Tuesday 29 November 2011

Poxy plans and the Marcothon

One sure way of getting out of a 10K race, is your Son breaking out with chicken pox. I was supposed to be in Bournemouth over the weekend, visiting Brother Sonic and the gorgeous Gillian. And, of course, running the Boscombe 10K. Unfortunately the nursery called on Thursday morning to say Cairn had spots that were spreading like wildfire. He was sent packing along with two of his chums.

Last year we applied for the same race, but then the flights became crazy expensive, so we decided to bank the trip and do the 10K in East Kilbride on the same day. That was to be the first day of the terrible winter weather, so that idea was canned.

Next year I'm not making any plans for the last weekend in November. It's doomed.

All was not lost though, as I finally got stuck into that house spring clean that I've been talking about since, erm, spring. Anything to stop me overdosing on the Disney Channel. And my Mum took wee poxy for a few hours on Sunday morning, so I could run with the GM. Call it respite. For him.

Given the weather forecast, I thought we'd need full waterproofs and bricks in our shoes, but we were pleasantly surprised. Don't get me wrong, it was bloody awful. Just not as bloody awful as we expected it to be. At one point I was quite toasty and even contemplated removing some layers...until some t*sser purposely drove through a massive puddle and cover us in a tidal wave of icy cold water. I was so angry, I even used the c-word. Even though the industry I work in, being called a c-word is actually a term of endearment!

So, this week (Thursday, December 1) sees the start of the Marcothon. Nearly December and no sign of snow/ice yet. Touch wood. There are over 500 recuits on Facebook. Apparently there are lots of followers on Twitter too. Although I don't really understand Twitter, so you'll have to advise me on that.

Here are a few of my favourite posts on Marcothon Facebook page:

"The event of the year is back. Can't wait" Graeme Lawson, "Even If I have to limp it" Need Neilson, "Oh dear god, not again! What am I saying? Of course we're in" Sweatshop Glasgow, "Defo! Bring on the snow, none of this warm autumnal nonsense" Toby Messenger, "Great idea. I'm keen" Andrew Murray, "A fun idea. Got to give it a go" Tony Gilmour, "Discussed this with the wife who said it was a good idea as I might even lose some weight" James Savage, "In 24 years of running, I've never run7 days/wk so this should be interesting" Zoe Thornburgh, "It was a great incentive last year and met so many people. Looking forward to giving it a god again this year" Fiona Macdonald, "Third attempt. No excuses. I will finish the Marcothon" Norman Mcneill, "Last year if helped me regain my fitness and set a new half-marathon PB" Harvey Whittington "Will help me get my butt out there in what is normally a cold dark month" Ian Beattie, "Christmas day is brilliant to run. I do it every year and love it. It's so quiet it's as if you own the city" Leanne Hamilton, "Can't wait for this. I start a new job with a long commute and it's exactly what I need to avoid picking up bad habits" Lucy Blake, "Hell's teeth. If you lot are, I are" Rich McLeod, "It's December, must be Marcotime" Stan Bland, "Can't wait to go for runs in snow after nights of Christmas partying" Niall Mcleod, "It's just the challenge I need to get back to the discipline of running regular again" Kirsty Davies Snare, "As a non-runner just now sounds like a great challenge to get me running again" Alan Lindsay, "Why not? Except for business, Christmas events, two children and bad weather...I don't have any ideas why this wouldn't work" Harald Jasser, "We have a whole batch of runners from Forward Fitness Glasgow doing it" Elle Morrison, "Delighted to report the cast and crew of Batman Live the World Arena Tour are signing up in aid of Luekaemia and Lymphonoma Research" John Conroy

There's also a nice wee bit in the Scottish Running Guide.

Not long now, folks. I've got my Kahtoolas ready. Last year, I managed to get my hands (well, feet) on a pair the day before the ice melted.

