Wednesday, 31 December 2008

End of the Year

Last run of the year completed, a steady 5 miles in the Vale round Cameron House. This week has seen a return to feeling like running and no ill effects after any of the runs, albeit they were short.
I started a new training diary when I decided to train for the WHW race,but there was a gap between the previous diary, at the middle of May, and the start of July when I started anew. Recorded mileage is 1309, but I was in a bit of a downer in June so there will maybe only another 100 miles or so to add.
Highlight of the year was the London Marathon, where I ran 3.45.34, which was probably as good as I would have dreamed of, but I faded in the past few miles so I think there is more where that came from. After that I was a lot slower than I thought I'd ever be in races at Troon and Helensburgh, before DNFing Clydebank, following a mad 1st 3k that left my legs screaming for mercy. Definitely stupid running at it's worst. Then I had my wee brush with the ultra community, enlivening my outlook towards training and setting my mind on the Fling and WHW race for 2009.
What a change in attitude!
My best 10k for a few years was at Irvine when I ran 43.40. Then I went to the Two Ferries where I ran 3minutes 31s faster than the previous year, although weather conditions made it feel like hard work! Good half marathons at Aviemore 1.44.42 (with a lengthy toilet stop and Fort William 1.43.41 and an improvement on my Club Handicap 10-miler round the Horseshoe before a fair run at the Glasgow Uni 5 miler 36.36.
These races put together meant that I completed the required races for the club road race championship in which I placed second 4 points behind the winner Pat Burns.
Then at the end of November I ran the club cross country race in Balloch Park, finishing third.
So, I'm pretty pleased with my year, albeit I had a bad time between the FLM and July, not surprising considering it was my first marathon. Hopefully, I can continue to improve and although I probably lack the experience of running long, hopefully my coaching knowledge will help me through a training programme compiled with the help of club colleagues, friends, fellow bloggers and the copious amount of reading material that is fair gathering beside my bed.

Athletics Goals for 2009
Finish Highland Fling
Finish West Highland Way Race
Improve PB or personal course records x 3
Complete club road race and cross country championship race requirements

Personal goals

Lose at least 1 and a 1/2 stones (worry not, this involves healthier eating not a slimming diet!) I am 14st 9 lbs folowing Christmas over eating combined with lack of running. Normal weight is about 14st 4lbs so I'm looking to dip under 13 st.
Have a garden to (at least) not be ashamed of!
So that's 2008 put to bed and goals set for 2009. Maybe I'll update the Ultra goals when I get a better idea of progress, but finishing will remain the main target.
All that remains is to wish all of you in Blogland, wherever you are, a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Unlike some bloggers whose sites I read with regularity, I have a wonderful mother-in-law..... more than I can say for my wife! This year she presented me with the must have book this Christmas, Dean Karnazes'50 50 Secrets I Learned Whilst Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days, and this morning I had a long lie to finish the last few pages. A great book, a diary of his 2006 exploits together with some good advice on running long.So after putting it down I looked at my meagre pile of unread books, currently only about a dozen books deep, and wondered "What next"? Just then the postman knocked. Well actually my German Shepherd launched herself at the double glazing, a sure sign the postman is about to knock, and Lo and Behold he was delivering, straight from the US of A and about 2 weeks earlier than expected (well done the US Postal Service) A Step Beyond: A Definitive Guide to Ultrarunning. So happy reading for a few more days! This book is a compilation of articles and edited by Don Allison and seems to be regarded as something of a bible of ultra running. And just to keep Jim Robertson happy, the first article recommends learning to run slow..... and then really slow. Just the discussion we had when we met in Morrisons on Monday! Why bother buying books?
Today's run at the club was preceded by a wee bit of core work, keeping up my intention of two activities a day. Only five turned up on a cold night although JR arrived in civvies heading to Glasgow to pick up his son and family. So Elaine led three of us on a 4 mile Tour de Vale, with Richard, Andy and I following the nice pace she set which pushed her a bit harder than she's used to, but fast enough for the rest of us to get the benefit. Home earlier than usual, to my wife's delight... until she realised there was footy on the box. Off to bed she went muttering something about football always coming before her. Absolute rubbish, given that we're in our 26th season of marraige!
On a more sombre note I am going to Linn Crematorium tomorrow to the funeral of one of Scottish Athletics great servants; John Innes. John is a long time servant of Victoria Park AAC and one of the best known officials in the UK. He worked tirelessly in many aspects of the sport, running the Indoor League at the Kelvin Hall for many years, as well as University and Disability Athletics. He tried hard to get me involved in officiating, refusing to take me off his mailing list "Just in case you change your mind". I last saw him in November when, despite ill health, he was marshalling out on a corner near Dawsholm Park during the Glasgow Uni 5 mile road race. I will forever hear him telling us runners to "keep left,keep left..... your other left!"
He'll be sadly missed.

