Sunday 30 September 2007

Hills of hell

OK, next on the agenda was a hill run. So, any normal person would have gone up the Whangie. Possibly the Cobbler. Or Ben Lomond at a push. Oh no, not Marco and I. We opt for 24 miles across the seven munros of the South Glen Shiel one day!

I've been a keen Munro bagger, since my debut in May 2005. In over two years, I've notched up over 80. I could safely say, that my two great loves are now hillwalking and running. So, why have I never combined them both?

To set the scene: We drove up to Glen Shiel last night and camped near Cluanie Inn. It was four degrees, so it was a quick dinner and into the sleeping bags. Awaiting on a crisp and misty morning, we realised that the car battery was dead. Calling the AA we had to hang about freezing until 9am until the car was mobile again. So we didn't start until 10am - three hours later than planned.

The epic route started with a gentle jog for six miles along to the start. Most walkers take two cars to save this journey. It was most walking/stomping on the way up. But we were moving faster, due to footwear and light load. Up to the first cairn we ran down and over to Munro number two and then on to number three. Slight navigational error and we were on our way to number four. I started to slow and wilt with the exhausting gradient. Marco hit the nail on the head when he said: "It's like hillwalking, but with less clothes, less food and less grip". Trail shoes aren't really the best for rocky hills. And we packed extra light with just some biscuits and oatcakes for fuel. A few hours in and it was a game of peaks and troughs. And by Munro five it was mostly troughs and troughs. We were out there, practically naked, exposed to the elements. When the cold rain started, my mojo hitched a lift on the wind. Even the power of the oatcake (I should be an ambassador of oats) coudn't save the day. After the last Munro I had enough energy to run all the way off the hill and then down the four mile military road back to the car.

So, back to my original question. Why haven't I combined running with hillwalking? Because they don't bloody well belong together that's way. They are both glorious pastimes that deserve there own special attention. I missed my sack full of protective gear, nice lunches and comfy waterproof boots. So, will I do it again? Damn tooting. Seven Munros in nine hours is nae a bad day oot.

I came.I saw. I conquered. I'm broken.

Saturday 29 September 2007

Relay Virgin

Well, I did. Bite the bullet and turned up for my first road relay. I've always managed to wiggle my way out of winter races with the club. But the for sake of variety, following my pace and a potential piece for My Race, I signed up for the George Cummings relay in Houston.

Bit of background: Course is 2.7miles. Teams of four males or three females.

Beth and I ate a serious amount of Haribo this morning, so I was practically in sugar shock when I go there.

Arrived at the church hall feeling slightly intimidated with the task ahead. I'd always associated these kind of races with the elite. Far too competitive and far too fast. Jill O'Neil put me at ease with "now you kind do your marathon pace round the course, one-speed". Followed by an impression of Ali Whinship "Every second counts you know". I apologised to my team mates(Ailsa and Kathryn) for being landed with me and sloped off to get ready.

Down to the starting line...I was a bit nervous and desperately scanned the crowd for participants I could beat.

Alisa came in at 17.50. And I was off. Course was a bit hilly, but really pleasants. Mix of town, rural, road, trail and hills. Managed to make up one place. AND NOBODY OVERTOOK ME!! A girl was catching me, but I left her on the hills. Boy I'm loving the hills these days. Up the last hill, I knew it was downhill to the finish. Met Alasdair Morrison on the way up, who I was convinced was shouting "Dig in big chap" when in fact it was "dig in there's a big gap". Rob and Marco were waiting at the top. Rob shouted at me about losing form, and Marco was his eternally supportive self. Over the finish line in 20.23. Not too impressive, but it has given me a real incentive to get faster for next year. I think these kind of races really make you want to run faster.

Friday 28 September 2007

Gym sesh

No running for me today. Just a bright 'n' early session in the gym before work. 2min reps on the rower (32mins and 6k), stretching and ab work.

