Sunday, 29 May 2011

Pains & Sniffles

During my Cateran weekend I had picked up lots of (hopefully) good info and tips about training, tapering etc. I was very surprised to hear most folks were still looking at doing at least one more LSR some even two. Hmm, that's not quite what I was expecting, but I'm more than willing to listen and learn, especially from folks who have done it before. I know it's not a one size fits all (like the Torts finishing T shirt) and I have to find what works for me but it did make me think.

So, the planning began on the way home Sunday morning. That being very early and me not quite firing on all cylinders.. ahh the drink. Anyway, planning doesn't take much effort so a quick study of the diary and I realise with the nightshift week quickly creeping up I only have one possible window to get a LSR in before the 3 week taper. I took Monday off as rest Tuesday I saw Toni for a massage..  oh hell it hurt, I was warned but hey ho it's only pain.

Wednesday I had planned my run. Tim & Stan were both looking for a good run so we three set of at silly time 0730. I picked up Stan met Tim at the Citadel and we drove to Catrine. I had Munro & Tim had Ringo, both male dogs and none neutered, ha, they were not too happy about getting stuck in the boot of my wee golf together. Typical bloody male species!! growling and nipping. Once on the trail they were mostly fine although they did seem to team up against Stan and both dogs tried their damnest to trip him up.. a lot!

I started off feeling pretty good, no real pains but as the miles progressed I was soon struggling. I was also very under prepared with my food, the cupboard was bare after Saturday and I ended up with some jelly babies a banana & last rice pot, but I still done better than Stan who had 2 wee milky ways! Tim did offer his pork pies but yeuckk. The last 8 miles were hard, legs pretty numb and I think I moaned constantly.. but probably not. Tim was running well considering he had hurt his back recently and been taking time out to recover. Stan seemed to be in best shape and wasn't complaining at all. We sped up slightly in the last mile through Ayr to the Citadel and I managed to cope with the change in pace quite well. A good run and good company even if it was for me a bit of a struggle and hard work.

I thought I had hurt my ankle at The Cateran, then it was OK, then it was agony.. all seemed a bit weird, on Wednesday it started playing up by the last few miles, making me limp slightly to keep the weight of it. I decided to strap it up for work that night and try keep the weight of it. Off course by 4 in the morning with very little sleep the day before I was tired my ankle had swollen and I was struggling to walk on it at all. Tired, crabbit and in pain. Not good.

I have kept it strapped up at night. On my wee trip to the gym yesterday I only used the X trainer, summit master and rower, no pounding at all. I did do quite a bit on the ball too and power plate stretching, my legs were actually like jelly by the time I walked home. I'm not too sure that is what I looking for but thankfully my ankle was fine. Today I had another gym session planned but decided against. Shall wait and see how I feel tomorrow, maybe gym or even a run. Have no training plan made for the next 3 weeks so that is my chore for tonight.

Hopefully I won't spend it sniffling and sneezing like last night. Couple of paracetamol and a lemsip this morning seems to have chased it away for the time being.

Only 20 sleeps... excited!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Goat Fell & The Cateran

This is a bit long, hopefully not too boring!!

I'm obviously an old hand at these hill runs now.. Goat Fell being my 2nd
Firstly I totally underestimated everything, no whistle, no waterproof trousers, stupid shorts, short sleeved T shirt under my vest and to add insult to injury, my fake tan went horribly wrong and my legs were like streaky bacon but with a spectacular orangey glow!!

Just as well I can laugh at myself... cos everyone else was

To the race, Bill kindly lent me a pair of waterproof trouser and Ian gave me his spare whistle, thanks guys. I was all set. A wee bit of hanging around at the start to get numbers and kit check and it was actually quite warm, maybe the short sleeve T shirt wasn't such a bad idea.

I set of in my usual place, last! Bill managed to keep up with me and we plodded the first mile into and through the castle grounds. Bill soon was on his way but I was happy just to keep at the same pace. Onto the climb and I managed to keep my last position for a good wee while.
I did eventually start to catch people but the field was well stretched out. I got to the boulder field feeling ok, walked strongly still running what I could till it got ridiculously rocky and steep. By this time the front runners were coming back down and I found myself taking to the rough ground, long way round and stopping and waiting on them get by. Seemed only fair.

I eventually got to the top myself, but not before my legs had turned to jelly and I was pulling myself up on all 4's!! It was a good bit colder and windier up here but I reckon it shows the effort I was putting in that I never got cold or even considered putting my jacket on!!!
Bill had gone down first with Ian close behind. I wasn't too far behind but both of them shot almost out of site very quickly on the way down. Eventually they did disappear from sight I slid bounced bounded and tripped as quick as I could passing a few people, even had to manipulate my way around an auld git who just wasn't for moving.. pointing no elbows

I was being very very careful of my footing but still managed a few scary toe pokes. By the time I reached the deer fence I had caught someone who had injured his foot so was taking it easy for a bit, then some guy went whizzing by. The wounded guy picked up the chase and they both quickly pulled away. Ahh crap I thought, fight for it!! So I decided to simply trash the quads.. and walk the tarmac if necessary. We are now running on much better path and going into the forest. The wounded guy really went for it and was out of sight but Mr whizzy was floundering and boy was I chasing. Got by him and pushed on fast as I could go which was pretty amazing because by now I had lost about all feeling in my legs and I think only the one foot in front of the other motion was actually keeping me upright. Mile 8, 7:35 mile 9, 8:39 I really bricked it hitting the tarmac. First part was not too bad but by the time I got out the castle grounds and onto the road I was simply only moving forward, which was enough to get me to the end.

