Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ormidale 10K Kaim Hill & The WHW

Long time since my last blog, so it's all here, slung together and making little scence.

I was lucky enough this month that a few of my early shifts and X days allowed me to attend a couple of local races.
First one Ormidale 10K in Arran, it was a lovely sunny day and Arran was looking stunning. Quite a few of us Tortoises turned out for this one as we all like a wee trip across the water. This was my first time running this particular race, it being out on the main road, round a traffic cone & back on the main road.. the biggest undulation was getting on and off the kerb. I'm just sure there must be better routes on the Island!

About 50 folks took part and I felt I was running eyeballs out from the start. I really don't have a fast pace so this was causing me lots of problems, particularly when I turned at the cone and new I had to keep up the pace for another 3 miles. Tried my best, finished and wished I'd tried harder, new I could have etc.. why do you never feel like that when your running? As it turns out I finished 30 from 50 and 1st F35.. ha you can only race who's there :) got my first sub 50 min 10K in about 5 years!!

Feeling full of new found confidence I thought I might as well try out a local hill race. Kaim Hill in the small town of Fairlie. I mean , how hard could it be?
Well I soon found out. Started of on a nice downhill tarmac road and off goes the field like it's a 100m sprint! I get to the corner and turn onto the path that leads to THE hill.. in last place.. so much for my new found speed and confidence!
This was my first ever hill race and soon realised everyone went really fast so they could start walking sooner! Took my first few skulls within a few hundred meters of starting the hill, I just plodded slowly and was quite enjoying being able to catch people. Soon it was across the small burn and onto what can only be described as moorland.. on a steep hill. Immediately it was hands on knees and push, it then kind of evened out to just taking really large steps over the heather. I was still catching people in dribs and drabs and an unfortunate Bella guy went down a couple of  huge holes and into bogs right up to his thigh.. ha.. I'll not go that way then.. evil giggle.

Eventually I went past him and struggled on wards and upwards, the leaders zooming downhill. I did eventually get to the trig point, round I went and feeling really good and strong start belting down the hill, well it looked easy when other folk were doing it. I soon realised I was not a mountain goat, I was stumbling in every direction and my ankles somehow managed not to break! that I think was more luck than anything. I had to slow down considerably and soon felt like a wee delicate girl as I ooed and ahhed and picked my way through. Once I hit the stony path I sped up and finished really strong but I think I may have to practise this bouncy jumpy through heather and bracken running style.

Then unfortunately it was back to backshift and I managed a couple of dog runs in the mornings. Went to the club to discover they were doing mile reps.. I managed 3 sub 8 mins woohoo.

So having my 2 well deserved days off  Mon & Tues. Monday Bryan was on holiday so no running. Tuesday I was up at 0445 and heading to Balmaha at 0530. Best time of the day. My plan was 21 miles to Beinglas. I set of real slow my back pack stuffed with water, coke, a bottle of perpeteum and 4 jammy pieces. Another pocket was stuffed with jelly babies and a whole bar of Mrs Tilly's delicious tablet. I thought I would try mixing real food with the perpetuem to see how I got on. Snacked on the jelly babies from the start, had a jammy sandwich leaving Rowardennan and finsihed my bottle at Inversnaid it seemed everything was going well. Felt fine and had no tummy problems.

Even though it was bright and sunny there wasn't much heat to be had and I didn't take my jumper off till Inversnaid. Kept my gloves on. I was still plodding real slow and keeping the sweating to a minimum so my water and coke were lasting well.
I have given leg 3 of the relay to do this Saturday hence the reason for my route. I have only covered it once and that was in last years Fling. I was pleasantly surprised with how runnable Rowardennan to Inversnaid was. I knew I would soon be hitting the rough stuff, and had plans in my head on how I was going to get through it. Run when I can walk when I can't etc, but my impatience soon took over and I was jumping and scrambling, twisted my ankle twice but nope, I was still going to get through at a decent pace.
So of course I eventually get out the other end and start of towards Beinglas, but oh yes.. legs are trashed and I fell twice, bouncing up like a bouncy thing before anyone saw me lying greeting. I stopped at Beinglas finished my coke and ate a couple of sandwiches.