Had a big lunch at Grand Fish and Chips with Marco. Then we went to the pics to see the Brave One after work.

Thursday 27 September 2007

A dreary seven

Marco was in London today, so I went to training myself. I did think he was away working, but he texted me this afternoon to say he'd just won the climbing wall competition %-) Apparently my sympathy for him having to get the red-eye was totally unjustified, as he was actually away on an office jolly.

Anyway, someone in the family has to stick to the armed with a few extra layers, I went along for the seven mile pack run. The route was the most unimaginative ever. Top gate to Anniesland, St Georges and back along Maryhill Road. Basically the reverse of what we did a few weeks ago, except we caught the long hills on the up instead of the down. We ran together at a really good steady pace. I was pleased, as I've struggled to keep up with the 'faster' gals over the past few weeks. The hill up from St George to Maryhill was challenging to say the least. Still feeling really good on the hills though. Finish in 58mins.

Wednesday 26 September 2007

Getting tougher

After half-marathon on Sunday and 5K time trial last night, I wasn't sure how I'd be on my Wednesday tempo jolly.

First thing I noticed was the fact that the temperature has dropped. Unfortunately I didn't notice until I was down the street in a vest and short breeks.

Did my usual route over Bonhill bridge down to Dumbarton and on to the back road to Renton. I always been a creature of habit. Plus it gives me something to gage my time against. First few miles steady, three at half-marathon pace, one steady and then flat for the last mile from the sweet shop. I never thought I'd see the day, that I'd dread seeing a sweet shop. Finished in 1:00:18. Still can't break that one hour. Maybe I need a friend to push me.

Tuesday 25 September 2007

5K time crime

My love for the 5K time trial is right up there with the 1k reps. I loath having to work to hard. So, fair play to me, I did both sessions without much coaxing. Well, I survived the 5K. I actually enjoyed the race and felt not to bad at the end...which suggests I wasn't working too hard, doesn't it? I finished in 24:27. It was a bit hilly so I might have down better if it was flat and I put my all in to it. I've only ever done one 5K before and that was a few years ago. Don't really remember what was time was, but I think it was about the same.

Funniest moment: Coming in to the final 1K, Dougie Smith (Marco's pal) was struggling a bit. He's a new member, so I thought I be nice. I slowed down after passing him and told him to run beside me along the final stretch. No problem...then the wee sh*te dashed off in the last sprint and beat me ;-) Note to self: Boys are far too competitive. Throw stones at them.

Sunday 23 September 2007

Throwing caution to the wind.

Well, there's the windy city...and then there's the Prestonpans half-marathon. What a stouter of a day it was. The first four miles were brilliant. I felt brilliant. The route turned and followed the coastline for nearly seven miles. The first gust nearly knocked me off my feet. The wind howled through my ipod earphones and my cap blew off about three times. It was a crazy, but frustrating experience. At one point I was running 11 minute miles. It took all the power in my body to push on. When I started losing time and realised my chances of a PB were out, I relaxed and settled into making it a good training run. If anything it was good for mental toughness - to keep going and generally just getting on with. The course turned away from the head wind at 10 miles - only to meet a few tricky inclines. My legs were a bit knackered, so I didn't have a whole lot left. I finished in a pathetic time of 1:52. I didn't even dig in for the final sprint. I didn't see the point. I did enjoy it though. It's a really friendly, well-organised race. And if it wasn't for the wind, it's a great course for PB.

Saturday 22 September 2007

Prep class

Just a few miles of slow pace and some prepare for tomorrow's half-marathon. My legs felt quite heavy. Maybe that was because Marco took me on a route which involve running up a steep hill on cold muscles. He makes me look positively sane ;-)

Friday 21 September 2007

Rowing reps

Well, there's a first for everything. I feel that rowing is giving my lungs a good workout, so reps seems like the obvious step. Need a new target now that I've reached my 6K. Still haven't had my pineapple cake though. 10 x 2 minutes flat out with 1 minute recovery. I'm sure the others in the gym must have thought my workout was a certifiable offence. Mind you, they're the nutters who queue to walk on a treadmill. Touche!