Monday, 29 December 2008

In the gym!!

As I felt a rest day would be a BIT cheeky after such a long lay off, I decided to do something different by going to the gym with my son. For no reason other than, as he works there, I get a freebie when I go with him. A warm up and cool-down on the cycle, sandwiched a light shoulder and leg circuit to break myself in gently. Then a swim and sauna before going home and finishing the last of my Christmas sweeties!
When my good lady came in I decided to go for a run as she would be watching some soap recordings before I ejected her to watch Man U. A couple of flat miles to start with but then ran up to the back of the village for a bit of hill efforts before coming home for a quick wash. Felt good despite my hammies singing a bit after the slight shock they got in the gym. One of my goals for 2009 will involve doing more resistance work, so they'd better get used to it!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Back In The Groove?

Let's hope so. Following a lazy week where nothing could persuade me to tie on my trainers, far less trail shoes, I finally got back out this afternoon for 7.5 miles from Dumbarton to Cardross with a detour through the Vale Industrial Estate and Renton.
I felt the benefit of the lay-off, which was partially due to the time it took to recover from last Tuesdays run and partly the inability to get me butt into shorts. In the back of my mind was that I hadn't fully shaken off the effects of that damned virus, and everyone I've heard talk of their own experience with it seems to agree it has a longer lasting effect than the usual man flu. It allowed me to eat my way to fitness with several lovely meals, at my mother in laws on Christmas Day, at home, and at my neice's yesterday where we had a family gathering for my nephew's sixth birthday. Great fun had by all! The 27th always has an emotional effect on me as it was my Papa's (mother's dad) birthday, and yesterday would have been his 98th birthday. Nice to have a reminder now that it's Jack's birthday too. Funnily enough, my sister (Jack's gran) shared her birthday with my paternal grandmother!

So today's run will hopefully kick start my West Highland Way Race training after a bad December. I'm working on some motivational tools about which I will post before the New Year, together with my goals for 2009.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Deccy Run

Three runs since my last post, none of which could be described as good runs, but distance is growing albeit the runs are slow.
Saturday was mainly off road along the shore at Cardross before climbing back up the farm road to the village. Very muddy and my legs soon tired and breathing suffered.
On Monday I tried to run round the Darleith Rd - Red road horseshoe, which is about 5 miles with a fair amount of climb. I took the easy option of anti cockwise, but only got as far as the top of Darleith before deciding to turn back as the Red Rd is knee jarring downhill and I was absolutely gubbed anyway.
To the club tonight where eight of set off with 8 miles on the schedule. Over the past few years of training with Milburn and JogScotland I have always enjoyed a sight seeing run round the various housing estates to see what the residents get up to with regard to outrageous Christmas decorations. As I had missed a few training runs recently and with Santa due on Thursday, tonight was the night. We set off towards Balloch and through the Mollanbowie Estate, where a few had tried but in the main this private housing estate was a bit reserved. Into Haldane where some of the best (read worst) examples have been seen in past years. However re-development seems to have dulled the residential enthusiasm. Either that or Cooncil edict has banned Santa from the rooftops and snowmen fro the gardens. Into Old Bonhill where my faith in human bad taste was rewarded with some fantastic dispays including Santa helicopters and full scale lawn and wall displays..... brilliant.
Just a few signs that the national financial crisis has dulled the enthusiasms or at least that only those who bypass their meters can afford to burn the leccy these days.
Anyway, back to running 70 minutes for probably nearer 7.5 miles at an easy pace with Steph insisting I try and maintain a low heart rate on the hills. That probably saved my life as even at the slow pace I was knackered come the finish.
Steph and Jimmy are planning to meet over the holiday period to put in some miles, but I think I'll just plug away at my own pace until I get my energy and fitness back.

In the meantime, a very merry Christmas to all who read this,and here's hoping Santa is good to all of you.

Friday, 19 December 2008

That time of year.....

