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!