Thursday, 5 April 2012

Training and thoughts for this year’s WHW

January 1st is the date I usually start to focus and train for the WHW but this year has been a wee bit different. Clearing Mum’s house was a tough job, and all my running was without real purpose other than comfort and I managed to clock up 155 miles for the month with my longest run being just short of 16 miles going from Balmaha to Rowardennan and back the weekend hordes of WHW family were there doing various distances. It was good to be there, enjoying the route, the company, and camaraderie in the pub afterwards; this was the weekend we should’ve been celebrating Mum’s birthday.

February started with a cracking comfort run from Crianlarich to Doune Bothy and back, my monthly mileage was 198 miles, again with nothing big but with some quality tempos giving it big wellies. The club organised a new race, Devilla 15km on the 26th, I usually just help out at Carnegie races but I thought I’d have a run at this one especially as there was a bottle of Schiehallion for doing it, so after sitting at registration handing out numbers until 10 minutes before the start, I just had time to nip to the loo before heading to the start line, not what you’d call a warm up but since I was only here for the beer that was fine.  I worked quite hard once I got into my stride, really enjoying my first race of the year (and my beer).

March 3rd saw me on the start line for Smokies 10, a ladies only 10 miler in its 24th year and for the first time in a couple of years I stood there without nursing illness or injury so the race plan was to go out hard and hang on, not technically the best race plan but one in the TTFU don’t let go category. I ran my third best for the race; I was well pleased considering this is around my 19th or 20th times of running this race.  On Sunday 11th Ken dropped Sue and I at Derrydarroch, he was Munro bagging with his friend and would meet us later at Bridge of Orchy, we had a lovely 19 miles to “Murdo’s Mount” then back down to Bridge of Orchy,

photos perfectly timed to meet Ken, we had the best of the weather, the cloud was low and Ken and Paul only saw mist and rain. The following week Pauline and I did just over 22 miles going from Balmaha to near the Beech Tree and back, she groaned when I whipped out my camera within 5 minutes of heading up Conic hill. “Are you here for a training run or a picnic?”  I answered “I’ve brought food!” She did relax a bit later to say “I think I feel a photie coming on!” when we were in remnants of Garadhban Forest. more photos

Although I hadn’t done any big runs I wasn’t worried, my training has been consistent, knocking out a weekly mileage between 50 and 60 miles feeling healthy and strong. Last week I unexpectedly went over 70 miles, on Tuesday 27th I did surprise myself with a 32 mile run from Milngavie up past Garadhban Forest and back purely because it was a lovely warm day, even more photos

I only planned to run about marathon distance. I dropped Erin and her pal at the SECC at around lunch time and didn’t need to be back until the back of 10.00pm. So I was happy to use as much of the day as possible, I did need my head torch going back through Mugdock Park not so much to see my footing but to make sure I was heading the right way, I can do Mugdock in the dark but heading the wrong direction it looked quite different.  I had a brilliant day out on Sunday with a group run organised by Mike Raffan, an 18 miler up Lochnagar, it was a bonus to find out we did 5 Munros and a couple of Corbetts thrown in for good measure.  Placing a stone on the wee cairn in tribute to Dario was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and there was a fair selection of miniatures and hip flasks raised in his name. and here's even more photos

I remember a few years ago Chris Robison (a Scotland Endurance Coach and Scottish representative in the 10,000 metres in the 1994 Commonwealth Games) once said “A farmer doesn’t dig up his tatties to see how well they’re growing!” and with that analogy I don’t feel the need to run myself into the ground during training.  With eight WHW races and four 24 hour races I think I kinda know how to run tired and sore and I don’t have to practice it too often. Except I will be doing the Highland Fling but at WHW race pace until I come off the rollercoaster, then I’ll push on to the finish.

So for this year’s race I don’t know if I’ll be running close to a PB of around 26 hours or if I’ll have “bonus” challenges that’ll slow me down to 34hrs 59mins. But whatever happens I’d be doing the best I can and without a doubt I’ll bash the Leisure Centre doors off their hinges again with a big daft grin on my face!