Ain't it just. That time of year when everything stops waiting for the arrival of Santa and his helpers and then the New Year, whereupon verything starts anew, including training schedules, mileage counts and Goals.
John Kynaston has just published his intentions for 2009, 5 Ultras in celebration of 5 decades of life as he knows it. I wish him luck, but, if I can put on my sport massage therapist hat I would advise him to slow down a bit, as I'm sure he trains at too great an intensity for his aging body.
JR has been at me to slow down for years, and I certainly have! One benefit is that not chasing youngsters at training puts the old joints under les pressure and it's some time since I've had an overuse injury (as opposed to a trauma injury)..... that knocking noise you hear is me touching wood.
I've managed three runs this week, Monday's run logged, than Wednesday with Jogscotland, a slow 4 miles and last night's club run. I set off with the main group as they warmed up with a slow run to Balloch Park for hill reps. I continued along the traditional Vale 10k route getting a bit faster to try and get my lungs moving but finishing with a wheeze and coughing the contents of my lungs into the bushes at the CE Centre. As I went to get the changing room key Brian the caretaker asked "Did you enjoy that?" "No" but that was my own fault for pushing hard. Never mind, it's better out than in!
So, I'll miss out on the WHW training run as I don't think it's feasible tomorrow but I'll run somewhere for as long as I can. It'll be local though with shortcuts built in so I can cut out if necessary.
Talking of Christmas, this will be Debbie and Marco's last as a couple, as next year they will be three, Baby C being due in January. They can look forward to next Christmas when they will have a nearly one year old who will be pretty much aware of the goings on. Usually, baby's first Christmas is special but the special one misses out. One advantage of a January babby is a bit more awareness. And when baby is fed up with the wrapping paper he/she can take mummy for a run!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Flu? Manflu? Birdflu?

A week ago I took the first steps of a training run worried about aggravating my toe and felt good so I ran 10 miles on Tuesday. Wakening up on Wednesday to the first signs of flu (as described by NHS24!)was a blow. Each and every symptom of the real 'flu was ticked off in turn as each symptom took it's turn at the head of the discomfort chart. Then the deciding factor...... Mairi wasn't ridiculing my illness. It was the confirmation I needed. I was really ill. Despite the occasional Blogland dig about manflu from the lady members, I knew, I knew I was really unwell.
One other possibility though was that I had bird flu. Checked the websites for the symptoms and breathed a rasping sigh of relief when I saw that if I wasn't losing control of my car on straight roads and wasn't weeping uncontrollably watching Alexandra singing Hallelujah, then I was probably safe. Final confirmation came when I didn't crack up at the Strictly voting debacle.
So I decided on today as my first venture back into running. A short, slow venture to be sure, just 3 and a 1/2 miles on my local mixed road surfaced circuit. Wary of my chest still being a wee bit congested but hoping to get the lungs clearer by my efforts, I hardly tired my legs and, after contacting Pacepusher for his views on getting started again as he had also suffered the lurgy, I won't be pushing any boundaries this week. My only saving grace is that it's still December and it's a long way to JUNE.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Out last night for 10 miles at the club. Same route as the 9 miler on 18/11 with a mile loop past the Vale golf club to make up the extra. So a few hills involved but nothing extreme. Six set off but after a bit of banter Steph and I pulled away and ran a fairly steady pace, with no heroics (aka testestorone). The run out to Dumbarton was virtually frost free, but, by the time we came back to Bonhill, Jack Frost had done his bit and as we climbed out of Main St Bonhill opposite the chippy we hit a very slippy patch that had us running on the verge. As soon as my brain had to work to restore balance my left quads decided they were not playing and stiffened up. However no damage done and a quick shower before going home to watch Chelsea v Cluj. Went to bed immediately after the football hoping top catch up with the sleep we had missed the night before with Mairi's teething problems. By Tuesday morning, she had bled from one of her wounds for about 10 or 11 hours before we phoned NHS 24 for advice. By the morning her face was badly swollen and she had a black eye and bruising to her face. She's had to take a couple of days off work, but of course that was just the time for me to develop some man flu. Just when I can't get any sympathy! Not that I ever get any. So I'm thinking I have to give Jogscotland a miss as the last thing I feel like is running. However, I've missed it for the last two weeks due to bereavement and injury, so I'll at least go along and speak to them even if I have to go home afterward.
I blame my sister in law who asked if we would have my nephews at the weekend and nephew 1 seems to have smit me with his bugs, but I'm sure it would have caught up with me at some time anyway. It's just woman's revenge for pregnancy anyway!!!

