Monday 29 June 2009

Monday 22 June 2009

All over for another year

The day after the WHWR is like the new Boxing Day. I wasn't even running and I feel like there's a void in my life. There's a huge build up, loads of planning, LOTS of chat, kit lists, race strategies, support team requirements and meetings and numerous shopping trips. Now I feel like I've left home and forgotten something.

(nervously awaiting the start)

It was a real eye-opener being on the supporting side this year. I loved every bit of it (well, apart from the midges!) and learned a great deal.

(Team Sonic and Mama Consani)

Sonic's race plan didn't quite come good, but he finished. And that, above everything, is the most important. He knew I would mock him forever if he threw in the towel, so I'm glad I "inspired" him to keep going. And to finish - after having to walk from Kingshouse - in under 24 hours is an amazing achievement.

My HUGHEST congratulations has to go to Sharon, who finished first lady (or is it woman, Dario?) is an awe inspiring time of 19:55. She is only the fourth gal to finish in under 20 hours. She is definitely taking the ultra-running scene by storm. Not bad for a girl who was supporting me last year and was bubbling "never let me do this" at the end. Her second fabulous performance of the day was still having the ability to gyrate on the dance - even with 95 miles in her legs. I think the beer in her belly helped mask the pain though :-)

Well done to everyone who ran. I don't want you slip into a coma, but there are a few special mentions: Scott (Just WoW. Although I'm sure you looked younger at the Fling)Richie (the best bridesmaid in the ultra running scene), Pacepusher (I'm still eating my words), JK (been there, done that, now everyone's got the t-shirt), Billy (we need to have a chat about the wonderful experience that is shoe shopping) Mike (about bloody time), George (fuelled on the black stuff), Wee John (you never did tell us what you were saying) Ian (the BBQ will be more of a party than a cremation this year), Drama Queen (did you get a lift?), Karen (No more kids juice now you've come of age), Davie H (even a pregnant burd beat you), Dave Waterman (shirt, slacks and grown-up shoes for the post-race party? Impressive)

Sharon and Sonic. And they didn't even whine when I dragged them back to the finish this morning.

Hope you all enjoy the recovery. I'm off to Rome for four days. Yippee. Just need to get myself a double-buggy :-) I have tried to ban WHW chat for the holiday, but I doubt we'll get as far as the airport.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

WHWR Vs Childbirth

There was a forum entry a few months ago debating the comparison/differences in running 95 miles non-stop and childbirth. Men obviously "think" ultra-running is the most painful infliction of all, where as woman "know" childbirth is. Me? I'm torn. No pun intended. They both had their highs and lows and both ended with the "never again" syndrome. As I have recent experience in both, I feel the need to clarify.
Click on the image below

As I sit here with my goblet (on the shelf, probably dusted more than a month ago) and my gorgeous son, I can safety say they are both amazing life-changing experiences. After my nephew's second birthday party last week, I'm starting to think that one child is suffice, but I'll be back at the start line for the WHWR in 2010.

Monday 15 June 2009


Well that's what I get for mocking my weekend's race attempts. I had to bow out of being last runner at the Milgavie and Bearsden 10K, as the only course I was capable of patrolling was the route from the sofa to the bathroom.

No I wasn't struck down with wine flu - not a drop passed my lips. Honest! Although Sonic was concerned I might have swine he wouldn't be able to run this weekend. I don't know what it was but I went to bed on Friday night feeling a bit bloated and ropey and in the earlier hours on Saturday I was head down in the toilet. Many trips later (sometimes not quite made in time) and I was a shaking/freezing/boiling/moaning zombie. It continued until about lunchtime. I couldn't get off the sofa and spent most of the day sleeping.

I don't do sick. I could probably count on my fingers how many times I've been ill in my life. I've had one day off work in the last 10 years and that was because I was so hungover that I couldn't get my head off the pillow. Even then I called in to take a holiday. I won't even admit I've got a cold. I'd have to be bleeding out my eyes before I'd admit defeat.