Thursday 20 September 2007

Seven deadly miles

Club tempo run. Tried to cool it, as I want to save myself for Sunday's half marathon. Feeling ready good, as there was no Wednesday tempo run. Plus, feel like my training's coming together. Didn't even feel the hills. Breathing felt good. Legs felt light. I'm lovin' running just now. Although it pains me to say, I think the clean cut living's helping with that. No danger of me becoming teetotal though.

Wednesday 19 September 2007

Rockin' and rowing!

6070m woohoo. Going to treat myself to a wee pineapple tart. Craaaaaaaaaazy, I know.

Tuesday 18 September 2007

The dreaded 1k reps

Usually this is the kind of session that I wriggle my way out of. That and 3k time trials. Too much like hard work! Anyway, determined to stick to my plan I decided to face up to my fears (and idleness) and went along for the torture. Actually, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Warm up down through Anniesland. The reps were along Great Western Road, which wasn't the most inspirational setting. Slight decline and then incline along the way. Managed 4 x 1K reps in 4:32, 4:26, 4:32 and 4:32. And I wonder why people say they can "set their heart by me". I actually quite enjoyed the session. Felt fitter than I have in months.

Monday 17 September 2007

Think I'll take up rowing

Another PB. 5910 in 30 minutes. Step closer to the goal of 6000. Legs were a little tired this morning, but gym sorted them out.

Sunday 16 September 2007

Running or swimming.

Long run today. Just 10 miles on the schedule, as I've got a half marathon next week. Well, it was as wet as wet can be. Lying in bed with the rain bouncing off the window, it was a struggle to pull myself from the lovely duck feather duvet (wedding present). Opted for the Balloch Horeshoe. Jumpy tunes on my ipod and off I went. Bit of a struggle at first. Once I got a few hills in legs, I didn't feel a thing. Don't know whether it was the freshness of the weather, but I felt really energised. The hills were easy. The roads were a tad flooded though. And at some points the water was running faster downhill than I was. Met the Loch Lomond 10k runners on the way back through Bonhill. Stepped up the pace to see runners coming in at the end. Running towards Lomond Shores I had to do a detour through the carpark as the marshalls thought I was the first lady home. Eck!

Saturday 15 September 2007

The one min sin

First session of one minute reps. Fifteen of the delightful little sprints on the schedule. Started out a little rusty, but felt a whole lot lighter after one mile. This session is pretty tough on your own. Found it quite hard to push myself on the hills. Managed to set my Garmin to one minute alerts - and that was the main achievement of the day. Finished the 15 set feeling tired, but revitalised. Covered five miles in total.

Friday 14 September 2007

On a cold and frosty morning

First sign of winter....Gym this morning. Another rowing PB. 5840 in 30 minutes. Ab work and stretching. Trying to stick to regular stretching in attempt to stay injury free.

Thursday 13 September 2007

Tempo temper

Six mile tempo with the club. Phew! That was a tough one. Along Kelvin walkway, through botanics, west end, GW Road and up through Anniesland. Started out feeling great. Steps at Botanics took it out me. Started to slow down along Highburgh. Thankfully Sara was feeling it too. She just ran a marathon five minutes ago, so she had an excuse. We sauntered most of the way, just gibbering. I must say, I really enjoyed it. Good first few miles and then steady. My legs were feeling it from tempo last night. Three nights in a row of speed is probably not the best idea.

Wednesday 12 September 2007

Gym and tempo

Gym session this morning. New PB for rowing - 5835 in 30 minutes. Getting close my target of 6000. Ab work with the medicine ball and some stretching.