Monday, 8 December 2008

OOyah ...Ouch

After a full week's layoff,following my attempt at kicking the rocks off the WHW last week, I ventured out tonight taking advantage of a lull in the frost. Not being the small, svelte type, my centre of gravity does not lend itself to the icy conditions of the past week, and I was a bit worried that, after the initial pain went down, I could cause some secondary problems by favouring the injured toe. So the lay off lasted until today, when after being Mairi's chauffeur for the day, she having a few extractions at the dentist this afternoon and currently suffering from the aftermath, I got out for half an hour in the streetlights in the village. Three one mile loops, with every muscle fighting the brain signals that are supposed to guide true footfall. Honestly it was like Douglas Bader learning to walk again. (Look Bader up your-self, youngsters. Jim Robertson told me about him.) Anyway, I got round but my knee is throbbing although the injury site in my foot is fine. Maybe a wee run in the morning, to get the synovial fluid going you understand, prior to the club run tomorrow will do the trick.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

WHW Training Run Beinn Glas

One call off from Geraldine so it was Jimmy, Andy and I who set off for the Drover's where we were to meet John Kynaston et al for the first of the organised runs to familiarise ourselves with the Way, or re-familiarise in the case of the old hands. It was a stunning morning, once we left the Vale that is, as it was shrouded in mist that hung around all day. Other than some ice on the A82 it was a great day for the drive and after introductions, and a team photie we set off at 9.30 heading to Inversnaid and back, with the option of going on to Derrydarroch or Carmyle for the truly mad.
Soon after setting off though, it became apparent that the -6 degree temperature meant that ice on some of the boulders was going to be a problem, and so it was. For me, among others, and several times at that. There was a cracking pace set at the front and everyone seemed to be keen to get to Inversnaid quickly. However about a mile short of the hotel I began to have a bit of trouble with my ankles and knees, objecting to the frequent re-corrections to my balance and then my calf started to niggle. No problem I thought, just slow down, get to Inversnaid and take your time back. So after a drink and a couple of sweets I turned with Jimmy and Andy but soon let them go on as I could feel my calf tighten even more. That however was to be the least of my troubles as about a mile north of Inversnaid I slipped again, my left leg going left and the right followed through, before coming to an abrupt halt as I toe-ended a boulder. Bloody sore too, and I soon realised that I was in a bit of bother as the foot wasn't able to stabilise me as I progressed over what I'm assured is the worst of the WHW terrain. It was almost six miles of difficult walking, interrupted by a slow jog when I was on good going. Getting back much later than I expected, we were unable to partake of the Drover's hospitality as Andy was due at work at 3pm.
Home,then, for some RICE treatment to the joint of the big toe of the right foot that seems to have absorbed the worst of the impact, and to avail myself of the brownie points that I seem at the moment to have in credit. And some painkillers.
I noted, too,the absence of Mr Pacepusher, whose wife had accused him of having manflu, but who today rather guiltily admitted that he really isn't well. Make the most of that Neal!
I ran with Caroline for a while early in the run and she was really running well, taking full advantage of my trailblazing to avoid the slippy bits! I didn't see her after Inversnaid, so I hope she managed without me. :-)
Thanks to John for the organisation, and to all those who turned out.And for those Milies who had a lost weekend following Friday's presentation and whatever "cure" was taken yesterday; there's always next time!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Club Session - Hill Reps

Didn't venture too far tonight warming up round Burnbrae before doing a club "favourite" - not session. There are three hills, on Upper Bridge St, Overtoun Rd and Margaret Drive, 3 reps on each street jog down recovery and jog between streets. There is a short recovery jog after Margaret Drive and then do them all again in reverse order. UBSt and M.Dr are short sharp hills about 100 yards or so and Overtoun is a long dragging hill. we ran to the far side of the fly-over there which gives us an extention to progress the session in future. A total of 18 hills,and combined with warmup and cooldowns comes in about 6 miles in total. I ran fairly well and was still working hard on no 18, although Mr Cowper was giving me a start and was jogging along quite nicely behind me at the end, hardly out of breath..... see these fit guys.....