At £45 they're not exactly cheap, but I found a very similar alternative on ebay for less that £12. I bought a pair for my Mum and Sister - for just generally getting about on the ice - and they look like a pretty good deal to me.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

A girlie weekend

Last Saturday morning, I met with the Garscube gals (and two token chaps) for a 10-mile trail run around Mugdock Park.

I probably only make club training about twice a month on average, so it was nice to catch up with some old faces and meet some new ones. Although I always feel like the new girl these days.

The run was due to start at 8:30, but there were a few minor delays. The carpark to the visitor centre was closed, so we abandoned cars outside. Then it was open, so we all moved. Then two gals were running late after an alarm malfunction - that wouldn't happen on JK's shift :-) Then we had to wait for a few to use the powder room. I decided against it as I'm so used to peeing outdoors these days, that I don't feel the need for a "make sure". Actually, I'll stick my neck out and say I actually prefer al fresco peeing over public facilities. It's also quite liberating :-) Just as well really, as I can barely make it round six miles these days.

The lovely Karen Mac was official tour guide for the day. Thankfully, as I had no idea where we were. And having to watch my footwork meant that I wouldn't be able to retrace my steps for re-run of the route in future.

We all stayed together, so it was nice to chat to people I wouldn't normally get a chance to. A people chain of beautifully co-ordinated outfits (again, you wouldn't ge that on JK's shift) all zig-zagging though knee-deep muddy fields. Although I'm not convinced it was just mud in parts! There was lots of Squelching, shrieking and whooping.

It was jam-packed 10 miler - hills, fields, fence hopping, mud, streams, road, trail, more mud - and lots of water!

An off- road run that doesn't require an outfit change before getting in the car or pre-washing your socks, isn't quite an off-road run.

On the Sunday, I went for a hilly 14-mile road run with the Gibbering Midget - thanks to my wonderful Mum's babysitting services. The difference with running hills on the road, is you've just got to man-up and run up 'em. There's no plodding and admiring the views like you do when you're off road. Although the last hill nearly had me on my knees, it was a grand day out.

Friday 18 November 2011

Something worth sharing

Compiled by Julie, self-confessed "watcher of the trails" this is a lovely thought-provoking and inspiring list of observations...just in case you're not an avid reader of the WHWR blogroll, here it is...

In no particular order, these are the things I've learnt from runners and running.

Falling over hurts.
Getting back up hurts more.
Getting back up and running again hurts less.
Everybody has bad days and bad races.
Upright, outside and running is a damn good place to be.
Running through puddles doesn't stop being fun past the age of 5.
Ex-boyfriends are like jellyfish.
Good shoes are not a luxury.
Midgies are evil.

Sore legs are not a reason not to go running.
Don't ask an ultra runner to decide if you're hurt or have a whingery. They don't understand hurt.
The human body is capable of impossible things.
Running 3 minutes for the first time is harder than running 30 minutes for the first time.
Rain is a reason to go out running, not a reason to stay in.
It doesn't matter how long or short you run; sooner or later your bowels will catch you out.
Runners want other runners to do well.
The inside seam of your leggings will give way at the furthest point from home.
Only normal people have ten toenails.

It's possible to start running with tears pouring down your face.
It's not possible to keep crying when you're running.
Learning to stretch is not optional.
Being hugged by a hot and sweaty friend at the end of their race is wonderful.
A race has a winner but never a loser.
Never say never again.
Adrenalin and joy will keep you awake for a whole weekend.
Running is addictive.
Despite being an incredibly selfish sport (in terms of time and effort committed to training and racing), ultra runners are generous and open-hearted. Mostly. I'm sure there must be the odd bad egg.
A mile is a very long way.
Second place to Lucy counts as a win.

Legends work in supermarkets.
True love will climb Conic Hill to deliver blueberries.
Your soulmate will walk you across the Lharig Mor in the dark and cold.