Thankfully it was over quite quickly as I felt loads better by Saturday night. And by Sunday morning I felt well enough to run round the Vale of Leven 10K with Gillian. I'm a bit of a sucker for doing what I say I'm going to do, as I don't like letting people down. Nothing else would have got me to that start line. Surprisingly I felt OK and enjoyed the run. I tried to get Gillian under the hour, but failed miserably. Actually I think I helped her get her slowest time ever. With a bit of training (Hills, Gillian!) it would be more than achievable, as the best miles were the last two miles of the race.

(Gillian and I - raring to go)
(gearing up for the sprint finish)
(one more medal than Sonic)
(with Brother Sonic and Gillian)

So with four days to go until the biggest race of his life, Sonic has now developed a close bond with the toilet. Oops. I'm so in trouble. Especially because he's a boy and therefore his symptoms are so much worse. It started this morning and should only last a few hours, but I suspect he might milk it a bit.

Friday 12 June 2009

The need for speed

And boy do I need to do some speedwork. I want to add some variety and feel light on my feet. I haven't really done any speedwork since before London Marathon last year. After that I toned it down for the WHWR. Now I just feel like I'm plodding along quite happily. But moaning because I'm not getting any faster. Some may define insanity as : doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.

So this week was the start of my new training regime. Not that there's a regime per se. Just a want to take the bull by the horns. Not that you'd catch me near a bull you understand, but you get the drift*.

Anyway on Monday I did 1K reps. Don't get excited, I did three. I learnt back in February - when I got injured for two weeks - not to push it too quickly. So I discovered at 1000m loop round the block of houses next to me and off I went. The first one was torture, but the second and third were better. 4:28, 4:23 and 4:18. Blogging those times should shame me into working harder.

On Tuesday night, I went out for a seven-miler. I couldn't face running through Alexandria again, so I drove up to the start of the Balloch Horseshoe and did a seven-mile loop round Gartochan. It's a fab undulating country road. Plenty of nasty hills to get the heart-rate up. I started out (not feeling too energised) thinking I was going to go easy, but decided to pick up the effort level. Total time 57.56, Average 8.16. 8.50, 8.10, 8.24, 8.09, 8.11 and 8.21.

This weekend I've got two "races". Said in the loosest term as tomorrow I'm the sweeper in the Bearsden & Milngavie 10K. Jeez I hope the last runner isn't too fast for me :-) Would it be wrong to sprint finish? Ha ha. I think finishing behind the sweeper would be wrong. I hope it's not raining. Best pack a stick just in case.

On Sunday I'm pacing Brother Sonic's girlfriend, Gillian, round to get under the hour in the Vale of Leven 10K. Gillian, if you're reading - No parties tomorrow night. I want fire in your belly, not vodka! And if you even consider taking over an hour, I may have to DNF at 6.1 miles. Just kidding, my lovely. I'll ask to be omitted from the results instead :-) See me, see motivational chat.

* This brings me on to another subject. Not bulls, but cows. Why are cows scared from everyone except me? They don't cower away more me, they come at me. A few weeks ago when I was out walking on a country road with Cairn, there was one that came pounding towards me and followed me along the hedge line moo-ing it's head off. I know she was protecting her calf, but it was Cairn who had to protect me. And then last week I was out on the cycle route in the Baby Jogger. Part of the path to Dumbarton cuts across a field and over a bridge. Fine on the way out, but on the way back there was a large herd of cows. I tried but I just couldn't muster up the courage to approach. I was considering turning back, but saw a cyclist to approaching. So along came a 70+ man on a 70+old bike and dispersed them. I hung on behind him, but as soon as he was gone they all came bounding back over. I swear it should have been filmed for youtube. Me pushing a jogger at break-neck speed whilst turning every second and squealing like an idiot. I have since googled "cows that kill" and there are many tales to be told. Try it.

Sunday 7 June 2009

Garscube Harriers' WHW relay race

Yesterday was the annual WHW relay race. This involved four teams covering the 12 sections and 95 miles of the route. It's more social, rather than competitive. Or maybe that's my excuse for not taking it seriously.