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Club run with head torches

Jimmy and Geraldine, having purchased head torches at cheap and cheerful prices insisted that we should run them in on a club run. I was able to appropriate my son's Pretzl torch that is used for going into the loft, having bought it a few years ago to walk the WHW. It still has the original batteries and did the job tonight on an 8 mile run out to the Arden roundabout and return. The run out was pretty nippy but the weekend is still in my legs so I eased back on the return trip as Steph headed the run home. Took a bit of a slagging from JR re my lack of jacket and Camelbak on Sunday. But I can take it! I certainly hand it out, so I've got to take it when I get it.
Missing JogScotland tomorrow night as I have to attend a cousin's funeral at 3pm in Irvine and won't get back. Elizabeth was only a year or so older than I am, so it's particularly hard to believe. She had a long illness having been diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago. I seldom saw her in adulthood, but we were certainly close when we were kids and I have no doubt that old memories will be stirred up tomorrow.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Fail ToPrepare, Prepare To Fail

Yep, Davie does it again. After realising last night that his legs were feeling the best they've felt for weeks, and putting it down to the lack of driving required to be a househusband, he goes and makes a complete disaster of today's training run.
Up at 6.45 for brekky and gets the camelbak filled with water,cereal bars, rain jacket, yes that rain jacket, the one that cost the GDP of a small nation and promising to keep me dry in all weather. Out the door in plenty of time with rucksack,shoes to suit trail or road, desperate for a good run. Parks car at the club car park, swaps stuff into Steph's car and off we go.... No. Call from Ali and Geraldine in the other car;"Davie's not locked his car." Steph took me back. Car locked. Off to Succouth for another Sunday Tour de Ardgartan.
Reach car park, into boot.Shoes,check.Hat,check. Gloves, check. Spare pairs,check. Camelbak,@*$5^&*(£~#, and that's a long swearyword, believe me. I hadn't even left it in the car. It was still at home! Tucked up on the floor of my livingroom, warm with the central heating on seriously warm.Tucked up like I should have been on this particularly cold, wet, windy,early winter, crappy day.
Still after some hilarity from the team, I was loaned; a showerproof jacket, a water bottle to fill from a stream, and later two jelly beans a wine gum and half a banana. Just what you need on a planned 17 mile trek in the Argyll Forest park.
Off we went on a wee detour through Succouth to gain the forestry rd we had been on a short week ago. Turning towards Ardgartan, then onto the old Glen Croe road that you see below you when you're nice and dry on the A83. Weather threatened us all day, but only on the climb up from the bottom of the glen to the Rest and Be Thankful did it hit us with full force. Strong wind and sleet. Back via the Cat's Crag loop via the higher road and Loch Longside to the forestry offices, with slippery, icy surfaces on that stretch testing the grip of those Salomomns of mine. Must say they did ok. Wet,yes, but not as wet as the rest of me! At Ardgartan, Andy and I took the road way back as both sets of legs were saying no to the final climb up the forestry road back to Succouth. I was really quite bedraggled by this time, hungry, though at this time Jimmy gave me a banana. He offered Andy one but Andy said,"It's OK. I'll have a bite of that one." You mean mine! On arrival back at the car we stripped off and into a change of clothing.(I had brought that at least.) The girls had fled the scene after cutting down on reaching Cats Crag so we headed straight back to the Vale without stopping for tea. I took Jimmy's advice and spent the rest of the day in a bath and PJ's. Probably did about 16 miles at a pretty miserable clip with a lot of walking. Some days are simply better spent in bed!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Milburn Harriers Balloch Park XC

Up early this morning to lay out the course for the first race of the club's cross country championship, with assistance from Jim Robertson who was essential as he was the only one who knew exactly where the course should go!
Off at 10am, and unfortunately two missed the start, Elaine who simply started a minute behind and head her time adjusted and guest Lindsay who could only run two laps as he was too late. The race was won by Stevie Cowper, club speed merchant, and Adrian, the club mountaineer, was second. I had no chance of beating them so concentrated on doing my best to beat the others. I ran, for me, a steadily paced race,realising that as long as I could stay in touch with Steph and Pat I should be able to get past them at some point on the next two laps, as I seemed stronger than them in the mud and hills in the second half of each lap. And so it proved as I managed to beat them both and finish 3rd. Geraldine won the ladies race, and overall there was a good turnout with some first timers enjoying the experience. Tea,coffee, and Jan's home baking after the race before heading home for a bath and the laundry basket!
In the afternoon I attended the Scottish Athletics Seminar in the Glasgow Marriott, where there were updates on the Commonwealth Games planning,performance planning, competition structure and a half hour talk and question and answer session with Paula Radcliffe. She spoke about racing on home soil, training, and then gave some very incisive answers to some searching questions. I got to ask one at the end;
Davie: Paula, when you've won Olympic gold and Commonwealth silver (losing to a Scot), and given your love of trails, would you consider tackling some of the long distance trail races?
Paula: Oh God No! I would like to do some fell races though..... How long are you talking?
Davie: WHW race is 95 miles.
Paula: When I did my first 1/2 Marathon I swore I wouldn't run twice that distance. So let's never say never.
Voice at the back: I asked her this morning to run the OMM with me!
Davie: What, and get her lost?

