Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More publicity for everyone - except me

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was never in myRace magazine. Well, it's getting worse. I opened my new edition of Runner's World to see a big photo of Debbie in an advert for some adventure race. And then, to add insult to injury, it turns out Tim is featuring on the new Loch Ness Marathon application form. I've done every one of the 6 Loch Ness marathons, but no photo of me. Ridiculous.

My quads are really sore after Saturday's long run and I've been having trouble walking down the stairs. I did a 3 mile jog after work tonight, in an attempt to loosen them off. Not sure it worked, but at least I managed to do it without too much pain - although the downhill sections did hurt a bit. I think it might be time to give Trevor, my physio, a call, and get a decent massage.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

30 miles on the WHW

T'was the last Saturday
Of the month of January
That meant it was time to play
Once again on the West Highland Way.
(Anon - but a tribute to Robert Burns, given the date of the run)

Yes, another WHW training run. Another cold, miserable day. At least the rain, which had fallen constantly for the previous 48 hours, finally stopped a few hours before we were due to start running, and stayed away for most of the day. 13 brave WHWers (plus 2 even braver people who were prepared to provide support) set out from Drymen for the 30 mile jaunt over one of the most difficult sections of the route, aiming to reach Beinglas Farm and the Drovers Inn before darkness fell.

To cut a long story short, we made it. I would even suggest that we all enjoyed it. It took us around 6 and a half hours. Highlights included seeing some baby goats, the coffee at Rowardennan (which Mags provided - fantastic - many thanks), seeing an incredibly impressive waterfall at Inversnaid, the soup at the Drovers, but most of all the chance to enjoy some great chat and companionship with a truly superb bunch of people. There were also some lows - I tripped and fell at a section between Rowardennan and Inversnaid (but didn't damage my new top, thank goodness), Neal injured his knee and had to turn back, and we had to wade through some puddles where the water was about a foot deep (although that was quite good fun to be honest). The wonders of modern technology mean that the day is recorded in glorious technicolour on John K's blog http://www.west-highland-way-race07-training.blogspot.com/

I have to admit to one big mistake, however. I thought that I was taking part in a training run, and that the actual race was taking place on 21st June. From the various comments that have appeared subsequently I now appreciate that this was an error. It was actually a race and everyone wanted to beat me. If only I had known :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I'm getting old

I'm 42 today. I'm getting old. For my birthday I received a pair of angling socks. I've never been angling before, but I plan to go now and will wear my new socks. Thanks allybea x

For the first time in ages, I went out a run and - wait for this - actually enjoyed it!!!! I only did 4 miles round the centre of Edinburgh after work, but felt really good. It was blowing a gale and was a horrible night, but that didn't matter - I felt great and ran at a good pace. Hopefully whatever bug I had in my system has now left, and I can get on with some proper running again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Back out running again

Just a very quick post for 2 reasons: first to thank everyone for their concern following my rotten run on Saturday, and second to say that I had a couple of rest days on Sunday and Monday, then went out for a gentle 5 mile run at lunchtime today. I just took it easy and felt ok - not brilliant, but ok. The first run back after a few days off is always hard, so I'm not that concerned. I'll try and get out again tomorrow.

The next long WHW training run takes place on Saturday. It's a 29 miler, from Drymen to Benglas Farm at the top of Loch Lomond, with around 20 expected to run. I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A big horrible DNF

Yesterday I had a DNF. For those who don't understand the terminology it stands for 'Did Not Finish' - the runner's equivalent of the 'no return' at golf. It happened in Livingston, at the 3rd and final East District Cross Country meeting. I didn't feel too great in the morning, but did a reasonable warm up and felt ok as I lined up on the start line. After about 45 seconds of running down the hill, I knew something wasn't right. I just had no strength in my legs at all, and felt a bit light headed. I persevered for most of the first lap, watching more and more people come past me and not being able to do anything about it, but as we got to yet another hill I realised it just wasn't going to be my day. I stopped and stepped off the course. A DNF. My first for many years, but a DNF nevertheless. All very disappointing.

I came home and felt completely shattered, falling asleep on the chair as I tried to watch the Newcastle v Bolton match. So what was the problem? Probably a combination of quite a few things: I suspect I'm carrying a bit of a bug; I made a complete hash of my pre-race eating (didn't have enough); and I was tired after a very busy week at work. In hindsight I shouldn't have gone to the race at all, but it is always easy to be wise after the event.

