Friday 28 May 2010

The countdown begins

Only three weeks to go, folks. I've pretty much done all I can, so now I just need to get myself mentally prepared. As Henry Ford once said: "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Never a truer word said.

So since we last spoke, it took me a while to get back my mojo back after the two day run. The mind was willing, but my legs told me to feck off.

We had the club "training" weekend in Callander last week. I took the conventional route and drove the 30miles with the car bursting at the seams. Sonic ran there. Go figure.

The weekend is always more social and less boot-camp. There's certainly more input (food and drink) and less output (running) for the duration. Big family feasts, late night drinking, bit of a sing-song and lots of chats.

My favourite conversations of the weekend were with Ladies Captain, Irish Maz and Men's Vice Captain, Joe.

Maz, dear sweet Maz, after years of running and leading trophy-winning ladies club teams into races finally (you could actually hear the penny drop) discovered the difference between the gun time and chip time. I kid you not, she actually wondered why the official time was always slightly faster than her watch time.

But Joe? Crazy, crazy Joe. To set the scene, there's a new whippet fast French guy who has joined the club. He has one of those accents, that you're not quite sure if he's putting it on. Anyway we were discussing what a great asset he is to the club, when Joe announced that he was welcoming him by speaking French to him. "Really, Joe, you can speak French?" To which he replied in the super-enthusiastic way that only Joe does: "Yeh, really". After I asked him what he had said to him he said "Je voudrais un baggette avec jambon and fromaige". No joke, he told him he would like a ham and cheese piece. WTF? No wonder the wee guy runs so fast.

Who would want to take time out and run when there's such great entertainment. And there was the small matter of the hottest day of the year. Not being a bit fan of running and heat, it was only my conscience that got me out. A nice easy five miler along the lochside.

On Sunday I ran on the cycle route from Callander to Aberfoyle. Great track with lots of cheeky hills to warm up the lungs. It's pretty much up and up. I was looking forward to the sharp down bits, but unforuntately I took the wrong turn and Sonic had to come and pick me up off the main road. Typical, eh? What goes up, must get lost.

Things have been a bit perkier this week. Good tempo on Tuesday (ave 7:22), 400m on the grass track on Wednesday morning and eight miles easy today.

My last long run with be on Monday - Kingshouse to Beinglas (31 miles) and then it's officially taper time.

Cairn's been sorting out the support vehicle.

Thursday 20 May 2010

Pièce de résistance

That's it. I've completed my highest mileage week in preparation for the fast appropriately 95 miles of joy. Big tick. But after running 73 miles over two days, you would have thought I'd have slept like a log. No such luck, I was up at 3am reading blogs and faffing about on Facebook and Ebay. I even woke Sonic up to tell him about Mrs Mac's FB status about a runner on the Cateran Trail ultra who stopped at mile 46 for a coffee and a cigarette! Brilliant. Frustratingly post-long-distance-run restlessness is becoming part and parcel for me. After the Devil's last year, I had about an hour's sleep. It didn't help that my ankles felt like I done a round with Kathy Bates. I had a house full of insomniacs after the Fling and I was up and down most of last Saturday and Sunday night.

Does anyone else have problems sleeping after long hours of running? After a wee google search, here's the theory:

The physical and psychological stresses of training beyond your individual threshold may stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, leading to irritability and reducing the quality and quantity of sleep.

Yep, I'm none the wiser too.

Anyway, here's how my week went:

Tuesday: 8 miles with 5 mile tempo (7.31, 7.09, 7.12, 7.08, 7.02 ave 7.13)

Wednesday: 8 miles steady ave 8.28

Friday - Milngavie to Beinglas 41.5 miles.

Booked myself on the 3:30pm Citylink bus back. I Started about 6.30am - allowing myself nine hours to complete the route. I did it in 7:19 in the Fling, but was aiming for 8:30 as part of the two-day run.

I was slightly nervous about doing this run alone. Me. Alone. With only my thoughts. The Gibbering Midget and I had planned this weekend a few months ago, but she had to start early and do an out and back, as she had a hospital appointment for her Mum in the afternoon.

The GM was the only runner I met on the whole journey - just outside Drymen. It was quite comical, as we were pretty much wearing the same outfit. Black 2XU compression tights, black tee, Nike sleeves and Nathan backpacks. She was wearing her signatory black buff and I, of course, had a black cap. The ginger ninjas indeed. En route to Balmaha a wee man shouted "Hello again!" I had a wee chuckle when I thought he must have been thinking I'd tanned a shed load of jelly babies since our last encounter.

It was a fabulous morning for running. Bright and fresh. Here's the cracking view over Loch Lomond.

I was having a slight panic about the potential to getting burned when, right on cue, the torrential rain started. By the time I got to Rowardennan, you couldn't see the loch for grey clouds. You gotta love the Scottish weather.

Generally I had quite a good run. I'd be lying if I said I was over the Fling though. I'm glad I gave myself loads of time, so I could take a 15 minute break at Rowardennan and stopped to talk to a few elderly trekkers at Doune Bothy. After seven hours on my own, I was almost talking to the birds.

I finished in 8:29 (who says you can set your heart by my pacing?!). Plenty of time to wander round to Drover's, get sorted and catch the bus. Glad I booked the bus though, as it was packed. Felt sorry for the poor woman sitting next to me all the way back to Glasgow though, as after 41miles over the lochside, I smelt like a goat!

