a bit of time either reigning him in or talking to other dog owners. I had to be fully focused on my running, wow that sounds pretentious, especially coming from me. Usually my main focus is when or what I'm going to eat next!

I started off down the hill on the cycle track not starting my watch till I hit the flat. My legs were screaming and feeling pretty heavy but I tried to change my cadence to less painful small steps and before I knew it I was puffing like crazy. Then I saw it, a yellow high viz jacket in the distance, oh good, food!! Soon I stopped focussing on my every painful step and started chasing down the yellow jacket way up the track. Seemed like forever but I was gaining, and he saw me and he upped his game and the chase went on. Finally I caught him. Hi, I smile as I run by as if he were standing still... oh geeze I thought I was going to be sick, but can't stop or slow down now, how daft can you be?? On I run knowing where my turning point was and hoping he was falling off my tail. Didn't want to look round like the hunted fox!!

On turning I checked my watch for the first time, it looked like I was just inside my target time. I was really happy with this as I was totally convinced I wouldn't be close. But where is my target? the yellow jacket had obviously turned back earlier, my first mile after turning was my slowest, I had obviously burst a gut to catch/pass then stay in front of the poor guy. I struggled onwards and had to give myself a talking too, ie: it's only 5.6 miles your doing how can you possibly want to walk??
I did then have a forced walk when a couple of  horses took up most of the path. I hate being close to horses. Huge unpredictable dangerous beasts. After passing them and turning the bend I saw it... the yellow jacket was heading towards the very bright railway light that signals the end. I picked up the pace. I was again determined to push my limits, on checking my watch I noticed I had fallen behind my target time. Ahh bollocks, I only had about 1 mile to go and was struggling quite a bit. I didn't manage to even out the pace and it's easy to see I have quite a way to go before I have any speed even over short distances but I'm more than happy with my effort finishing just 4 secs per minute outside my target.

5.6 miles 46:59

Saturday, 19 November 2011

X Country

Again I find myself able to attend a local X Country race. This time I'm early shift. I beg plead make coffee and generally just be a total suck up to the boss for a morning (he knows it'll never happen again) and get away 30 mins early.. whoopee.
Quick change of clothes, exchange of pleasantries with jilted neighbour as I disappear out the door, air still blue at my back.. haha
Only to arrive at Irvine beach park to find out my race isn't for 1hr 45! ahh well, will just have to hang about, chat, toilet breaks and wee course recce. No time worries at all.

There was a good turn out for the senior men, but the ladies were few and far between, saying that I think maybe 8? comparing previous years for the Ayrshire's I think it's pretty much normal. I haven't ran this race for a few years and they have changed the route. It is now backwards!! felt weird as a few weeks ago the relay's were held here, definatley felt I was going the wrong way.

Again I think I started off way to quick, keeping a decent distance with folks I should be no where near. This lasted for a very short while and soon I was gasping and my legs screaming.
Now the really strange thing about this was 'I was enjoying it' rarely do I ever run fast enough to make myself feel like I want to throw, maybe the last 1/4 mile. Today I ran 3 from 3.8 miles wanting to throw. I kept telling myself it's only 3 to go, 2 to go etc,  just a wee bit more. The final straight I was actually boaking. All this for a great time and position? naa didn't even manage under an 8 min mile and I was 3rd last. Love it.

I have managed to keep to my marathon plan for another week. I even managed one run within the time limit set. I think that is a slight improvment. My 8.5 miles build up run on Thursday was horrendous. Think it set my happy head back about a week. Never mind, loved todays run and will stay off the trails when I'm trying to go fast. I noticed walking up hills is not added in to my training plan targets!!

Tomorrow 5.6 comfy.. shall wear something appropriate.

Sunday, 13 November 2011


The good old 7 nights, what an absolute waste of a week! But this month I've done well. Have managed to get to the gym, lots of cardio, a few dog jogs in between my 'marathon training'.
The jogs I have enjoyed as I'm still getting out round the woods with Munro but the marathon stuff I've been keeping to the cycle track & wind farm, still with the boy though!!

Today, or yesterday now (3am here) I'm up out my bed early and off to the Killie X Country. This is 'real' x country! Fields, woods, hills & normally lots of mud. The route was a bit drier than usual but no less draining for the old legs. I managed to be consistent with previous years results and finished, yet again 2nd last.
I decided to use the race as part of my training plan. Unfortunately I was slower than the 'build up' speed required. Ahhh well like I say it was hard going. Looks like another 5.6 miles build up run due later on today. The pace does seem to have jumped quite a bit in only 2 weeks! Trouble is I don't think I've got any quicker! I'm sure the benefits will appear at some point.

Well only 2 more nights to go and I've managed 4 runs. Best nightshift week for a long time.

Monday, 7 November 2011


The Glen Ogle race was never going to be easy. I just didn't realise how uneasy! Firstly I had no days off.. simple, work a sunday get a saturday off. Sorted. Then the ankle kind of went but was ok but not good. I ran on for possibly too long telling myself it was just a wee strain/pain. You would think I would know better. Too little too late I decided to rest it.
Five days rest and I'm not dead or dying so all is good. Started back out with a couple of 4 milers, legs were aching and my mind was hurting twice as bad. 15 min miles and I just couldn't be arsed.