Did my usual 7 mile (and a wee bit) route from home. Over bonhill bridge to Dumbarton and then back road to Renton. Easy for the first two miles and then 8-min miles for the next three. Steady for one mile and then hard for the last one. Picked up the pace again from the sweet shop home. It's a lot longer than I thought it be. Maybe because I usually drive it though. Last sprint in 7mins 22. Whole route in 1:00:18. Thought that was OK until Marco did the same route in 47mins %-)

Tuesday 11 September 2007

On the Garscube training schedule for tonight was continuous hill reps. As if I hadn't had enough of hills for a couple of days. Anyway, tackled them without too much bother. The session involved a circular route of about 600 metres with some - not surprising - tricky inclines en route. Being continuous, there was no rest in between, just a recovery on the downhills. Pretty nasty, but it was over quite quickly. My legs felt a little stiff, but not heavy.

Monday 10 September 2007

Monday, Monday

Monday morning blues. Feeling a bit gubbed. Long runs, five munros and late to bed and I'm a little tendor and a whole lot crabbit. My legs don't feel the pain of the epic adventure, so that's a bonus.

No running today. Still wanted to go to the gym though. Really wasn't up for it, but managed to drag myself along at lunchtime. Glad I did though, as I felt much better afterwards. Even got a rowing PB - 5810 in 30 minutes. Think it's the only PBs I'll get this year. Well, apart from taking one second off my PB time. Hey, one second is one second.

Just followed with some ab work and good ol' stretch. No leg weights today.

Sunday 9 September 2007

A bit of bagging

Five munros in eight hours across Ben Lawers. Sounds horrendous. At least it did when I was studying good ol' Camron McNeish's book. In reality though, it was the easiest five munros I've ticked off.

There was a wee gang of us who met a Killin on this fresh Sunday morning. The forecast was for sunshine, but in true Scottish form it was more on the grey side.

The first munro was the toughest. Steep, grassy favourite ;-). But once we were up, there was a fabulous path across the other four. The windy was crazy. Most walkers turned back, but we decided to brave it. Or maybe I decided for everyone. Not only were the steep inclines a challenge, but trying to keep my feet on the ground was an extra strain. There was numerous points where I was completely knocked over.

It would have been a great route to run, if it wasn't so windy. I'm feeling quite inspired to try running another ridge next weekend. And include that as my long run. So it's back to Cameron for some ideas...

Saturday 8 September 2007

First long run...

...well, if you can call it a long run. Haven't ran over 10 miles since Helensburgh half at the beginning of August. Wedding, holiday and general busy/lazy-ness got in the way. Woke up feeling quite excited, as it was a glorious day outside. Decided to do the very hilly Stoneymollen route (above Balloch) over to Cardross and back.

Gentle warm up along to Balloch and then up, up and up for a couple of miles. I thought I would have to slow to a walk at some point, but managed to dig in. Once I was in a rhythm it was less brutal. Mind you, my stride was less than spritely. More of a bouncy shuffle.

The views on this route are amazing..Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond, local towns and then to the sea at Cardross.

Met Marco and his gang at the top of the hill. They took the hard way up.

Left them and headed down through a glorious trail towards Cardross. Couldn't help thinking "this is the life". The sun was shining, I was away from the hustle and bustle. I few brief words and waves from local farmers, but I was out there on my own.

I took the session really easy. There was quite a few very challenging inclines, but the goal was to get the miles in my legs.

The route is just short of 12 miles. And it took me just over two hours (2:02) to tackle the hills. Now before you laugh, let me give you something to really laugh about. I spent about 15 minutes of that trying to navigate my way round a serious amount of coos. I'm not really a fan of the daft buggars, but unfortunately they were more scared of me. As soon as I got near any, they'd dart down the trail. Some were feeding their young, so I didn't want them getting all maternal instinct-y on me. They were all over the place, frantically moo-ing away. I ended up climbing fences and running through fields to stop them from getting further down the trail. I was convinced they were surrounding me. And once I was away I was convinced they were chasing me. Big sigh of relief when I came to the next gate. The experience was definitely worth filming for You Tube. There was probably a farmer somewhere, pissing himself silly.

