Saturday, 23 January 2010

Crianlarich to Loch Lomond and back

It was just yesterday when I decided to have a run on the WHW, well, when Pete said a few of his pals were coming round this afternoon and bringing their guitars, I thought “I’m out of here!” I thought it was a bit late notice to see if anyone else wanted to come with me and most of my buddies were doing the Devils Burden relay today or cross country tomorrow anyway, and the more I thought about it I was looking forward to an exclusive run with numbers limited to one. As much as I love running with company it’s great to go out and have all the scenery to yourself too.
I decided to go down the way from Crianlarich, it’s not a usual starting point for any of my runs so I thought all the more reason to go from there, and I loved going at just my own pace, stopping to take a photo, looking at the scenery without having to catch up with a group. I wasn’t bothered about how far I’d go either, today was about getting out and enjoying a run on the WHW.
It was quite solid underfoot at coo poo alley on the way out with frost and ice on the path but the sun appeared and I had my shadow for company for the rest of the way down. I was looking to turn back at around 1.30pm because I wanted to finish in daylight, I was carrying my headtorch but I didn’t really want to use it. As I plodded on I wondered if I’d get to the top of the loch, one of my favourite viewpoints and pushed on a bit so I was sure I’d get there, carried on down for a wee bit longer then turned back, got back to my favourite spot and spent a good fifteen minutes just enjoying the scenery, solitude and sun on my face with a few thoughts, it didn’t matter my bum got a bit damp sitting on the mossy boulder.

My return journey was a nice steady run back, still taking in my surroundings but it did seem to be a bit more hard work to the crack yer heid tunnel and under the A82, I was back on the road towards coo poo and I was a bit disconcerted that I could see the cattle huddling on the path, I’m not too sure of the protocol regarding cow herding and I remember a couple of years ago we (there was three of us) climbing the wall to go round the beasts because they just wouldn’t shift.

This time I couldnae be ersed climbing the wall or staggering up the rough ground so I carried on running purposefully towards them as tall as a wee 5’ 2” wumin in trail shoes and a woolly hat could be, working my pink gloved hands forcefully and being as big as I could be. Well, there was a bit of relief! The first one moved up the hill, followed by a few more, there was a lot of mooing going on and one stayed on the path, had a bit of an adrenaline rush going past it, and headed back down the the hill to my car.
My first run on the WHW this year and thoroughly enjoyed it, today was one of those runs that confirm why I run.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Decisions, Decisions

At the weekend I was mulling over my races for this year, more or less had a racing plan sorted then the Montane Scottish Ultra-Marathon Series reared its exciting head! I’m no Richie but what can I fit in around the plans I’ve already made?

Well for starters I’ve Smokies 10 at Arbroath on March 7th and April is going to be busy, I think I’ll do Deeside Way Ultra 33 on the 3rd, two weeks later Lochaber Marathon on the 18th and the following week I’m doing a leg in the Highland Fling Relay on the 24th. Just one race in May, Glenrothes 50km on the 9th and in June the Isle of Skye half marathon which is a week before the WHW but it’s purely a social run. A wee breather in July until the Tour of Fife which this year is its 10th year and is going to be a bit special, the dates for it still have to be confirmed but presuming around the same time as last year I’ll earmark 28th to 1st August until I know for sure. As soon as I saw that the Speyside Way is making a come back I have to do it, I have some unfinished business with that race, it was last run on Sunday 10th April 2005, I never got there, that was the morning I had a brain haemorrhage.

Now from September is where things go up in the air, I’ll only need one more race for the sums championship and the River Ayr Way Challenge would fit in but if there is a 24 hour race at Perth I want to do it but the cogs of power move slower than I run! So that’s no definite. I was thinking about Tooting Bec 24 hour race in October but I haven’t missed a Loch Ness Marathon since it started and I’ll be doing that, so should I just forget about a 24 hour race this year… decisions decisions!

Friday, 1 January 2010

It was with a little trepidation that I read my previous post. It wasn’t quite the polished article I was planning but you get the jist of what was a highlight for me last year, and next time I talk about footballers I promise not to be so polite and I’ll let you know what I really think! Here’s a wee thing that I am proud of though.

Pauline completed the Marcothon Challenge this morning here’s what she had to say on it.

Done and dusted - Feel pretty pleased with myself that I've completed the Marcothon Challenge - here's a wee report.


Okay - so I started a day late - a great challenge particularly for a period when it can be tough to get your butt out of the door. Originally I thought the challenge wouldn't be too difficult in a physical sense - the greater challenge would be logistically fitting it all in - however I didn't reckon on the Snow Queen and her icy grip on the land. 31 days running consecutively with the final 16 days on snow, slush or ice. At first if was fun, trotting about shin deep in snow in the style of a prancing pony but the novelty of the snow wore off fairly quickly and the real challenge began. I wasn't training for anything specifically, I wasn't running hard enough or far enough for a physical benefit - so why was I doing it? I decided that this was more of a mental toughness challenge - a display of determination. The final week was pretty much the minimum 25 minutes, one night I forgot my head torch and ended up like the caged lion pacing to and fro along the edge of the grassy field within the limit of the street lights. One particular sub-zero evening Tim suggested (in the interest of safety) that I run around inside the house! Nope - I don't think so - how to make 25 minutes seem like an hour! The final day today - a great wee session in the daylight doing hill reps over Whinneyburn Ridge (it sounds dramatic but it's just a hump of grass at the back of the house). Challenge complete - I'm smug and happy!

A summary: total miles 125.93 (white miles 50.56). Favourite run on Christmas day - a beautiful bright sunny day which caught the snow crystals and I felt like I was running along a carpet of diamonds. My least favourite run on Boxing Day probably due to the quantity of bubbly consumed the day before. Longest run: 8.37 miles Shortest run: 1.75 miles
Will I do it again - most definitely!

Pauline Walker
Weell dae I want to post this but I’m half a bottle of wine and two goblets of Talisker down and still up but folk have be posting their revue of 2009 and I thought I’d do the same . I enjoy running and FFS I I got to run for Scotland! Now how the * did that happen!!! I run purely for fun but when I knew I was selected for Scotland that was a different ball game (not that I compare fanny around with a football on a Saturday afternoon anything to do with athleticism) I took my training serious ! I had never taken my training so serious in my life, there was no way I would let Scotland down! From Jan 1st I worked my socks off! I enjoyed the WHW, Pauline was keeping me company, but I was a bit worried that it wasn’t a PB but the WHW was for love of running not for PB so I didn’t drop my expectations .
Keswick was hard, my quads were sore after 50km and the smell of the diesel from the generators made me feel sick, My feet were bleeding but I never stopped moving forward. I ran 107, miles not my goal but in comparison with Pauline and Lynne that was no bad at all! We brought home a bronze medel!!! What ever 2010 bring as long as I can put one foot in front of the other I’ll be happy.