Happily the lurgy attacked me overnight and all thoughts of training were binned as I showed Bryan and all at work that us wimmin can do 'man flu' as good as anyone!  no no I'm fine I whined between sneezes. I knew if I didn't work Friday there was no way I could run Saturday and if I ran Saturday there was no way I could take Sunday off cos I was ill. So it was a case of if you want to run a you are gonna have to knuckle down and TTFU, and I wanted to run.

So Saturday morning I'm driving, Bryan is backing me up along with Munro we pick up Dave at B&Q and drive to Strathyre. Quiet roads made for quick progress, till we hit the fog. We still arrived at the car park in plenty time. We got our numbers and just hung about waiting for the start. I was soon shivering but didn't want to put on too many layers, it was going to be a lovely day.. at some point.

The Tortoise Dream Team

The Start

I quite enjoy the start of races. Nerves, excitement, photos, chat. Soon were off.
This was Dave's first ultra, he ran his first marathon at Loch Ness. Unfortunately he has been injured since the Merrick hill run and been pool running for weeks so it was never going to be easy for him.
I was still surprised to see him slightly behind me after the start. There is not normally anyone behind me at the start! So from start to finish we jogged and chatted and put the world to right. The route was stunning and I don't think I have ever taken in so much of my surroundings in a race. I enjoyed the flat and loved the hilly woodland.

Gorgeous route

Dave & me

The Bouncy bridge

We too got confused by the upside down sign. Luckily there was a local walking her dogs. Dave's knee was hurting more on the downhills so we tended to walk these. After crossing the road on the return leg it just seemed to fly in. Coming off the cycle track I noticed the pace slipping a bit, 5 mile or so on tarmac a with a couple of  hills thrown in for good measure. That wee road was fairly busy but what stunning houses and buildings, kept our eyes and minds busy. It seemed no time till we were upon the bouncy bridge... boak, I thought I was going to loose either my legs or tummy contents. Round the bend and finish. 30.5 miles I think, my garmin had died around the 28 mile mark. We went through marathon distance in 5hrs 33 so just under an hour for our last 4 miles. My first marathon ever was 5hrs 31 and I swore I would never ever ever do another... hmm!

                                                                     The Finish

I was using this race to experiment with gels. I normally don't touch them as my stomach goes into melt down. So logic is... buy a box of 24.. get used them cos your too miserable to throw them out. I took 3 during the run with a wee mini jam roll, couple of jelly babies and some liquorice allsorts. Stomach was fine. Even though I knew I shouldn't have ran the race I'm glad I did. The route, the weather, the people all made it a worth while trip. The lurgy didn't effect me too bad. I don't usually breath through my nose when I'm running anyway :-)

Quick drive along to the campsite and I went in all prepared with my wet wipes. Ada and couple of others were there, 20p for a hot shower.. guess who didn't have a penny! One of Ada's friends quickly supplied me with the much needed coinage, thank you so much, ultra runners are truly a different breed.
Then to the pub for my soup and lager. Initially I wasn't really wanting a beer, as it happens the beer went down a treat but Bryan had to finish my soup! Somehow I wasn't that hungry.

A huge thanks to Bill, Mike & co. Another brilliantly organised run with the ever happy marshalls and stunning route. The only down side was it didn't quite kill the lurgy and I had to crawl back to work Sunday afternoon whining between the snotting & sneezing.

                                                                Munro looking good

I've looked better

Sunday morning I rested, was great having a long lazy morning with Bryan and Munro catching up and we even watched a movie, Run Fat Boy Run.. total drivel but enjoyed it anyhow.
Today saw me start my marathon training. 3.1 miles at 10:45. Jog!! I think I was flat out. Next mile was more respectable having to stop with Munro on 3 occassions. Last mile and half and I concentrated on jogging comfortably. Finished it 2 mins too quick but I found it hard. I think I have a long way to go before I can call 10:45 a jog. I wore my heart rate monitor which showed my avg rate to be 170. Great but I have no idea if that is high, low good or bad. More research required I think. Tomorrow 5.6 miles at 9:46 comfortable... oh dear!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Aches and Pains

With my usual organised chaos of a training plan I have continued to think about doing something, even writing it into a plan on occasion, just to not bother at all and do something entirely different.
So in general just doing the same as always...  plod plod plod.

There is a lot to be said for OCD and getting used to something.

Trying to mix it up a bit I went out a road run, 10 miles in horrendous weather, even a knight on his noble steed (read workman in Citroen berlingo) stopped and gave a drookit rat (me) a lift through a very long large flooded part of road. Cheers.

I did note on this run my achilles and ankle were still a bit tender. Had a few wee ankle turns on my Glentress run but thought it would settle down. Heading of to Stinchar Bridge next day with Stan for a wee 20 miler was never going to help.

Pretty rocky path in parts but at least the weather was good. I started off well, ankle ok. As the miles went on and tiredness set in the aches started raising their ugly wee heads. I think my knee was taking a beating for me trying to change the footfall on my ankle. Usual story.

Took a rest day hoping all would be better. Unfortunately my knee started really playing up, it seemed to seize up and just randomly start aching, I found I couldn't straighten my leg and had no twisting movement without pain. Ahh well, just don't try and twist or straighten it then.