Quickly turned round only this time I was more determined to take it easy. I had clocked 21.73 miles at half way in 6 hours. (this holds no real baring to the pace as I stopped many times for the dog to have a paddle etc). It was getting pretty warm by this time and I started taking on more fluids.  I felt not too bad plodding towards the bumpy bit and stuck to my plan.  Walked lots, no scrambling or jumping. Inversnaid again, another sandwich topped up my water from the hose! and plodded on. The hills towards Rowardennan were a huge drag and I got kind of impatient again.. ran up as far as I could walked/ran etc. Got into a good pace and soon arrived in Rowardennan with my water bottle empty again. Found the spickit on the wall, filled up again and was soon on my last leg to Balmaha.
Again got into a feel good pace (not quick) and managed to run lots of the uphills. I struggled slightly with the distance as my Garmin had packed in just after halfway, the last few miles seemed never ending. Came to the last climb and actually felt better as I now knew I was almost there.
Up over down and along the short road into Balmaha.. oh the joys 5hrs 50 for return leg.

I did take some photo's but my phone's bluetooth has given up.. I'll maybe get them on later.

Again I had my moments of oh how am  going to manage 95, I guess I'm more scared of the unknown.
My food and drink were ok, I could have eaten more but being self sufficent for 40 odd miles there is only so much I can carry.
My next LSR I'll take on the top side definatley with the descent in Kinlochleven being part of the run. Can't wait.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Hill work

2nd post in 2 days..  I'm obviously not training hard enough!

Had promised myself a wee run up the Cobbler, didn't see the point of driving that far and doing only one hill so I decided I would do Ben Ime & Ben Narnain.
To be honest I didn't think I would manage it..

Bit windy on top of the Cobbler

Arriving in Arrachor the rain started. We sat in the car waiting for it to go off. We ate some of our  lunch (it was 0730). I had stupidly forgotten to eat any breakfast in my rush to get out and beat the rush hour!!

Set off when the rain stopped at a nice slow pace. Jogging slowly up the zig zags, walking on the steeper bits. Juked into the trees when the rain started again. Didn't take long and it was off. Munro headed off into the distance to chase every smell and nothing. I could see through the clouds the tops of the hills still had snow on them. Me there in my tights and trainers.. oh well. My trainers were inov8 roclite 268 with some serious tread! We scrambled our way up the Cobbler getting caught in a snow flurry. Down the other side and I was feeling good. We stopped for a scooby snack before heading up Ben Ime:

Good boy

By the time we got to the top of Ben Ime the weather had really closed in. The snow was deeper and the grass was sodding. Had long given up trying to keep my feet dry, but ohhh when you land in the next puddle of ice cold water..
We quickly turned round and retraced our footsteps (pawsteps) back to the style. On our way down there was the most agonising hail shower, I had to pull my buff right over my face, it was stinging through my tights. As it continued Munro was in discomfort and pawing at his eyes. I had to stop and huddle him against the wind.. poor wee thing. It soon stopped though and we were on our way again.
From Ben Ime you can clearly see the path up Ben Narnairn so after a few lets quit here thoughts we set of up our third hill:

It wasn't the toughest and we soon found the cairn. The map shows a path leading round the side The Spearhead then heading over Cruach narn Miseag then Creag an Fhithich.. but could we find the path!!
Perhaps it was the snow but the craggs all looked very steep and we ended up heading back into the wind to again retrace our steps. Yeah .. that'll be right.. got lost! Finally I just followed Munro and we slid and scrambled our way through rocks. Scarey:

We scrambled down THAT!!

By the time we reached the path I had grass skied, tripped, fell and I was soaked to the skin.. great fun!
Then it was the mundane plod down the path to the car, the path is now like a motorway with all these people walking!! All morning I had been the only person in the world!!

I got changed into dry clothes, dried of the dog and drove home. Great morning out. Think I may try to find the other path another time.. when the weather is better. Typical Scotland. 4 seasons in one morning!!

One tired dog!!

Monday, 11 April 2011


What a lovely day it was yesterday. I'm one of those folk who like to run in the sun.. I know it's warm and hard to get a breath at times but I still enjoy not feeling cold!

I had no real plans for the weekend, I was still trying to recover from yukk work week and not thinking too far ahead. Tim puts a post on the Torts website about a run on the RAW on Sunday. Ellen was down this way and they were looking at 30 miles. Weather forecast was looking good and I thought well.. why not.
Arrangements made I went a wee recce Failford out and back (10 miles) on Sat with Munro. Had a good run, legs were good and I was looking forward to Sunday. As always with Tim.. oh you want to park at the Citadel, just do the 35? and of course as usual with me.. aye no problem!