It helps to be able to see where your feet are going.
Stopping and restarting is much harder than keeping going.
Here's to the Dreamers - God bless us all!
Run as fast as you can for as long as you can may work for Stu Mills; for most of us, negative splits are the way to go.
The longer the race, the less you compete against others and more against yourself.
A good support crew is priceless.
Too much water is more lethal than too little.
Some people race and some people run.
Being sick when you run is not a big deal, continuing to be sick when you stop is.

There is at least one person who can run 90 miles on a broken ankle.
There is at least one person who can run 15 miles while having a heart attack.
Runners don't stop because they get old.
Sometimes you run away, sometimes you run home, and sometimes you run in circles.
Jelly babies are a recognised food group.
Dates and crisps are not.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other and you'll get to the end.
There are more uses for vaseline than you really want to think about.
Ultra runners have an inordinate capacity for food and alcohol.

Hazel McFarlane runs ultras. She's also blind.
Only yoofs and wannabe rappers have white trainers.
The body can't remember pain. The mind will rationalise it.
There will always be someone who can run faster or further than you.
But maybe not both.
And maybe not today.
Finishing last is better than not starting.

Always run from the heart.
No regrets.

Sunday 13 November 2011

The long and short of it.

I have been running. Honest. Unfortunately my enthusiasm for blogging has gone into hiding with my mojo for running. Only one post in October - and even that was a picture of a pot of urine.

So, here goes. I took 10 days rest after the 24-hour race - enforced rest, as I was destroyed. I went out for my first run on the second day of holiday in Madeira. It wasn't pretty, but it wasn't awful either. Nothing hurt, but nothing moved properly. More like arms and legs flapping in robotic motions. It got better as the days went on and I managed four runs over the week. Given that Madeira was unseasonable hot, I had to get up and get back before the sun came up. It was tough enough, without adding 30 degrees to the equation.

And hilly! Wow, it's a hilly place. And I'm not talking about the mountains, just the roads. I'm sure even my car could get up those inclines.

Madeira is really beautiful, and staying five-star was total bliss. Although I'm not sure the hotel were quite prepared for the en slot of Cairn. He doesn't come with volume control. Or how much Sonic can actually eat from the buffet breakfast. Still we managed to bring down the average age of the island quite significantly.

Sonic managed to get in some hill reps with a heavy pack...

If you're bored, the holiday snaps are on flickr. Click here.

I'm back to running six days a week - Friday is my rest day - and doing two speed sessions. It's coming back slowly, but surely. Some days I feel great and other days are just plain rotten. Most days, my heart's really not it.

Last weekend I had two good runs. One on the Kilpatrick Hills with the GM and Mr and Mrs Pacepushers. Despite having the frozen car, it was a glorious morning. Really crisp and clear - just the way I like it. It was great to get my trail shoes on again, as the last time I was off-road was the Devils race in August.

Moving forward, I doing a 10K at the end of the month in Bournemouth. That will be, erm, interesting. Over the last few years, the only 10K I've done it the Glasgow Women's 10K and that always falls just after the Highland Fling.

My plans for 2012 are still a bit up in the air. I've decided against doing the West Highland Way Race again this year. Three goblets is surfice for the time being. I've got a place on the Grand Union Canal Race in June. That's 145 mile from Birmingham to London on the - yes, you've guessed it - the Grand Union Canal. This has come as a bit of shocker to my club mates, as I'm usually the first to whine when club runs are on the Forth and Clyde Canal. I've been known to liken it to treadmill running. Anyway, I now just remind them that what I've mentally endured this year with lapped running, the canal is a joy!

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Marcothon 2011

Can you believe it's November already? That's exactly one calendar month to the start of the third Marcothon.

There are already 300+ people signed up on Facebook from all over the world - and it's growing daily.

The rules are simply, you must run every day in DECEMBER (any other month doesn't count). Minimum of three miles or 25 minutes – which ever comes first. The challenge starts on December 1 and finishes on December 31. And yes, that includes Christmas Day.

It's not a competition. Just a personal challenge or an incentive to burn off a few mince pies. So, who’s up for it the Marcothon 2011?