Do I stop running, rest and recover, well slightly. Took another day off. I had ordered 2 ankle supports. They arrived yesterday and I went out my run this morning with only one on. My right ankle is fine at the moment but when running longer distances on uneven ground both really suffer. Makes sense to be prepared.

Funny thing about running is I never seem to straighten my knees so the one pain that was causing me worry was fine. But only when running it would seem, I limped about all afternoon at work. Ankle held good but I looked like I had a club foot my shoe was so fat with the support on. I am optimistic it is just wee niggles and they will pass if I ignore them and take plenty painkillers.

Less than 2 weeks to Glen Ogle. Hopefully all will be well. Not confident but looking forward to it.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Rain rain rain

Well for once it hasn't bothered me! Wonder if I'm just getting used to being cold wet and miserable.
It felt like every single day I was out burn running, my wee path through the woods had turned to a full flowing burn, the trail paths at the side were under water as was a good lot of the golf course. After running out of dry trail shoes I decided it was time for the good old boring windfarm with it's closed main road. At least the paths were mostly dry even if it was raining and the wind was howling! hmm windfarm = wind. Good resistance training.


Enough of that!

After deciding I was going to enter the Glen Ogle I started wondering how I was going to train for it. The more I see the photo's etc the more I think it is not my kind of race.. gulp. All runable paths and not many hills = fast and painful in my mind. With this in mind I get the gear on & get my butt to the gym. Dreadmill speed stuff, off to the club, miles reps, cool. That was when I was on holiday last month. Lately. oh plod plod plod. Back to normal then.


Enjoyed a nice long run with Munro round the Glentress black run. I ran ALL the uphills. Felt really easy and comfortable. Reached the pylon and begun my decent. Before long I realised my legs were wrecked. Stumbled and toe poked my way down cursing my stupidity at running All the way up!

The thing about the black run is it's not easy. Just when think your getting there and it's all downhill, it goes right back up again. I knew this from a previous run but was still wondering if I had taken a wrong turn! It just seemed waaay to hard. Even Munro had given up running about like a maddy and was trotting alongside me, poor boy. Eventually we finished and celebrated with coffee and shortbread. Well I did, Munro got his bag of kibble.

Obviously I was just being over dramatic as after a wee rest day legs were fine and off we plod to the windfarm yet again. 10 miles this time dry but windy. Fine wee jaunt, but still something is missing. I'm just not happy with my constant  plods. Trying to get the miles in is not the way I like to think about my training. I'm not a miles equals performance person.

After a trawl of the net and a look through my old training plans and races I'm trying to work out what is missing, it's not motivation, at the moment I am loving my running. I find in 2006 I ran the Lochaber marathon!!! hhmm is it time to return I wonder? .. check the shift pattern and I see I'm weekend off.. it's a sign. So duly send away my entry. Register with My Asics, get myself a training plan.. 33 weeks for us beginners lol. So my plan starts November 4th. It says nothing of a long run (33 miles) on day 2 but I guess there is always going to be a blip in any plan!

Yesterday was my first X coutnry this year. Ayrshire relay champs. As usual off the nightshift .. yukk but it was a 1300 start so I did get a decent sleep. This is always a good wee run round the Irvine beach park. Us Torts took silver, thanks to Nats running a stormer. Even the rain stayed off . Good times.

Having myself a new goal which I know I am going to struggle to achieve (keeping to a training plan) with lots of pace per km speedwork etc.. not sure how I'll cope as the speed goes up with the miles. I know I'm a plodder and I'm going to have to really stick in. It's as much a mental issue as a physical one for me! Hoping it will keep me focused through the winter. I saw on the WHW forum some dates for the Glee runs, again I am working every one. I know I don't want to spend too much time running LSR's on my own again so they are not going to be my main aim. Wonder if I can run the Fling off the back of marathon training? I'm sure I can. The Cateran off the Fling? The WHW off the Cateran? I'm not soo sure.

Now I'm off for a T time run round the trail with the boy. The joys of  NOT being nightgshift tonight and having 5 days off to go out and play ... yess.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Glen Ogle!!

It would seem everytime I make a decision and decide I'm doing A and definitely not doing B... I change my mind!

Firstly it was the RAW, I had planned many months ago to run the first 10 miles with Hazel. Then I thought, well might as well just keep going! then I realised that would a stupid idea only a fortnight after a 24hr race. So sticking to my guns here, even bought heels for Saturday night, so confident am I that this year I'll be able to walk almost normally.

Then they advertise the Glen Ogle. This was a no go from the start as I did not have single days holiday, toil or anything else left that I could wangle the time off. So that was settled. You think??

That was before I had so much fun at the G24 and small thoughts of maybe started sneaking back into my head which I dismissed. Taking a look at the route online I also decided I didn't want to run 12K on tarmac. But still it niggles.

Yesterday I went out a plod on the cycle track, totally flat perfect tarmac. I'm not one for training plans, well one's that I actually stick to anyway, but I have added a weekly road run as well as 2x gym sessions into my winter plan. I have tried speedwork and really don't like the pain that comes with it so have decided to drop it. For me road running is as close to running fast as I'll ever get. Anyway my plod on the cycle track was good fun, I was running a bit quicker than usual and had to stop a few times to get my breath back but soon found myself picking the pace up again. I even used my wee ipod. Something I never do when running outside. Suddenly 12K on tarmac is not that scary.