2hrs 13 of pure hell... loved it. Then we went a short walk to the Ormidale pub, just to pass the time waiting on the ferry!! Great Torts day out.

Friday morning I set out to run 25 miles along the RAW. Long story short, packed the car got to Ayr in the tipping rain all set to go only to discover I had left my rucksack at home. What a f# numpty. No water/food/money clothes. Standing getting soaked again looking at an empty boot somehow hoping it would magically appear I totally spat the dummy, petted lip tripped me up and I was for heading home in the huff. (not that I was over dramatic or nothing). Then I looked at Munro, all excited tail wagging bouncing about at my legs.. well I couldn’t just stick him back in the car! So I made a deal with him, 10 miles max. 14 miles later the sun had come out and things weren’t so bad after all. Not what I had planned but hey ho.

Then Saturday was the much awaited Cateran Trail. I was looking forward to this.. but not. I mean who in there right mind looks forward to running 55 miles up hill down hill and through bogs?? Anyway there I was all hyped up and trying not to be super excited. Plans had been set in stone a few weeks back. Run at the back, take my time don’t get carried away and most importantly finish feeling fresh!! Well I knew what I meant. This was my big mileage weekend that could either make or break me and my delicate confidence before THE WAY.

It all went to plan brilliantly. I just didn’t expect to get caught by the sweepers in the first half mile but I guess that’s what happens when you’re last! I ran with Stan, Ellen, Keith and George. Stan ran on to get Caroline, he was worried she’d gone off to fast and would pay later. Soon we were all running in a little group, parts breaking away and mostly me at the back. George was chaperoning Ray who was ahead.

The route itself was really good, terrain changing constantly, short tarmac sections but mostly grass or trail. Never been so close to a bull in my life.. those beasts are just humungous. By checkpoint 3 we had caught others and had to leave Stan & Keith behind.

From this point on it was Ellen Caroline and myself in a wee group. Chatting away and keeping a good easy pace. Caroline was having issues with a throat /lung problem and was in quite a bit of discomfort. It is difficult when you can’t see the pain or injury but she was chugging along very determined it wasn’t going to beat her. As the miles went by the legs got sorer and the drop bag goodies got less and less appealing but I did manage to keep getting some food in. Tried a caffeine gel.. have decided these things just don’t work for me. My stomach is obviously very delicate! I’m glad I’ll have back up for The Way.

By check point 6 it was tipping down, I had yet again underestimated the weather. My rain trousers were back in my bag in the hotel, fat lot of good they were doing me there!! I had lost my gloves at some point earlier. Only had my jacket and buff. Ellen lent me a spare pair of water proof trousers and her thin gloves (she was definitely prepared) Sean gave me a lovely warm woolly hat.. thank you’s (sorry about the condition they were returned in).

After leaving the checkpoint we fast walked up the path and over Glenshee, ok maybe it was harder than that but the bad bits quickly fuzz in the head and only the good bits stay. The descent was nothing short of hilarious. A mud slide no less, arms and legs askew at every angle trying to stay upright. By the time we got to the high stile one of the guys we had passed earlier had caught up, oh really!! Gladly we were onto much better grass now, with Caroline at the front me behind & Ellen cunningly going very slow over the stile to hold him up we bombed the last wee bit. Our legs which moments before were numb lumps of lead had transformed to those of a fresh gazelle… oh the sight of that hotel had never been so welcomed. Through the last gate across the road and finished. Ellen wouldn’t finish with us as she was sweeper but she deserved the clapping and hugging as much as the rest of us. A huge thank you girls for making it a fun day out.

I made it back into the bar mid prize giving. Everyone getting presented thier individual Quaich. I was well chuffed.

Thanks to Karen George and all the marshals, without yous there would be no fun days out.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Onwards to the Cateran

After analysing my Fling run to death and still coming away with my initial thoughts of 'I had a bloody great time' I have decided to think more about the weeks ahead.

I have The Cateran on May 21st, I entered as soon as registration opened really wanting to give it a go. But as time gets nearer and as always it becomes more and more apparent that on the whole.. I just aint fit enough to race this and recover in time for The WHW.

So next best thing, turn up plod at the back and get in a good few miles training run. I hope to run at the back and keep the sweepers company. I'm hoping for 20 miles on Friday morning. A good back to back. I have no real motivation to do these long runs on my own.. running in a race with a set route and company is just what I need.