I didn't do any running today, taking the dog for a long walk instead, and I'll probably leave it a couple of days before running again. Better to be cautious now than to risk greater problems further down the line, I think.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Racing with a hangover

Thought I better post more frequently, lest I get other critical comments on my blog about the lack of activity :)

Saturday was the Strathearn Harriers new year handicap race, a 4.5 mile slog up and down some of the biggest hills in Crieff. Unfortunately Friday was a big night out in Edinburgh. I started Friday night with good intentions - "I'll just have a few glasses of wine with my meal and take it easy, cos I'm running tomorrow" - but by the time the malt whisky came out those good intentions had long since disappeared. I made the last train by a whisker - funny that, as I thought I had loads of time - then shared a few more whiskies on the train home with a complete stranger. Not good. By 11 o'clock on Saturday morning, just before the start of the race, my ambitions had lowered from winning the race to simply getting round without being sick.

If you look at the results on the Strathearn Harriers forum, you will see that I came towards the back end of the field, 10th from 13 participants, in a none too clever time of 32.31 (or so it says - my watch time was actually 32.13. Maybe the time recorder was as hungover as I was.). I wasn't sick, although it was close at a couple of points. I also had the pleasure of seeing all the fast guys fly past me, uttering their usual sarcastic comments along the lines of "keep going, you're doing well" and "not far to go". Normally I hate that, but on Saturday I really didn't care. I even held a gate open for the club's fastest man, which probably saved him (and cost me) a couple of seconds.

At least I learned something - lay off the drink the night before if you are racing the following day. And to think I had never realised that before :)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Why am I never in myRace magazine?

There is a Scottish running magazine called myRace. In general it is very good, focusing on the Scottish endurance running scene, with lots of race reports and photos. Debs, one of this year's WHW entrants, writes for it. Despite all this, I have a serious complaint to make about it. Why am I never in it? On Wednesday I bought the latest edition, the 13th. I've never been in any of the previous 12 but surely, I thought, I'll be in it this time? I read it from cover to cover on the way home on the train but guess what? Once again, to my great disappointment, I was nowhere to be seen. It's just not fair. Each year I run in something like 25 to 30 races, a lot of them covered by myRace, but I'm never in the magazine. Almost everyone else I know has been in it. There was a photo of Phil running the Stirling 10k in the last edition. Liz was in an earlier version running some obscure multi-terrain race near Forfar. The other Phil was in it doing the Stuc a Chroin hill race. But where am I? Nowhere. Why is this happening? Has the editor taken a specific policy decision that there will never be a photograph of me in it? Debs, I know you read this blog. I would appreciate if would you have a word with the editor about it and ask him to make sure I am in the next edition. Thank you. Rant over.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

First race of the year

It's taken me 5 days, but I finally managed to do my first race of 2008 at the Nigel Barge 10k in the west end of Glasgow. Reasonably pleased with my 38.56 over the hilly course, particularly as I finished 40 seconds in front of arch rival and fellow WHWer John K. That's 1-0 in our year long challenge - I'm looking for revenge for my 3-2 defeat last year..

Friday, January 04, 2008

Fun in the snow

Yesterday morning it started snowing in our area, and it has snowed more or less non stop ever since. This means that the snow on the moor is now up to the top of my wellies, and the dog is at serious risk of getting lost in it when we are out a walk. It also means I've not be able to do much running. Fortunately I took the chance on Wednesday, before the snow arrived, to go up to the West Highland Way and do a 20 miler. I ran from Inveroran Hotel (which I noticed is celebrating its 300th anniversary this year - quite a while for a hotel to be around) to just beyond the Kingshouse Hotel, and then back. It was a great run - not surprisingly there were very few people out on the route - and I ran hard, covering the 20 miles in 3 hours 17 minutes, including an 18 minute coffee stop at Kingshouse. I saw a red deer at Kingshouse as well as a few people who were checking out of the hotel after their New Year break. Kingshouse must be a great place to spend the New Year - Highland hospitality at its best, I would imagine. Maybe we should do it some year.

Anyway, back to the snow and the running. If I can get the car out of the drive tomorrow, I'm planning on going to the Nigel Barge 10k at Garscube in Glasgow. John K is doing it as well, so a hard, competitive run is guaranteed. On his blog John reported that there was snow in Paisley - see if you can spot it his photo: http://www.west-highland-way-race07-training.blogspot.com/ John, I have to be honest and say I laughed when I saw the picture, particularly compared to allybea's pictures of the snow here :) http://www.allybea.blogspot.com/ We lived on the south west coast of Scotland for 13 years, and in all that time I think we had snow twice, melting by lunchtime on both occasions. We're making up for it now...