So for the time off... that was easier than I thought! I was supposed to be off last Sunday but worked instead. 1 day added to my toil bank... yess. Now I have the day off! Everything in place. So looks like I'll be entering. I have just decided.
I think my training has been steady enough since the G24, I'll have to add in a couple of LSR's hopefully even manage one on the route.

I thought I was looking forward to the season being over, but it would appear I'm kidding myself on. I have already entered the Devil and keeping a look out for my other target races to open.

With the Ultra season ending the X country season starts, I love it. I moan it's too fast too short etc etc but there is just something fun about running round a park in the mud/snow/rain/ice :-)

And before I forget, I actually won something!! the Ayrshire Hill Running Champs 2011 Lady40. I was probably the only one that done enough races .. did I mention there is just something fun about running up vertical hills and bouncing down through the heather ;-)

Monday, 5 September 2011

Glenmore 24

I wasn't exactly at my best for this run. After the Devil I took a bit of time out, only doing one 10 miler and a few shorter dog plods a couple of road cylces and a few visitis to the gym. I even managed to rid myself of any confidence I had by turning up at the Craigengower hill race... straight of the nightshift. How much can it hurt? it's only 2.5 miles!! Oh yes, that includes a vertical 1 mile. I did manage it but when your chasing down 8 yo kids and grinning like a maddy when you finaly catch one! well what can I say?

Barely managed 50 miles for the month. Somehow I just felt my racing year was over. None the less, I got all my stuff together packed the boot and the back seat thinking I had way too much. Thankfully I overpacked! Off to bed early. Got woke up within 30 mins by little neds and their crap boomy little motors using the road at my backdoor as a racetrack and the carpark for a bloody disco. Long story short, finaly got to sleep sometime after 3 and was back up at 5. One very unhappy grumpy bunny.

Tim arrives 6 on the dot, we get his gear in the car and off we go... road trip yiiippeee.
On arrival we erect huge tent I get registerd chat to folks get in the que for the medical stuff! urine sample, blood taken, electro's stuck on and taken off & I've got my wee arm band thing that is going to take note of all my vitals over the next 24hrs. I'll get a full report in a few weeks so I'm looking forward to reading it. What a really good opportunity for us less able athletes (ahhemm) to be involved in this sort of research.

Onto the race, what a great crowd of people, it's the first year this race has been run and it was a fairly small field between the 12hr and 24hr race. The organisers were brilliant and Andrew Murray was on hand for any medical requirements. I was still feeling pretty low and tired and grumped about it to anybody that would listen!! think Tim was pretty well fed up hearing how tired I was :)
The race started just after 12 noon, through the tents round a bend and immediatley up a hill. The loop was 4 miles long and I had wondered how I cope running like a hampster. It was not a problem at all. The loop was very scenic with a long long hill around the 2 mile mark, This was perfect for walking breaks. A long slope that would turn into a mountain as the hours and miles ticked by.

The first few laps were ok, my legs ached but I thought they would loosen off. When they didn't I started losing the will. I was convinced all my woes were down to my lack of sleep. The miles were getting slower the rain soaked me through (short & sharp). I had a stop to get changed out my wet clothes and ran with just my rain trousers and jacket on. It was still quite warm but my legs had numbed. Tim ran round a few laps with me. On one around the 30 mile mark I was dizzy and sat down, my legs were just too sore to carry me. Getting back towards the tents Tim ran on ahead to organise a massage for me. Normally I would not even contemplate this but as Debs was standing waiting on me I just got led to the table.

30 mins later dry shorts, socks and shoes and I was off again. I now had a new pair of legs! All the excess fluids had been drained? I was wondering where it was draining to. Tim explained later. My first lap on my new legs felt good as did my next. Tim went for Pizza.. yumm next lap all good then 'bonk' tired. Got back to the tent and Tim had gone to sleep. I was convinced I needed to sleep. It was just after 10pm and I thought I'd catch a couple of hours. An hour later I'm not sleeping. Well I can't be tired then can I? so get out and run! So I did. 20 miles later (now 60miles) I'm just soo tired. I knew if I didn't get some rest I would not be able to make it to 12 noon. I got out the wet clothes (it's around freezing) into dry one's and 2 sleeping bags. I set the alarm for 6. 1hr 45 sleep.

The alarm woke Tim up too who had slept the whole night!!! he had his own tired, run down issues after a busy week and lots of driving, all catching up with him.
After coffee and a breakfast of lentil soup we both set out. First lap I was a bit stiff but it all soon got better. Met Keith on the lap, he was out supporting Carrie (3rd lady) and eating a pot noodle! I had one in the tent, so again Tim scoots off toget it ready for me. We spend thenext lap running/stopping with a pot noodle.

I had set my target at 80 miles and had just over 5 hours to get my 20miles in. It would seem though that my wee nap had rejuvinated the auld legs and I was lapping about 7/10 minutes quicker. This gave me plenty time and I was really enjoying the morning. The sun was up it was lovely and warm and the views were stunning. Onto the last lap, I'd taken a punnit of strawberries and forgotten about them, so these were put into freezer bags and eaten as a treat. I struggled quite a bit on the last 2 miles, turned the corner saw the finish and I was like a wee gazelle.. ok maybe that wasn't visible to others but I felt great running toward the tents for the last time.