So Monday saw me and Munro back on the RAW. 16 miles on my fav part, Failford to Tarholm bridge and back. I set of with no stress or leg aches, feeling good, Saturday's miles on the side of the Loch a mere memory... for a wee while. With about 5 to go I started really feeling rough. Tired, slow and my legs went from fine to lead in what seemed an instance. Oh well, I had to get back to the car so just kept plodding. We took 5 mins out for Munro to play in the water at Failford Gorge, less than a mile to go so a well deserved seat for me.

Tuesday I had plans for another long run but it's amazing what a reality check can do for you. So I binned the run and thought I'd go along the club 5K. As ever the best laid plans.. had been feeling a bit under the weather since Saturday, throat nose thing and yesterday I was 'frozen'. Nothing was heating me up, went a long walk with the dog and the wind was chilling me to the core. 5k also got binned and I put me wee electric blanket on and had an early bed.
Today my planned run round Glentress also got binned but that was because the window folks had again changed the day and wanted to come this afternoon instead of tomorrow.

So I had a really long lie in, went to the gym and struggled my way through an hour with a big bloody ball and some very small weights.

I didn't realise you could do so many exercises on these things but half way through I'm thinking this really isn't what a middle aged woman should be doing with her free time :-) It all just seemed a bit bizarre.

Straight home and off we went to the Smugglers trail. 4 odd miles of hills and trails and legs holding out well. Got home and window guy is at the front door. Cool.

Windows sorted and I'll soon be on my way to Troon. It's our clubs 10k race tonight. 1100 places and it's full. Always a good race and looks like the weather is going to be perfect. Marshalling in the pouring rain is not fun!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Just a small part

I was really looking forward to the Fling this year, mainly as I knew I wouldn't have to run 53 miles. Cheat or what? I had decided right at the beginning of the year my main race would be the WHW and running 53miles at this point in my training just wasn't what I felt I should be doing. Not that I have some ingenious training plan squirreled away that I'm working on, just that it would take too much out of me.

So yesterday I was picked up at 0830 :) by Bobby and we drive to Drymen. Bobby was doing the 2nd leg and returning home, I was meeting up with the rest of Team Tortoise and jumping into the big car. We waited at Drymen (arrived way too early) on Robert appearing, he came in just under 2 hours with Hazel and George right behind him. Hazel is a blind runner and I just can't imagine the courage it takes to run on flat roads never mind terrain like the WHW, and she makes it all look so easy, a very very special person.

Bobby had been bouncing like Tigger and set off like a whippet out a trap. He was mega wound up. Natalie set off moments at his back. We all jumped in the car and headed to Balmaha. Arrived in plenty time for a toilet break and to see Bobby arrive with Nats right on his heels. Oh Tortoise race is go.

Onto Rowardennan and we had to wait a bit for Bobby , he came in just as Fraser was on his way back from the car for his hat, it was starting to get warm now and even I had taken off my gloves jacket and jumper. Fraser ran in With Bobby, chip handed over and we wait on Nats. By this time it's my turn to be bouncing like Tigger :) running back and forth to the loo. I wasn't so nervous as excited, couldn't wait to get going. Nats comes in I get the chip and make off.
I kept to an easy pace, didn't push myself but went faster than I would normally. Can't run a 13 mile race at 53 mile pace! I ran up most of the hills put of Rowardennan, walking at only 2 points where it got steep and seemed sensible to save the legs. I was passing people all along the way, Flingers and walkers. One runner went past me, I watched him push hard up a hill and thought.. yip, see you later pal.

I plodded on running really comfortably and really enjoying myself, must have had a smile like a cheshire cat all the way. Into Inversnaid and I stopped to beg a bottle of water, I had been in such a tiddy earlier I forgot about water!! Mr hill push disappeared at this point, I had kind of caught him to about 50meters.

After my wee recce on Tues I new how I was going to run this section. Walk basically. No bouncing no scrambling no jumping just sensible fast walk good foot plants no trashing of the legs. I stuck rigidly to this plan and slapped myself hard when I got impatient. I caught a couple of relay runners here but it was brill coming out the other side of all those rocks and being able to run hard. I pushed all I could, past lots of walkers, flingers and even a few relay runners.
I have been trying to psyche myself up when running, keeping my mind positive and not let the demons creep in. Talking myself through my breathing helped and continually telling myself I was strong in body & mind kept me chugging along.

By the time I got to the stile I was reeling in Mr hill push who was walking at points that were not hills, this spurred me on and I soon ran past.. yess.

Before long my little stint in the Fling was over and I handed the chip to Mags. She was soo going to enjoy the Bogle :)

We went back to the cottage, showered and toddled to the finish to wait on Ian & Mags. Ian had already finished when we got there, slightly disorientated and exhausted. Mags was about 30 mins behind, she finished looking good with a big smile. Well done the 2 Tortoise teams :).

We waited on Tim finishing, the only Tort to run the 53 miles but he was having a pretty bad day by all accounts. Fish suppers called empty stomachs and we all deserted poor Tim. Muriel was there till the end though. Well done Tim.. great effort after such a rough mid section.