Chair: OK thanks. Lets go for coffee!

Dario...... Send her a form for 2015

Bed early, well after X Factor, as we are on the Arrochar trails again tomorrow.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Easy running

Two runs to report, Jogscotland on Wednesday where four of us set off on the last of the 10 week session. Normally that means they should be doing the last run in the programme, but all the girls who run in my group have achieved this previously, and are racing 10ks on a regular basis, so they are happy just to run for around an hour. That's what we did last night, suited to all as one had another event to attend. Two found the pace just right for the distance we did, and had both been injured and missed a bit of training recently, and I was happy to get home in time to watch the Argies tribute night at Hampden! It's really sick the way our football press drum up the nationalistic feelings against our English cousins by harping back to the "Hand of God" of 1986. I mean you never hear the English press go on about 1966.
Tonight was club night and as the first of the club x country races is on Saturday a fair sized pack set out on an easy run. We just followed the 10k route, which is getting a bit boring, but in winter, as I've said before, it's difficult to get runs to measure the schedule unless someone does their homework. The run covers a bit more than the 10k in question which actually doesn't complete the loop so its about 6.5 miles. Some of the members were keener to run a bit harder so after the first mile two or three of them kicked off. I would normally have followed, but a new found discipline took over and I stayed with the pack. I'm just a wee angel so am ur!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Club run into Dumbarton - No passport required

First winter foray into Dumbarton, avoiding the dark and dangerous Renton Road, we headed over the Renton footbridge and out past the Lions Gate towards Bellsmyre. One, nay, the only benefit of the new road system they have put in place for the new retail/commercial park is that there is now street lighting the whole length of the road, although we returned along the top road to Bonhill Bridge and that part remains unlit. Anyway, I digress. On reaching Dumbarton we turned down Townend Rd, where two members of Dumbarton AAC were spotted doing reps, to the Church St roundabout, then along Glasgow Rd to Greenhead Rd where we ran back up to the A82 and returned along through Bonhill to the bridge and back up to the club. Seven in the pack Jimmy, Ali and Geraldine staying together at the back whilst I took Garry, and new boys Richard and Ian along at a slightly faster pace for the last 5 miles or so. 9 in total, pretty easy running, but good to get to run with the newer guys who are coming on well despite only just joining the club recently.
Good turnout at the club overall with Jim taking his group to Loch Lomond Shores for some reps and a few others disappearing for a shorter run.
Club cross country race at Balloch Castle on Saturday morning, not my favourite race but forms part of the training schedule so nothing else for it but to turn out and run. Hopefully home baking to look forward to post race:-)

Monday, 17 November 2008


Some good responses on my post yesterday and I took John's advice and put it on the WHW website and that generated some more responses.
Between keeping up to date on the various postings and my housework (Washing, drying,washing-up and drying,stripping bed, washing,drying, putting it back on.... hoovering, taxiing,.....) I needed a run, so set off after dark on a three mile slow recovery run round the village, staying off the hilly bits which isn't easy. The worst bit of stiffness after yesterdays run is actually in my neck due to carrying the camelbak around. I had a poor sleep because of it, so it has to be fixed. Answer? Address the cause, which in my case is poor muscle strength in the shoulder area. How? 100! I'm saying nothing about my initial test. It was piss poor, but I've started so hopefully it'll help.
Anyway, my other half is in, switched telly on for first time today and she settled in to watch last nights I'm a Celeb, only to be interrupted by the first of at least three one hour phone calls she'll receive tonight. It'll be winter in the jungle by the time she watches the whole series.Definitely not up to X factor, but then nas long as the Spanish bird is still the apple of Simon's leering eye she'll stay in the running and I'll stay watching! Sorry Debs!!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Back on the Trails