Thanks to Tim for looking after me, putting up with my moaning and as always knowing what I needed when I didn't! Oh and for driving home. I could not move a muscle!
What a great weekend. The event was very well organised. The marhals were in a class of there own, always happy cheering motivating, amazing at 3am in the middle of a freezing cold forest!! Thanks to all of you, if it's the people that make the event then this is a winner.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Devil in photo's

So it started with booking Munro into his 5* establishment

Poor mutt

Then onto a car park in Tyndrum at a stupid early time
This is as good as it gets

 & wer'e off. Heading to Bridge of Orchy

Me & Soph

A small refreshment before the first big hill

Whoopee almost there & trying to keep the feet dry

Onto Victoria Bridge with the Dream Team

Happy smiles at the foot of The Devil

Happy smiles at the top of The Devil

Nearly there

This pain is real

And collapse

All done & the Torts celebrate

What a great weekend, needless to say I was highly delighted with over an hour off last years time.

Having the Glenmore 24 in just a few weeks I had decided to rest for a good few days.
Went out a cycle with Tim on Tuesday, never easy as he always picks the very hilly routes and sneers if I use my granny gears ... humph, I thought thats what they were there for!!


Revenge, another puncture

But what lovely country side

So a wee holiday was required, just to Peterhead for a few days. Ate too much, drunk too much but did attempt a trail run on Friday. I've never quite felt lumpy n bumpy when running, but it is about all I can think of to describe the wobbly heavy dull legs. Not a comfortable recovery run.

Then it was home and back out on Frank with Tim.

Irvine Valley

 Louden Hill
Only 20 odd miles in & Tim thinks we should climb Louden hill because it's there, and why not? cycling through a field on road bikes is not recommended as neither is scrambling up a steep slope in SPD cycle shoes or running the last bit cos it's kind of flat.

Saying that they were good at gripping on the way down.

So another approx 40 miles yesterday. Legs are good today so I'll take Munro out a wee run. Fancy a recce through the woods at Moscow. Hmmm it has been known for my recce's to end in disaster. Shall take my phone then!

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Devil

I had a couple of must do's for this race. Firstly I must kick the Rannoch Moors Ass & secondly I must finish. Not a lot to ask really.

After the WHW in June, yep, I'm still harking back to that wee chestnut, my mileage & motivation dropped dramatically. The miles I wasn't too bothered about as I've always been one who likes to rest. The motivation though was a bit disheartening. I slogged through July with only short runs, a couple of races and a few cycles. This however is where it all gets better. The short runs were fun, the races were hard & short (8 miles & a 10k) and I tried my damnest. Oh to get 3 sub 8 min miles in the one race.... Ok maybe a joke for some but for me ... Wowwie!
Went out a couple of 30 mile + cycles with Tim... Very hilly and the first I'd been out on Frank in over a year so I was pretty excited about it too! Used to love going out on him but had a couple of bad cleat related falls and without really noticing just stopped. Think I just didn't want to notice!

Anyway this all brings us to The Devil. My third run over this course. 2007 my first ever ultra. Struggled hugely from start to finish but finish I did. Unfortunately it took more out me than I realised on the day and I actually gave up running for over a year at this point! 2 years later and I was back, backing up Anne, her first attempt at the The Devil & I started running again in the January to be fit enough to be able to back her up. Since then I have kept up the running and the Ultra's. 2010 Anne was backing me up and I was confident of beating my 07 time. Best laid plans an all! Tummy bug from the start saw me shuffle in agony for 43 miles.

So to 2011. The Rannoch Moor. This was my first demon. After it taking 6... Yes 6 agonising hours of crawling in the rain during the WHW to get across this sparse open moor I was determined I would get kicks it butt. Thankfully for me it is pretty much at the beginning of the race when my butt kicking ability was still within my grasp. I started of slow... Very slow making sure I didn't go under a 12 min mile from the gun. This of course left me at the rear of the field but with plenty miles to go to catch folks I wasn't fussing.

Had a good yakk with Sophie putting the world to right over the first few miles to B Of Orchy. I nipped in for toilet stop at the hotel & didn't see Soph again till KKL, she had picked up an injury and withdrew. Hope your recovering well. I met my support here and they had my jam mini roll & urn bru waiting for me. I chomped & drunk as I walked up the hill passing a fair few folk as I went. Bounced down the other side onwards to Victoria Bridge for my soup. I new I needed some food before tackling my demons so I took my time ate what I could and Anne walked with me to take my empties back to the car.

Onto the moor. You would think I would have had a plan! But nope, just keep focused, keep moving forward and talk to folks along the way. Met Vicky here, we yakked for a bit till she stopped for a munchie, I kept my head down and focused on beating the moor. Funny how the mind drains it's way through 6 weeks of life just so it can bring back all the memories of my previous encounter with The Moor! Well I was in a butt kicking mood and used all the little prods in my mind to smile remember & even enjoy this run. Every corner I turned, hill, bridge obscure landmark brought something back & today I was feeling good. I came off the moor through the checkpoint (no Lammas today) & ran down the road to meet my crew at Kingshouse.