Onwards down the route passing a farm...where the sheepdog tried to attack me. Despite the hills, sometimes mucky paths and farm animals, I had a fabulous run. I even managed to pick up the pace for the last few miles.

Friday 7 September 2007

Rest I was up at 5.30 to go to the gym;-)

Actually I was wide awake at the that time, so thought it would be best to go in the morning rather than lunchtime. Great session. PB on the rower - 5710 in 3o mins. My main aim is 6000 in 30 mins. Did the 5000m in 26:30. Decided to stay off the leg weights, as I'm doing long run tomorrow. Tried a 6kg medicine ball for sit ups for the first time. Hey if works for Posh and Geri... ;-)

Thursday 6 September 2007

Club run

Feeling a bit tired today, as was up late waiting for Marco to get back from Mountain Rescue call out. Legs feeling OK after last night's tempo run though.

Off to club training. Felt like I should have had a small snack before I went. Energy dip as I only had fruit for breakfast and salmon and veg for lunch. Missing my carbs.

Schedule was seven mile tempo run. Same as my Lesley plan. Coach told me to go out slow and stick to marathon pace. Pretty basic route - along Maryhill Road to St George's Cross. Along Great Western Road up to the side gate and down. OK until we got to Botanics and then slowed down. Actually I was still sticking to marathon pace (8:20) but the rest of my pack pulled away from me. They were the faster ones in the pack though. Really feeling the lack of fuel affected my run. Was craving for a banana or some energy drink. Hills were a struggle. Still felt quite revitalised and fresh after the run. Think the slow easy pace up to the top gate benefitted me in the long run.

Wednesday 5 September 2007

Day one of Coach Lesley's training

I don't think Lesley expected my to start the day with a 5.30am rise and gym session...but really wanted to keep my rowing and strenth conditioning work up. Half hour on the rowing machine (5620m), abs and leg weights. Was pretty rushed, as I had to make a meeting in Edinburgh later in the morning.

Six mile run after work. Started with one mile warm-up, followed by approx three miles at half-marathon pace - 8 min mile. One mile easy and last mile flat out...well, as flat out as my tired legs could take me. Traffic lights outside Vale of Leven hospital to the house in 4:22. Aim to get it under four by the end of the month.

Feeling pretty good. No injuried..hips and groin OK.

September 4, 2007

First day of the REAL training plan. 5.5 miles of Fartlek with Garscube. I've been moved up to pack E. Out with C, D and E so not too much like hard work. Felt quite fast on the sprints. Probably 8 reps of 100 and 200 metres.

Coach Lesley drew up a training plan for Marco and I. Incoporate more speed work...Club on Tuesday and Thursday, faster runs on Wednesday, reps on Saturday with long run on Sunday. Rest/cross-training on Monday and Friday. Feeling really motivated. Definitely want to give it my best shot.

Unfortunately the plan is quite intensive (although no horrible 14-mile runs after work) and includes the winter road relays.

September 3, 2007

Signed up for Prestonpans (where??) half-marathon on September 23. Feeling a bit more positive. Living a clean cut life until then.

Decided to lay off the running today and just went to the gym. Half hour on the rower (5600m), abs and leg weights.

September 2, 2007

Pulled out of the Great Scottish Run half marathon after five miles. Gutted as it would have been my sixth year in a row. Was feeling pretty dodgy on Saturday and got stomach cramps during the race. I felt a bit nervous in the morning, which was pretty strange for me. Big race and lots of Garscube runners. I was upset when I made the decision to pull out, but made it back to the finish to cheer Marco coming in - so it wasn't a wasted journey. Felt like a complete fraud hanging about in the my club so just wanted to make a sharp exit. Vowed to get stuck in to training and find another half to do in a few weeks.