A short 3.5 mile easy run on Saturday afternoon, prior to spending the rest of the day at the telly watching rugby, football and the unmissable X factor. SAD me.
Up at 7 this morning to head to the Vale to meet Steph, Ali,Geraldine and a slightly worse for the wear Jimmy. I'll say at the outset I didn't know he had been on the shandies on Saturday. He hid it well otherwise he would have suffered!
Jim Robertson had threatened to appear but had to drop his good lady off at her friends before he could escape for his first run in a week. He did appear later.
We parked at Succouth near Arrochar and intended to run 17 miles. we were to start on the Glen Loin loop take in the Loch Sloy dam at that end of the loop before heading to Ardgarten and back to Succouth. Ali intended doing only the Loop but was able to run up to the bottom of the dam, declining the short steep climb onto the dam where geraldine Jimy and I did a bit of sightseeing. The run from Succouth to the dam is on a good trail with some stiff climbs. I had run it previously, in July taking a couple of hours for the 10.3 miles of the loop, but this was slower, allowing for a bit of re-grouping. The sun was starting to show behind the hills on the east side of the Glen and although a bit chilly, it was a beautiful day for a run. Returning to the the loop we headed back towards Succouth, meeting JR who decided to stay with Ali as she was aiming for about 13 miles. Steph and I headed on, setting a decent pace but stopping to replenish sugar and fluid levels as the run took it's toll. At the Ardgarten end we took the lower forestry road to come out across the road from the forestry offices. This however entailed a quad crunching decent, easy meet for the mountain goat that is Steph, but sore on me. Waited for Jimmy and Geraldine and then gave them the good news. Return by the higher forestry road, not the A83. This entailed running half a mile along the verge before climbing a seemingly never ending hill, where as I had several times previously today I was reduced to walking. Full marks to Geraldine, she ran every step of the way, the two of us reaching the top together to find Steph sitting at a picnic table, where we helped empty his orange juice bottle. Jimmy arrived a wee bit later, feeling the night before's fun. The run back to Succouth was reasonable flat,until the descent via the Cobbler path. Reaching the car after 4hrs 15minutes.
G Map was difficult due to the terrain but I measured the run at about 18miles. URL for this route is:
After changing into less sweaty gear, we headed for the Tarbet Tea Rooms where we tucked into a feast of heart attack inducing breakfast rolls and tea. (O.K. Geraldine had soup)
A wee disagreement with JR who thinks we are starting our WHW training a bit too early. He thinks there is a danger of getting sickened by the level of training, our arguement is that last year, Steph, Geraldine and Jimmy ran the Fling and felt that having started training in January, they were unprepared for the race. This time the goal is the WHW race just a few weeks later and that will require a longer prep. I see JR's point but would argue that he has been doing this for many, many years and has thousands of miles in his legs. That goes for many WHW veterans, but those mere mortals who are doing it for the first time have to get as many miles as possible into their legs, and the coach in me says a long base preparation is the best way to prepare. Last week I did just over 40 miles and the others slightly less. I don't think that is excessive, although today's miles count for next week and it was a hard days work.
I won't fall out with Jim over it, and any other views are welcome.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Hill reps

To Irvine today to visit my neice and as it turned out my two nephews who had a school holiday. I posted that I had been down a couple of weeks ago at a retirement party, and had taken the retiree a rather nice botlle of whisky that my brother-in-law had obtained at a good price, as he works in Johnny Walkers in Kilmarnock. However I had forgotten to give my neice my share of the cost and she had embarrassed me by e mail into going down today to pay my dues. I got there to find the boys also had the day off and had a great time reading and playing with them and then sharing their lunch - mince with baked beans mixed in and bread to dip. Brilliant! And the first time in years I've had such fun at lunch.
Got home in time to do a bit about the house, then set off for the first of regular Thursday rep sessions at the club. We opted for hills and ran to Balloch Park where we ran from the main gate to where the road splits for the castle and the north gate. Two distinct climbs totalling about 700metres at a rough guess, jog back recovery x 4. Pretty hard work but sustained effort that has my legs objecting noisily and ensured the jog back via Jamestown was very easy paced. Total running of about 7 miles, maybe more.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