I had THE BEST crew ever. Wee George, (the bearded one) veteran of many WHW, Anne, great runner & motivator and off course Bryan in his position of driver go getter cleaner upper. Brilliant.

They see me good with my bagel banana & coffee, Anne joins me on the run & we're meeting up again at the bottom of the Devil for more mini rolls & irn bru. We meandered our way to the top! It was hot by this time & my wee bru bottle was empty. Met Fiona at the top, she gave us a jelly baby and took our photo. I'll try get the photo's on but not sure how to with this iPad! We were careful on the decent but I still managed to fall. Being me I bounced straight back up & was more than glad I had my buff over my hand/wrist, took most if the fall! However it did seem o unsettle me somewhat & I soon started feeling sicky. This is where good backup is essential, I would have ran on burping & boaking, Anne knew I had my ginger capsules with me (been taking them daily for 4 weeks now) and encouraged me to take 2. No harm done if it didn't work! Gladly with a toilet stop near the bottom of the slog into KKL & I'm again like a new women. Tummy settled legs feeling good and boy did I kick that Moors butt!

Quick food stop & we're heading out of KKL and up that rather large hill. We walked the whole way but still managing to go by folks. Ontowards Lundavra. I think the heat here started to really effect me & others. People were slowing and my ankles were starting to really ache. I'm sure on fresh legs it would have been fine! We did get lovely cold water from the mountain guys, wonderful. Lots of cheers and good wishes from walkers. Now those are the good points, the bad was I was getting crabbit! The constant struggle to find ground that didn't twist your ankle was very frustrating. I stumbled, toe stubbed constantly, Anne was having the same problems. Not much fun. The sun did go behind the clouds about half way and that gave a bit of respite! Only later do you realise what a numpty you are for allowing yourself to get annoyed! At the time it's not only the whole world that's against you, but the rocks too!

Into Lundavra & guess who's there? Running bud Tim, bandaged up after an earlier fall but still has his sense of humour in tact cos he thinks he can stay in front of me if he leaves quickly... Hehe
My mumping/moaning & lack of pace over the last few miles at least left me with enough energy to pick it up in the final section. I passed Tim not long into this section.. Obviously the fact that he has not been able to run for the last few months is no excuse!

George and Anne both ran the last section with me, we ran all the runnable parts and power walked the hills (Bobby Murray school of walking). Reaching the fire path George (veteran of many WHW races) gives me the advice of don't go to fast here, if you let go here you'll struggle further down. Whhoopppee says me and starts belting down the hill! Some folks just need to learn the hard way! Needless to say the first slight even part & I'm almost going backwards. I did manage to run all the way to the finish line but boy did I pay for that first mile!

Finished in 9hrs 2:57 whoopee

Thanks to all the organisers, marshals, sponsors. Brilliant Moor butt kicking day out.
And of course the dream team support crew. Next time I promise to listen x

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Seeking motivation

I know it's out there somewhere, probably under a wee rock hiding from me. I have barely managed a training run since my last posting.

It was so bad the other day, I'm all stood there in my shorts & T telling myself I should just get out there, oh wheres my watch? oh look it's started to rain, oh I can't be arsed. Back of with the fit clothes & into the hang around house comfy's.

I did follow the Connemara trail race, also William Sichel then the Clyde Stride. What great armchair supporting I did. Some people just do amazing things. Lucy in 3rd place, then winning the Stride, Debs in 2nd place only weeks after the WHW. William Sichel is obviously just a machine.

I read Stu Mills blog. I find it hard to believe anyone can be so confident, but also think it's probably easier to be confident when your at the sharp end. At the same time I find it interesting and have even thought about trying some of his wee techniques myself although I'll definitely not be running as fast as I can for as long as I can, with my usual position of holding up the sweepers I'd be lucky to make the first checkpoint!

So my build up to the Devil will be more about believing in myself than actual training unless the old mojo gets back out from the rock it's hiding under. I'll be aiming to kick the Rannoch Moor's backside after it took me almost 6 hours to get across it during the WHW! I have also been off the coffee and taking my ginger capsules every day to try ensure a perfect tummy on the day. Maybe it all is in the mind?

I did go to the club last week, it was great to see folks, even though they were doing hill runs I just plodded round the course chatting. This coming Saturday also sees the Arran relay's, this is a great day out and one of the few road races I do. Just my luck to be nightshift, but have taken the Friday off, just means I'll need to try to catch the earlier ferry home but it's no big deal as even the later one will still have me home in time to get to work.

I did manage to go to the gym this morning, fully completing my 20 run 5 walk 20 run 5 walk programme so was a little happier. I'll go back over with Bryan this evening and do my core exercises. Tomorrow I have planned a 12 mile run. I really hope I manage to get my butt out the door!!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Training resumes

So off we (Tim & me) set for our 15 miles with the dogs, Catrine to Auchincruive.

This was my first run after the WHW and surprisingly I was feeling pretty good. Legs weren't heavy and I was having no issues with achy feet or back. Tim on the other hand wasn't doing well at all with lots of problems with his back and breathing.

Weather had stayed good for us and not too many flies. I wasn't exactly looking forward to getting back out but I was.. so that is yes I was but no I wasn't. Kind of  I want to go but will find any kind of distraction so that I don't need to!

