Saturday 31 July 2010

Kilpatrick Hills

Did my last long-ish run before the Devil's this morning. Kilpatrick Hill circuit is now my pre-race ritual.

We had a freelance photographer following us, as he's putting together a portfolio on ultra running. More specifically for the build up to the Devil's race.

Nothing really to report, I just like this picture that Sonic took. The best thing about Scotland is having such fabulous hills and trails within minutes of the city.

Thursday 29 July 2010


I did my last (oh and second) run for the Devil's last weekend. Two weeks ago I ran Tyndrum to Kingshouse and on Saturday there I covered Kingshouse to Fort William.

Lord knows I don't need to familiarise myself with the route. It's second only to my daily commute. But somehow, it my strange little world, it seemed like a good idea to do the full route as two training runs.

Cairn got to spend the day with Gran, so Sonic and I could run together - but, you know, no where near each other. We met up with Tim and Ross and hoped to catch up with Sue and Mandy en route.

One of the main reasons for this run, was to try out the terrain in road shoes. I've always worn trail shoes. It's ok for the first few miles, but I didn't have the same confidence coming off the Devil's Staircase. OK for holding back on the quad-knackering pace, but I was putting on the "brakes" which would made it worse. Didn't help that I was chasing down three boys - two of whom were trying to stick with Sonic. Actually Sonic was being rather reserved. So reserved in fact that we actually got to Kinlochleven only metres apart, which made me think he wasn't taking it seriously enough. Or maybe it's role reversal!

I think it's the one and only time that I didn't bomb on the soul-zapping Lairig Mor. I caught up with Ross about half-way. He's about eight foot tall, so got up the hills in about five steps. He was suffering with vaious ailments from the week before's Clyde Stride. Imagine! So I dropped him and pushed on.

I got to Lundarva in three hours dead, and then had an overwhelming urge to beat my time from last year (I did this route two weeks before too). A wee bit of tablet and Red Bull shot (you can take the girl out of Glasgow...) and I was re-born.

I was trying to keep steady, but ended up pushing more that I probably should have. There may or may not have been a wee bit of warrior chanting going on. I finished in 4.08, so six minutes faster than last year.

So, yep, all good. Nice wee confidence booster. Shame I've knackered my quads in the process. Coming down the stairs this week has been a bit nippy.

I've had few good swims and a couple of rubbish runs. Yesterday I did a session of one minute intervals to try and get the ol' trunks moving. And tonight it's an out-and-back with the club, which essential means running like the clappers for a few miles. Turning around and running like the clappers on the way back.

I'm loving swimming right now. I started in April (ish) when I could just about muster two lengths of front crawl. Yesterday, I did 52. My ultimate goal is to some day (far, far away) do an Ironman Triathlon. I think I've got the running bit covered and the swimming is in progress. But I'm lacking in the cycling discipline. Unless of course you count my one and only cycle of 2010, when my main goal was not to get hit by a car. So, I've started reading about Ironman Triathlons. I nearly keeled when I found out it was 112 miles on the bike. WTF? Maybe I should have found this out before my crazy thoughts went on overdrive.

Back in the real work...Work has been pretty adventurous. What I love about newspapers is that no two days on the job are the same. This week I've been dealing with our Everyday Heroes project. I got the pleasure of phoning Mark Cooper to tell he had won the Sporting category. Mark completed 50 marathons (Amsterdam to Barcelona) is 56 days to raise over £30,000 for the charity that helped his late Mother. He's a super nice guy and was really overwhelmed by his award. No stranger to a challenge he's also setting out this weekend to break the Hadrian's Wall record - hoping to cover 84 miles in less than 17 hours. When I told Sonic of this feat, I could see his crazy thoughts going into this space.

Following on from my conversation with Mark, I spoke to a one-legged man who asked if he could call me back as he was going out for a four-hour swim and didn't want to miss the tide. What a humbling experience that was. Note to self: Must stop moaning about sore quads.

Saturday 17 July 2010

Clyde Stride

I'll leave the official blog reports to Mrs MacPirate (Race Director), the Subversive Runner (her bitch) and all the fabulous starters and finishers who took part in today's inaugural Clyde Stride 40. No doubt everyone has their own stories to tell.

Only in ultra racing could a course be describe as "too short and too flat" in a negative way. Only over such a distance could the winner take a FIVE MILE detour and still come in first. And the lead lady stop to help a lost dog and chap on a door to ask for directions. It's all part of the adventure.

I helped out at the start and then supported the Gibbering Midget and took lots of photos on the way (well, of anyone who was before and slightly after the GM!).

Click here for race pictures.

The Gibbering Midget ran with the super-smiley Jamie Aarons most of the way. Check this out, her ears were actually bleeding at the end.

