Thursday, 30 July 2009

Early Summer 2009

After the West Highland Way run I managed a couple of weeks running before we went away on holiday. We went to a village called Chite about half way between Granada and the coast of the Mediterranean at Motril. It was even hotter than expected in mid-June. One day in Granada it reached 42°C! So the only time I could cope with running was in the morning before breakfast. Add to that the fact that Chite was on a hill top with lemon and orange groves all around and you can see that running was going to be difficult. I did one run straight down the hill on a narrow road which turned into a track and then a path and then a lemon grove. The run out and back was about 3 miles and was hard. The next day I picked another downhill route and ended at the lake. The lake had a path around the side which I followed for about 2 miles seeing ahead the track leading to a dam and the road back to Chite. Unfortunately the path a bit further on had been washed away and I had to retrace my steps all the way back to the villa. A bit further than I had planned but an excellent 6 miles or so. You can just see the lake in the picture at the top of this post. The view is from the balcony of our villa. It turned out to be my last run. Late nights and busy days meant that I slept soundly and never made it up for another early morning run - but we did have a great holiday especially the visit to Granada's Alhambra.

West Highland Way relay.

I finally get round to reporting on our relay race up the West Highland Way. Those who were up early to catch the whole day or to run the first leg are pictured in Milngavie on the right.
The run took place on Saturday 6th June which was a good day for the run because it was warm and mainly sunny. This meant we could have a comfortable run and see the scenery. It did rain while we were in Glen Coe but it wasn't heavy rain like last year. I ran the last section from Lundavra over the hill into Glen Nevis and down to the finish on the edge of Fort William. It starts off as a very up and down section as it takes you into the pine forest, but once into Glen Nevis you have a long descent on a stony path. I was the slowest runner (taking just over an hour) on the last leg, even beaten by Leslie who was some months pregnant, but it was most enjoyable. We are very lucky to have such a place to run just on our doorstep.
We stayed overnight at the Inchcree Centre at Onich. Hardly any midges this year - what a relief. The food and the beer was good and I managed to get the results sorted before the end of the meal. The winning team took 13 hours and 45 minutes to complete the run and the slowest team took just over 15 hours. A great weekend.

Friday, 29 May 2009

MOKRUN - The Mull of Kintyre 10k run

I'm just back from an 8 mile run and feeling very pleased with myself. The run took me by road to Anniesland and then twice around the rather hilly Dawsholm Park before returning to home. No problems encountered so I'm ready for the West Highland Way run next weekend.
How did I get here? In my last blog I reported on the Garscube Training Weekend. It set me up for some good training over the next couple of weeks before I caught a nasty cold (with persistent cough) which put paid to training (and saxophone playing) for over a week. I managed to get a couple of runs in before running the MOKRUN with my neighbour John. You'll know from an earlier blog that John has had a recurring problem with a calf muscle. Last year at the MOKRUN he tried to race and pulled the muscle again so this year he was determined to stay on my shoulder and thus run a gentle race. He did just that and we completed the race together in a comfortable 50 minutes and 1 second. We did put on a bit of a stide to duck under 50 minutes but luckily we didn't try too hard and so no injury resulted.
I followed the race by leading the slow pack in a Fartlek session at Garscube on Tuesday. Those who took part enjoyed it and it suited me too. Just enough speed work to get moving without any strain. The speed work did ensure that I was properly stiff the next day but a gentle run soon sorted that.
So that brings me up to today and a most satisfactory run with half of it off road and up and down hills that gives me loads of confidence for next weekend's efforts on the West Highland Way.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The Training Weekend