This run did remind of that saying.. train the same you'll stay the same. So I was hatching a wee plan to try and change my training. The Devil is in a few weeks so I'm not wanting to do any more LSR's.

Gym to the rescue. Well that was after I did a hill session... 10x 130 meters uphill.. jelly legs. Then 4 mile run (lots of other hills).
Into the gym on Wednesday and I a few ideas.. 20mins 10k pace 5 minute walk 20mins 10k pace but that felt a bit enthusiastic and I wasn't quite up for it.. 1k fast 300m slow 5x now this seemed like a better idea (or should I say easier). So 1k cardio work it was.. some folk would call it speed work, but you have to go fast to use that title!! It must have been hard because my run on Thursday got binned due to tired legs.

Today I put my wee car into the coachwork's (Bryan scuffed it of a wall at Tyndrum) everything goes back to the WHW :-) so I was up early, drove him into work so I could have the use of his car, and me and Munro headed out to Failford for a few miles on the RAW.
Shoulder high nettles

Munro posing

I wouldn't say I was feeling fresh. Struggled on the way out. The path at the moment is so overgrown with nettles, thistles and bramble bushes it is very hard to keep up any kind of pace. My legs are still dirlling with nettle stings. It will hopefully be clearer by September. I'm contemplating doing this again this year. Depends on the Glenmore 24. I did enjoy it last year and this year I am guide running Hazel (blind runner) for the first 10 miles. Trouble is she runs way much quicker than me!! Could happen I manage the first 10 miles then die in a sorry wee heap at the side of the road!
Anyway, manged to enjoy my plod on the return leg even if my legs did start hurting more than expected at around the 10 mile mark!! But that probably had something to do with having to grab hold of a bloody big aggressive Sharpie that thought Munro was easy meat!! I had put him on the lead (as you do when a couple of dogs come bounding along) did their owner try catch them? oh no, so I had to grab it by the scruff as it launched itself  at Munro for the 2nd time. Little Jack Russell yelping away (think this was a bark) was just looking for my foot to go right up it's arse!! Anyway a hard kick to the rump and Sharpie got the message, owner wasn't too pleased. Tough. I'm still holding the bloody thing at this point as she stands and looks at it. I had to actually say here take your dog!! 'I' really does stand for idiot!!

Rant over:
Today I tried jaffa cakes and tablet for energy but I really don't think 11 miles is a long enough run to work on the food issues. Saying that I did start running 30 mins after my flakes and snacked right from 15 mins in. No issues today.

Starting to look forward to the Devil :-)

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


It's hard to blog about running when ... I'm not running. 10 days gone and I have not run a step. 
I decided as I was going onto night shift week the Wed after the WHW I would use this as recovery time and take it easy. Funnily enough it has not been too difficult.

After only 2 days after my DNF my legs felt fine. No limping or aching. I took this as another indicator I hadn't tried hard enough! Nothing quite like glass half empty. I'm having to fight my demons, analyse and move on. I'm sure I'll come back stronger. Thanks everyone for you're advice and comments.

So tomorrow I move on. Tim has a wee run planned from Catrine to Auchincruive 15 miles. Hopefully the weather holds. I really enjoy this bit of trail as do the dogs! I'll maybe even go to the gym in the evening for a wee bit of X training. The gym part mainly because the PCB thingy has gone in the boiler (waiting not very patiently on postie) and cold showers, as much as they are a challenge are not much bloody fun!

Next race is the Devil. I've decided just to take it as it come. Keep the plan simple. It involves taking my camera and lifting my head to enjoy the views.
I also have the Glenmore 24 September 3rd. My back up has had to pull out so if anyone out there fancies standing at a tent for 24 hours (seat provided if you prefer) boiling kettles and heating soup I would be more than pleased to hear form you :-) probably more surprised!!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


What can I say to sum up the disappointment? I am finding it very hard to even write down the ups and downs I’m going through.
Did I try hard enough? Could I have pulled something out the hat?
Good questions.

Back to the start. I was so excited about this race. I had been planning it for a year. I had put the training in. All my slow long runs, all my other ultra races everything was leading to this night/day/night. I had planned my food, my clothes; my pace everything I possibly could. The weather was out of my control and as it turned out so was my body.

The Start

I tried for a sleep on Friday afternoon but gave up twice so no sleep since 9am. I reckoned the adrenalin would carry me through.
We arrived at Milngavie in plenty time. Registered, I got my lucky number 13. A few people commented on my choice of numbers but I’m not superstitious and me and 13 have always been good together. So off we go to wander the car park, I met a few folks and chatted but my mind was elsewhere. I just wanted to get going.

The race

I started of near the back of the pack, trudging my way along the first few miles. I was feeling good and relaxed and was pleased as the nerves now started to settle. I’m not sure of all the place names but the miles were ticking past, I was occasionally catching folks then others passing me. Got into Drymen in 2hrs 45 right on target.

 I had 2 weetabix here and a small coffee. I wanted to eat from early on to maintain my energy, I found this to work in my training. Onto the Conic hill and I was feeling good, walking at a nice brisk pace. Took my time on the descent and into Balmaha a few minutes ahead of my schedule. Here I took a banana and slice of bread and kept walking.