The GM called when I was on the bus - at the dodgy mobile signal bit(again to the annoyance of the woman next to me). We were both complaining about having to carry so much gear, so I mentioned that I was going to talk nicely to Sonic to see if he will support us on day two...then we got cut off. Back in range I got a text from Sonic saying "Sharon has texted to see if I will support you both tomorrow". You gotta love her :-)

Saturday - Beinglas to Kingshouse

And then there was day two. After the previous days's lonesome adventures, the GM and I were both glad of the company. And, of course, having Sonic and Cairn on support.

Driving up to Beinglas farm we saw a chap with two young boys who were dressed head-to-toe in hiking gear. I commented to Sonic that I hope Cairn turns out like that. Although after naming him Cairn he will probably rebel and take up Badmington or cricket or something. Heading up on to the track we had a brief conversation with the boys' Dad. I told him that I hope my son becomes an adventure-type and he said to check out their website. So here it is, Ryan Gosling - the youngest attempt at a Munro round.

And then we had to run. I knew I would be a bit rusty, but the whole run to Tyndrum was pretty nasty. Some drugs, coke and tablet at Brodie's and I was off. Knackered, but a bit more chipper. Ironically my best section was from Bridge of Orchy - courtesy of a Red Bull shot. You know you're an ultra runner when it takes you 20 miles to feel right.

Generally my legs felt ok. My quads were slightly trashed, but my glutes were the worst. I expected to finish with a Kylie bum, but given that most of pain was caused by the vibration of the jiggly bits, I knew that wasn't going to happen.

It true Scottish style we started the run peeling off layers in the heat and finished getting pelted with hailstones. Oh well a nice 7m/m finish into Kingshouse put some zip back into her legs.

And now for the sad bit...

Some readers may know the GM's Mum has been unwell for a few months. During our run on Saturday she had an operation. The GM made numerous calls throughout the day to check progress and got the all clear on the way home. Later that night, after the GM's visit, she took a turn for the worse and passed on Tuesday evening. I'm sure her Mum is catching up with her lost son and watching over her girl.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Just in case you thought I was becoming a serious runner...

...Let me remind you how shallow I am. New pink shoes. Woohoo.

Not sure they're going to help me much with the small matter of a 75 mile (two-day) training run this weekend. But at least they'll match my face.

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Glasgow Women's 10K

Got myself a wee PB, so I did. 46.41. Nothing to write home about, or blog for that matter, so I'll just give you the brief facts.

Position: 201 out of nearly 11,000.

Splits: 7:12, 7:26, 7:24, 7:34, 7:49, 7:13, 6.51 (that's just for the last 0.29 though)

Report: My legs generally felt ok, until I hit a hill. See mile 4/5 above. That'll be the Fling effect. Or maybe because I'm used to walking and snacking on hills. That'll be the ultra-distance running effect.

Congrats to: Gibbering Midget for donning the Garscube vest, Dr CG for a kicking ass and being v colour coordinated, Mo and Anna for letting me look at their backs the WHOLE way, Debs G (20th)for reminding me why I don't join Johnston's Joggers, Linda K for a fab top 100 poisition, Mrs JK for showing JK and the little JKs how to do it..and to everyone to finished or helped make the event as amazing as it is.

Click here for more pictures. And here for results

Thanks for Sonic and Cairn for support.

Thursday 6 May 2010

Back in the saddle

My main goal from the Fling was to recover quite swiftly and get back into training. After a few restless nights (damn adrenaline!), few days of achy legs and a couple of swims, I went back to club training on Thursday night. Let's just say it wasn't finest athletic performance. My legs felt OK, but they didn't feel connected to my body. I was stumbling, tripping and kicking my ankles - all things I do when I'm tired. Not sure whether I was trailing my feet more or the fatigue had effected my foot-eye coordination. For a bit of distraction, my breathing was way worse than my legs. I felt like I was running up hill, even though we were on the monotonous flats of the canal.

Thankfully I felt better towards the end. And on Saturday I had a great run with the Gibbering Midget. We started at Kinghouse and headed up passed the Glencoe Ski Centre. What started as a "let's take is very easy", moved on to a trot up the hills to a full-out race across Rannoch Mor. Both of us feeling quite sprightly. After a night of beer-guzzling in the Clachaig Inn, we weren't so sprightly on Sunday morning. My hangover was short-lived as I was thrown into the frenzy of a lively three-year-olds' birthday party at one of these crazy house play centres.

Monday I took an extra rest day as the family were coming over for lunch. It was just the kick up the ass we needed to get the house (almost) finished.

Tuesday was legs were twitching to go, so embarked on my usual southside tempo route. Two mile warm-up, followed by five at tempo and one for a wee cooldown. Splits: 7.37, 7.21, 7.17, 7.16, 6.59. Took a wee bit to get the ol' pins turning over, but did you notice I did a mile that began with a 6? Did you?

Yesterday morning I did 500m reps. 'Twas OK, but my legs felt it towards the end. Tonight I'm up at the club for a 6m steady, then two days of nothingness before the Women's 10K on Sunday. Talk about one extreme to the other. I can't say I'm overly bothered about it, I would just like to do it every year. Last year it was my comeback (post Cairn) race. If I can enjoy it half a much as I did last year, then I will be happy.