I made it. Got to the training weekend and trained.
This year the Garscube Training weekend was at the Trossachs Tryst, as it was last year. Back then I bought a Ridgeback Neutron bike afer the training and cycled it home in glorious sunshine (but the bike was stolen from our garage a month later - doh). So this year I decided to stick to running. As usual the weekend was a mix of running and eating and drinking. I got up to the Trossachs Tryst crammed into a car with Jill diving, Maz, baby Fin and dog Cree and all our collective stuff. We got to Callander in time for a quick 3 mile run before the evening meal. Saturday was more demanding on the running side. In the morning we did a drills warm up and then 20 reps of 1 minute recovery followed by 1 minute at pace followed by a warm down. The whole thing was run along the cycle track north of Callander along the banks of the Falls of Lenny. A perfect place for a run. In the afternoon we did a hill session up a forestry trail. I ran eight times up the hill which was enough for me (six were enough... but). We were planning to have a carry-out meal on Saturday night but we had brought so much food up from Glasgow on Friday that we were able to cope with a few Pizzas bought in Callander and the food we had brought with us. The picture shows us at the meal (and Ailsa showing off her shoes). On Sunday I ran an early five miles with Rob, Marco and Lesley who were all going to looking after children while others ran their 20 miles in preparation for the Edinburgh marathon.
Jill and Maz were unexpectedly accompanied by Cree on their 20 mile run but she trotted the 20 miles without difficulty.
For me the weekend was a success. I managed to do a run in every session and had no injury problems. I can now look forward to training for the Mull of Kintyre 10k with confidence.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Training for the Training Weekend.

When I posted my last blog I had been running for three months. Success. Training continued until Tuesday 7th April when I went out for a gentle, untimed run. I had planned to run four and a half miles but after just under two miles I felt my hamstring cramp up. I stopped immediately and set of back home. I found I could run for about twenty steps before the muscle seized up again and so I walked a while and then jogged twenty steps and then walked again repeating this cycle all the way home.
Depressed. The muscle for a bit sore the next day but very soon felt okay. I just had to wait until I was confident that I could run again.
After two and a bit weeks off I was persuaded by my next door neighbour JD (also a Garscube runner) to go for a gentle run. We did three miles around Victoria Park and we had a good run with no problems. I was running again and have since done a further three runs. Which is good news because a few weeks ago I booked to go on the club's Training Weekend at Callander. I have to train to survive the Training Weekend.
News for John (JD) was not so good. On a gentle three mile run on Sunday he had a recurrence of an old calf injury and will have to have a couple of weeks of enforced rest.

Sunday, 29 March 2009


For many years I've used a 9 mile run here in Glasgow to measure my fitness. It's a great run, along the River Clyde then along the River Kelvin and then along the Forth and Clyde canal. A run mainly off the roads yet still in the city. I can see the usual city creatures like squirrels but also birds like herons, cormorants and in summer the kingfishers of the Kelvin. (It's a run I've always enjoyed rather like a similar run I used to do when visiting my Mum and Dad in Brightlingsea).
At the moment I have no intention of running 9 miles so I've been using my 4.5 mile run as a measure. In January I ran the route twice (on the 6th and the 8th) and took over 42 minutes both times. On the 20th February I had cut the time to 40 minutes and 30 seconds and felt that I was ready for the Balmoral weekend. This month I cut the time for the run to just under 39 minutes two days after Balmoral and to 37m 48s last Tuesday.
So my running is improving - I just have to resist trying too hard to keep on improving and thus injuring myself again.

Three months of Running.

Approaching the end of March and I've been running for three months. 24 miles in January, 36 miles in February and 48 miles so far this month. The pattern there is purely coincidental. I'm not planning to run 60 miles next month! I've been using my New Balance 634's in tandem with the new Brookes shoes, one run Brookes the next New Balance etc. Pat bought me a pair of New Balance 757's and so I now have two new pairs of shoes - Wow! I've not used the 757's for a run yet.

Monday, 9 March 2009

2009 - another new beginning.

Okay. So the end of 2008 wasn't a great success. I was determined to start running again as we moved into 2009. I restricted my runs to 3 miles off road and a longer 4.5 mile road runs. This enabled me to take a full part in a training weekend "Body and Sole weekend" at Balmoral Castle. The weekend was organised by Running the Highlands as was excellent. Off road running - excellent food designed for running - learning a set of core stability exercises - learning a set of stretching exercises (yet again) and great company. All in all a great motivating weekend.
So now I've just come home from buying a new pair of shoes. I've always run in New Balance shoes because they have always felt comfortable and have lasted well. I did once buy a pair of Nike Air Max which were comfortable but my foot twisted in them (heel out to the right toes out to the left!) and they were useless after a couple of months. Our local running shop - Achilles Heel - has stopped selling New Balance and I ended up buying Brookes Defyance. They felt good on. I'll see how they go when I'm running.