I was running the Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse section (12 miles) but decided to carry on to Kinlochleven to take in another section and another 9 miles. It was strange finishing a "race" and starting a training run. But it even stranger finishing a training run in Kinlochleven. It's always been the half-way house to Fort William.

(Passing Victoria Bridge)

(Delighted it's all over)

As you will see from the results, I was in the last team. That's three years in a row. I think I'm a jinx.

It's when you look at these results to realise our superhuman Jez and Lucy are. Their course records (15:44 and 17:16) are pretty close to our team efforts of 12 runners.

Although the jury's out on results from the winning team A. Last runner Lesley got lost - ended up on the Lundarva road - and had to get a lift back to Fort William. Mmm, you go figure. Although she is 21 weeks preggers, so she can get away with anything :-) She ran the Helensburgh 10K at couple of weeks ago in a very impressive 44 minutes. I think her PB is like 36 minutes, or something rediculously fast. When I informed her that her pregnant best was faster than my PB she offered to pace me round the Clydebank 10K. I had to politely decline. Can you imagine the shame of being paced by a pregnant gal %-) To be fair, she would probably be more embarrassed finishing in my time.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

The sun can take its hat off now

I must confess, I'm kinda glad this heat wave malarkey is nearly over. I know I'm quintessentially British and will therefore moan about the weather regardless, but I've so had enough. For those outwith the British Isles, when I say heatwave I mean 25 degrees. That's generally the height of the great Scottish summer. It would be lovely if you could spend your days with a book and some pink lemonade whilst someone sparks up the barbie. But in reality, I have a car with no air-conditioning (an excuse to use Sonic's), I work in a windowless cupboard and Cairn and I have so much sunblock on we look like THE shiniest people in the world.

Being of the fair and freckled skin variety, I'm quite fanatical about sunscreen. Sonic - relying on his fading Italian genes - isn't. I've had many a full-scale barney with him as he refuses to wear anything more than SPF8. And that's only after being fried. Anyway, whilst spectating at the Edinburgh on Sunday, I didn't even bother. So after four hours of baking he succumb to the high factor. Too late though as his bare feet (exposed for the first time in years) had taken the brunt. Now he has a lovely red flip-flop design on his feet. I'd post a picture, but my blog would be shut down for health and safety reasons.

(Sonic and Cairn at Edinburgh Marathon)

Well done to everyone who survived the heat (and empty water stations!) at the Edinburgh Marathon. Special congrats to Jill, Maz, Kaz and Anita who were running their first marathon. And to the Crazy Germans and Pacepushers. Usually I feel quite jealous watching races, but this time I was quite happy to only have sore hands from clapping. Oh and a very sore throat, as I was screaming like a banshee.

Despite my dislike of running in hot weather, I have managed quite a few runs. I was out with the baby jogger again last Friday. I don't know whether it was the heat or sore arms, but I had a stinker of a seven-miler. I was so glad it was over. I didn't get a chance at the weekend, but did some step reps on Monday night and a 10-miler last night - three minutes slower, but I actually quite enjoyed it.

Stop press: Sonic and I have found a TV programme we both like. I don't usually have the concentration span to sit and watch a full programme. Sonic always gets annoyed, as I get up and wander off to potter about. I do, however, love a bit of reality TV. Britain's Got Talent, X-factor, Big Brother - all the cr*p of the day really. But I don't do soaps or anything you have to follow. Anyway, our Skybox is full of Sonic's faves: Heroes, Lost, Fringe, Terminator, Prison Break and some very bizarre documentaries. All of which I don't really understand. I kid you not, he once sat through a documentary on how to make windscreen wipers. Really! As my eyes were boring into the side of his head he casually said "it's only got 15 minutes left". That was 15 minutes of my life I'll never get back. I digress...has anyone seen Lie to Me? It rocks! And we both like it. But now that Britain's Got Talent has finished it's time to start with Big Brother and America's Got Talent (which always has a special class of nutter) woohoo!