Now somewhere between here and Rowardennan I said goodbye to my race. I can’t for the life of me pinpoint the moment it went wrong or why it went wrong. All I remember is starting to feel icky sicky. Nothing too bad but enough for me to have no food at Rowardennan. I did take a small piece of crystallised ginger to help settle my stomach and a bottle of Perpetuem. I had brought this along for later in the race when I expected to be struggling to eat solids.

I set off running slowly and found myself looking forward to the hills as even slow running was making me feel sick. I walked the ups ran the downs. Soon I was retching and boaking, but as you do kept going thinking it’ll pass. By the time I reached my drop bag at Inversnaid I was feeling really quite ill. Had a yumyum in my bag and this put a smile on my face, till I tried to eat it. Nothing was going down and the yumyum went to the birds.

Bein Glas

Unfortunately that is how my run continued, into Bein Glas and I was so thirsty but within a mile I was slumped at the side of the track. Projectile vomit. Gadz. I had also put a bag of salted crisps in my bag here but they just glubbed to my teeth and I couldn’t even chew them. WTF? I continued to carry this bag of crisps all the way to Achtertyre with a faint hope that I might be able to get one or two down. Didn’t happen.

Off course I tried to replace the water but nothing stayed down and I yet again ran out of water. I called my support to meet me at the bottom of the Bogle, walked most of the way there but surprisingly I was still feeling able. Met Tim who had brought some other goodies with him but I could take nothing. Tablet, glucose tablets, jelly babies my usual sugar goodies turned my stomach and I couldn’t even imagine putting them in my mouth.
We arranged for some lentil soup to be ready for me at Auchertyre and I started looking forward to this.
I struggled over the Bogle and could barely run a step on the way down but my mind was set with one foot in front of the other will get me there. Once across the A82 I rallied a bit and managed to run almost the whole way to the checkpoint. There was lots of support along this stretch and it was so good to see people and be cheered on.


Weigh in at Auchertyre -7lbs. Not good. We made our plan. I would try eating my soup then walk to Tyndrum to make sure it stayed in my stomach. Plan was good. Leaving Tyndrum I could feel some energy coming back. A long walk/shuffle towards Bridge of Orchy but I’m still confident. I’m still retching and boaking and had again stopped drinking (cos I couldn’t) but I’m moving forward and making plans for rice and irn bru at the checkpoint.

Bridge of Orchy

Bryan had run out to meet me and again was good to have company. Into the checkpoint and I managed my small rice pot and a few sips from my irn bru. Tim set of with me here and I was very glad of the company. The rain had started. I have no idea where but it seemed to be getting heavier and more persistent. We walked over the hill and I’m not actually sure if I ran any of the downhill. We met Muriel and Bryan at Victoria Bridge, by now I’m soaked through and shivering. Unfortunately Bryan had left my rain jacket in the other car at Tyndrum so Muriel gave me hers. I also had on waterproof trousers again Muriel’s as I would have had to take of my shoes to get my own on, and no one thought I was quite able of that.

We set of towards the Rannoch Moor and I was ok. A good bit warmer and dryer. Before long the small amount of energy I had left… left me. I don’t know exactly where or what but the retching became awful every footstep became a mountain I still couldn’t drink and even the fruit gums I had managed earlier were now too much to contemplate.

Glencoe & the end

I now have not much to say because I don’t know what or when yet again. At some point my mind caught up with my body and realised this couldn’t go on. I told Tim I was DNF ing at Glencoe. Somehow I knew I had hit my limit. I could no longer put one foot in front of the other, I was merely lifting my foot up and staggering. I then had to hold onto Tim just to move forward. Tim, as much as he tried to motivate me onwards soon realised just how bad I was. He called ahead to Muriel to get Bryan to bring us out more clothes.
It took Bryan about 30 mins to reach us. I put on my 3rd jacket, 2 hoods, woolly hat and I was still shivering. Now I was being dragged by both Tim and Bryan, legs just moving and no more, even at this pace I had to keep stopping for a rest. It took us quite a few hours to walk of the moor. We met the safety marshal as we struggled and he gave us a bivvy shelter bag, just in case we didn’t make it!! I’m glad I had already made the decision to DNF because I know I would have been binned at this point.

I don’t think I quite knew how bad I was, but I was told to go and see the race doctor, weight loss etc. All I wanted was a hot bath! But of course we went. Everything checked out fine and I was allowed to go to my hotel. I honestly thought I would never be able to eat again. Before finally getting to bed I had a couple of strawberries. Yuck but yum. I was able to eat.

Muriel reckoned I was borderline hypothermic and I reckon they all need their eyes tested cos there was definitely a herd of Lamas at the Glencoe centre. Plain as day.

PAAHH No Photo :(

I have thought of nothing else since.. not that I’m self obsessed!! but I have came up with no clear answers or explanations. I learned a lot about myself out there. I set off confident, not of a good time but of finishing. To give it up was very very hard. I’m trying not to beat myself up about pulling out, as Bryan has told me so many times… I didn’t. There just was no other option.

I hope to be back and give it another go. Just not sure when. Well done everyone who took part. Finishing or not… brilliant effort.

A huge thank you to all the marshals and organisers involved in this race. Everyone went above and beyond. The mountain rescue teams were fab. Lots of smiles and support.
My back up team were brilliant and I know I couldn’t have got nearly that far without them.