We met at 9, I went with Ellen she dropped her car at Auchencruive then Tim drove to Muirkirk. I had decided not to take Munro as it was a bit warm and he didn't recover too quickly from the last 30 miler. Think it is just too far. Tim had Ringo, he seems not to a have a problem with the miles.. or the sheep! Munro loves a good sheep chase :(

After my usual very slow auld knackered juggernaut start I settled into the pace running at the back. Tim & Ellen waiting at the gates for me.. I was never too far behind.
I had decided food wise to stick to real food and had jelly babies, glucose tablets, gel shots in one pocket, my favourite, a bar of Mrs Tilly's tablet in the other so I could snack and run.. also 2 jammie pieces for walking up the hills. So I was snacking on jelly babies from 15 mins in.

We had a good run to Airds Moss then this:
Tim done a running pounce off one of the wee board walks thinking he was Johnathan Edwards :-) and left his shoe planted in the mud. It was however a very good attempt!

Onwards we went to Sorn, by this time it is HOT.. I'm going through water like.. well water! So naturally first stop was the wee shop for a water refill and a Solero.. yummy. The lovely man in the shop even refilled my bottle cos my hands were shaking and took my empty. Now that is service. We walked through Sorn getting brain freeze from the ice cream!
Then it over the picturesque bridge on towards Catrine. Tim had been told that this path was being worked on.. hahaha, was like running through slurry.. only adds to the fun! It's gonna be good when it's finished but I'm sure my shoes were double the weight with all the clay that was stuck to them.

We continued through Catrine and onto Barskimming. This has to be the worst bit of the run, the little road outside Mauchline by the farm with the barky dog. But as luck has it Tim knows a long cut through the estate. This is the bit of the run you don't see in the race, stunning.

A nice wee trail
Going into the caves
Ringo cooling off

It did add about 1 mile on but was worth it. Out of Barskimming next stop Failford and into the wee pub for another water refill, a porcelain toilet (totally spoiled) and a half pint of lemonade. Tim had milk Ellen had irn bru and a mars bar .. all healthy stuff! Failford to Annbank a nice flat 5 miles. I soon realised my refill of water was not going to last.. never have I drunk so much. My coke was finished too.
I was still feeling good, legs were hurting but nothing unusal. My fuel levels were staying topped up so I was pretty happy with how it was going. Through Stair, a wee short cut to miss out the muddy path and onwards to Annbank and the next shop.. oh never been so happy to see this boarded up hut in my life.
Sunday morning and a que of wains!! Ellen had her ice lolly eaten and my bottle of sprite was only half full by the time we were served :) 
I did get a photo of Ellen with her blue teeth/tongue and lips but the phone memory was full .. lost forever.. but it was funny :)

Now on our last leg to Auchincruive, I always feel this bit goes quick... and it did. We were into the estate in no time. The thing with Auchincruive is you have to run up the hills.. no walking allowed. This is Tim's rule!! which he broke!! I did manage to leave him in my dust again .. hahaha

We said goodbye to Ellen at Oswald Bridge and was seriously jealous cos we still had 5 miles to go :-(
Tomato lane is my worst bit. Tarmac small road which never ends. But it did and we were into Craigie, only 1.5 miles to go. We plodded on .. there is no other word for it. Through the park along the side of the river across the bridge by the Citadel and at long last.. the car whoopee.
8hrs 13. 36.25 miles.

Won't say I was feeling good but I didn't feel dead so I guess that's good :-) Feeling a bit more confident with my training. Happy to manage 8 hrs on my feet.

Tomorrow I'm going for something slightly different. The Cobbler Ben Ime & Ben Narnain. Hopefully it's not too windy!!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Back to training

Blog has dried up lately as has the training. After the D33 my training picked up. Longer runs, hill runs and the gym. I was actually enjoying it but finding it tiring. I even managed almost 70 miles the week after.
Then it had to happen.... the dreaded night shift. 7 nights 9 hour shifts 1 hour driving. Always the same result. Knackered. Completely dysfunctional. Out of bed stare at wall.. tv... whatever... eat my dinner, shower and back to work.
I did manage 2 short runs and a gym session. Sounds not much but I was happy with my little effort.
Now a few days later I still feel jet lagged and exhausted.
I was planning 12 miles yesterday but found I was struggling to get under 12 minute miles. I had went to one of my favourite trails too but nothing was right. Instead I decided to do hill reps, then a run round the trail, then more hill reps. I was feeling good on the hills, head down and plodding hard but the minute I tried to up the pace eeugh.. not good.

So that brings me to today, dog walk or run.. I opted for walk. Gym or not .. well actually not decided for sure yet. I have 15 minutes to make up my mind... ahh decisions.