Monday, January 26, 2009

Balmaha to Inversnaid to Balmaha

Yesterday was cold, wet and miserable. I woke up to around 6 inches of snow in the garden, delighted that Phil was picking me up and I didn't need to get my car out of the drive. According to the various blogs between 15 and 18 of us met at Balmaha car park for the long out and back run to Inversnaid - I thought there were only 15, but I might have missed one or two when I was counting. Maybe I missed myself?

Despite the weather, it was a fantastic run and another great day out. We made good progress through to Rowardennan, then kept a good pace going most of the way to Inversnaid. After a quick coffee in the hotel (although not quick enough - the service was dismal) 5 of us turned round and faced the worst of the weather on the way back. I felt great until about 5 miles to go, then an enforced stop in the bushes disrupted my rhythm (and, I am sure, upset a lot of the local wildlife) and it all became a bit of a struggle for a while. However another piece of fruit loaf helped perk me up, and I finished feeling stronger for the last few miles. All in all a first class day out - hard work, definitely, but I suppose 30 miles in January was never going to be easy.

I have a few races coming up over the next couple of months. Saturday is our club 5 mile time trial - not really a race but a hard session nonetheless. Then it is the National Masters (aka 'Old Gits') cross country at Irvine on 7 February, followed by the National cross country at Falkirk on 21 February. The Inverness half marathon is on the 8 March, followed by the first ultra of the season on 14 March: the Glasgow to Edinburgh race, which is 55 miles along the canal path. Couldn't think of a more exciting route :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A run with the Glee Club

Thanks for all the comments on my slightly negative post yesterday about my completely rubbish start to the year. I'm glad to say things are looking up a bit - I met a great crowd of the WHW Glee Club this morning at Balmaha and ran 15 miles or so to Inversnaid with them. I felt fine, the company was great, and I really enjoyed the run, but as I didn't want to overdo things I took up the offer from Jan of a lift back to Balmaha from Inversnaid. That must be one of the worst roads in the world, so I'm extremely grateful to Jan for getting me back in one piece. 30 miles would probably have been too much given how I have been feeling, so I thought it was far better to leave on a high and bale out after 15. I think it was probably the right decision.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The worst start to a year ever

There is a lot of excitement out there in WHW blogland, what with the imminent arrival of Debs' and Marco's baby, the start of the build up to the 2009 race, entries being accepted to the UTMB, and so on. I don't want to put a downer on things and I hope this post does not come across as being unduly negative, but as far as I'm concerned it has been a really crap start to the new year. We are now 17 days into January and I have run the amazing total of 41 miles - an average of less than 3 miles a day - and most of these have been a complete struggle. I ended up being off work for a couple of days last week, but whatever bug I've picked up seems to have stayed with me for a lot longer than I would have liked. Last night I woke up 3 times with cramp in my right calf and the sweat pouring out of me. What the f*ck is that all about?

Anyway I'm hoping there is some light at the end of the tunnel. I took the dog out for a gentle jog over the nearby fields today and felt a bit better than I had for the last few runs. I'm planning to go up to Balmaha tomorrow and meet the Glee Club for a run - not sure that I'll go as far as Inversnaid, but I'll see how I feel and if it is too much of a struggle I can always turn round and come back. At least it is only January, so there is plenty of time to get sorted out for the challenges ahead. In the old days I didn't even think about my WHW training until the end of January, so there is certainly no need to worry at this stage. In fact an easier month might not be the worst thing for me - it will give my body a chance to recover for the months ahead.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Full of the cold

I'm full of the cold and feeling miserable. I managed to keep it at bay (just) for the full Christmas holidays, but no sooner had I gone back to work on Monday when it arrived in all its glory. I ran 5 miles or so on Monday lunchtime and couldn't stop coughing - not much different from normal, I hear my regular running partners say - but haven't run again since then.

I'm hoping I've recovered by Saturday morning in time for the Strathearn Harriers 5 mile time trial. This is a new initiative to try and get us all into the way of running a bit faster. The plan is to hold these time trials every second Saturday, and then watch the 10k and half marathon times come tumbling down to levels last seen in the mid 1990s :)

Best wishes to all those who, like me, are suffering with a cold. I share your pain. And tell me this: how do you manage to find a dry bit on your hankie to blow your nose? Mine are absolutely soaking by the end of the day.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Nigel Barge 10k

For the last few years I've opened my racing account for the new year with a trip to the west end of Glasgow for the Nigel Barge 10k. I did the same this year, heading along to the excellent changing facilities at the university's Garscube complex with Phil T. It was a cold, crisp day - not bad running conditions at all. I ran ok, but for the 3rd 10k in a row I failed to beat the 40 minute mark, finishing in 40.23. It is clear that a bit more speedwork and hard training is required if I am to get back below the magical 40 minutes. Phil T has had a series of colds over the Christmas period, and in the circumstances was happy enough with his 41.09.

Incidentally today was my 84th 10k, so am edging towards the 100. It was my 80th best time. That sounds slightly better than saying it was my 5th worst.