Just kidding, she collided with a tree branch. I shouldn't joke as I've since heard she had to make a trip to A&E for a couple of clips as the bleeding wouldn't stop. Remember what I said about everyone having their own race story.

Well done y'all. Especially Mrs Mac. It was a pleasure to be a part of it...and even more so being on the sane side of the fence.

Friday 16 July 2010

A Wee Devil

Last weekend I had my first post-race outing on the West Highland Way. In preparation for the fast-approaching Devil o' the Highland Race (August 7) I did the first half of the course from Tyndrum to Kingshouse.

Sonic and Cairn had "volunteered" to come along, with the view to Sonic running back from Kingshouse to Bridge of Orchy. Leaving poor little Cairn to play team relay baton again.

It went fairly well. Legs good, breathing good, hills not too taxing. I pretty much ran all of the way apart from the hill out of Bridge of Orchy. Times fairly similar to where I was last year. All in all I was quite pleased. Also quite pleased when it was over too (see attached video)

Then it was Sonic's turn to go. Donning one of those outfits that only ultra-runners would deem acceptable for public viewing - complete with Skins and knee-length compression socks. I took great delight in mocking him about his hairs sticking through his socks. Bit of banter back and forth and I nipped it in the bud with a sentence I hope never to use again: "I don't give a f**k what Richie does, you're not shaving your legs".

And here's Sonic playing about with his new iphone. Unfortunately for Cairn, he takes after me and goes bright red when he's hot.

Other stuff

Sunday: 12 mile walk with Cairn. He was in his buggy, before you call the Social
Monday: 4 mile walk + 50 lengths of the pool
Tuesday: 8 mile with 5 mile tempo (7.24, 7.25, 7.32, 7.29, 7.18 ave 7.26)
Wednesday: 5 mile with 6 x 500m reps
Thursday: Club run. 8m with 2 x 2 mile intervals. Killer! 7.17, 7.07 recovery jog and then off again 7.20, 7.03
Today: 50 lengths of the pool.

Yesterday I went to see the Polish Ambassador of Deep Heat to assess the damage in my legs. Not to bad...until he found a knot in my hamstring, which he would not give up on. There was a fair amount of colourful language used. At one point I thought he was going to have to drag me by my ankles to get me back on the table. It's got to be good for you, eh? Because it certainly isn't pleasant.

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Sunday 4 July 2010

Ready Steady Cook

It's been a while since I had been at club training, due to a combination of recovering from the Fling, the Polaroid races being on Thursday nights and tapering for the WHW.

Since the arrival of Cairn, I do most of my training on my own, so it's always nice to have some company. The session was billed as a steady seven miles, so I thought that was do-able. Quite a hilly route, but manageable (ish) at a steady pace. If only someone had turned down the heat. Steady pace was fine, legs were fine (ish) but after four miles I thought I was going to spontaneously combust. Giving the shade of my fellow runners' faces and the lack of chat, I think it was the general consensus.

It was probably one of the few times I actually welcomed a post-run ice bath.

Yesterday, I did the Kilpatrick hill route with the Gibbering Midget. I always maintain hills are a good tester for fitness and general physical well-being. I'm glad to report, we were pleasantly surprised. A bit of edging-each-other-on in the last few miles and I'm sure we got a route PB.

Cairn and I spent a leisurely afternoon in Largs with my Mum and Sis. Cairn was very excited about seeing the ferry. Shame he wasn't so excited about going back into his buggy. Public toddler tantrums can really test your general mental well-being.

Today, I did a 4.5m easy from the house. My legs felt like someone had put bricks in my shoes and my ankles are still dodgy, but thankfully it got better as the run went on.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Life after death

Although I don't think I'd take my chances with a three-legged donkey right now. Unlike this crazy fool. Click on pic below.

I took a few days off after the race. Swam or walked every day to try to keep things moving. I'm not sure what things, but I remember someone gave me this advice once! :-)

I went for a 4.5m run on Saturday afternoon, which wasn't pretty. I left the house and trotted along the street feeling quite light and fresh, until I hit an incline and my legs turned into a bag of spanners. It was quite muggy, which certainly didn't help. But hey, I was glad to get the first run over with as that the real tester. No damage, just generally tightness and my ankles still feel a little dogdy.

Sunday morning I did another 5 miles. I'd left my car in Bearsden after a BBQ the night before, so it was a good excuse to run out and get it. The route was fairly hilly, but I felt OK. Thankfully the morning was consirably cooler than the previous afternoon.

Tuesday lunchtime I tried a tempo (5m ave 7.29m/m). Maybe not the wisest choice, but there's only so much plodding about you can do. Started out quite rusty, stopped for a quick chat with JK, picked-up in the middle, really struggled with the heat and ended up with a face like a Halloween cake. So much so, that the folks in the office kept asking me if I was feeling OK all afternoon.