For the first time in 6 months I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted today. Although I gave up work last week, my wife had some time off and I was subject to being under the thumb for the past 7 days. Today, however, she was back at work so I lay in my bed and scratched my bum until the dog annoyed me enough to get up. Straight into running gear though as I intended to put in a few miles at a decent pace as tonight I was in JogScotland mode. So in the early afternoon I did a quick run round Drumhead estate for 3and a 1/2 miles, so that if I had to take another group tonight it wouldbe easy to make up the 6 miles I was scheduled to run today. As it turned out the girls who turned up tonight, 7 of them, were all of good ability, if some of them needed a run after missing a few runs. The pack stayed together though and I was able to guide them up the hills at Mollanbowie estate and Davie Graham's hill where I was also able to stretch my legs a bit. Around 5 miles or just over, so that made for 8 and a 1/2 for the day. Easy pace. One thing I noticed after the early run was that i had no tightness afterwards, perhaps the distance run was enough to ease out the muscles and not enough to get them tight again. I'll keep an eye on that and see if it is a way to stay healthy!

Also noticed a weight loss over the past 10 days, and I am making an effort to keep the junk food to a minimum. Still a long way to June but my head seems to be on the right way, hope all the training group can say the same!

Club run 8 miles

Quite a big pack set out towards Renton for a loop before a backward circuit of the Vale Polaroid 10k route. Steph, Jimmy, Adrian, Garry, Geraldine, Ali and new member Richard were my company for the evening, but nice to see Kirsty make it to the club from JogScotland, another JR judo student of yesteryear. She went with Charlie and Elaine et. al. for her intro.
Steady pace for us, Ali still struggling with the pace but definitely digging in hard to stay with the group. We had to turn back to re-unite with her once, and she missed a loop but she's worth it! Maybe my fault, as at one point I was referred to a road sign which said SLOW DOWN and asked to adhere to the instruction. Me? Fast? Shurely shum mishtake!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Boturich and Horseshoe - The Long Way

Met Ali, Geraldine, Jimmy and Steph as arranged, but Steph decided to do a hil run at Luss leaving the WHW/Flingers to do their 15 mile run on the roads. Setting out from the club car park, we ran to Balloch, through the main gate of the park and after leaving via North Gate, we turned round Boturich peninsula before rejoining the A811 for a short run into Gartocharn, opting to take the Duncryne road onto the Horseshoe route. Had a sighting of a runner who looked from the distance like Marco. At the 10 mile mark Stevie turned up to relieve us of Ali, who is beginning her build up and was only wanting to do 10. She had worked hard, the language at times demonstrating just how hard! She also had a family occasion to attend, a meal to celebrate her father Davie's 80th Birthday. I've known Davie for a long time, as he used to run the snack bar at Luss Car Park, where I was the local cop for 4 years in the 80's. He doesn't have a scooby how many freebies I got from the girls who worked for him, but if he did he would be sending me the bill! Happy Birthday David!
Continuing down the Auchencarroch Rd,the pace picked up a bit but will still be described as easy inmy diary. Hard enough after yesterday's race which by the time I had finished today had taken it's toll. Passed Janet McColl of McColl's buses on the lower part of Auchencarroch Rd, being paced by a McColl's mini bus with blacked out windows! She said it was in case she needed a lift, but I think that she has identical triplets who each run a section of every run and race she does! Finishing up at the car park again we had been out for 2hrs 50, slow but the idea of these long runs is to simulate WHW race pace rather than running at what we would run for 1/2 marathon or 10k training.
Measuring the run on G maps I was astounded to find that as we had set out to run 10 miles (Ali) and 15miles (the others) we had in fact run 10.1 and 14.9. Not bad considering the Duncryne bit was added on impulse when we got to Gartocharn. Can't say we waste energy.

URL for this route is:

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Glasgow University 5 Mile Road Race

To Garscube Estate to run this long standing road race for the first time. Good turn out of Millies on the last day of the 2008 club championship. The champion will be the runner who gains most points from a fixed number of varying races i.e. 1xMarathon 3xhalf marathons, 4 x 10k, 1x 10 miles and 1 x 5 miles. These can include club handicap races, but runners can select any other races at the distances. A point is gained for every mile (or nearest mile)and a point for every club member you beat. I have for the first time completed a full set of races. I was beaten by Pat and Rob whenever we raced against each other, but if they didn't run enough races.....
We'll see, but I think I'm well placed!
Stevie Cowper, by far the best Millie runner turned out today, but Stevie won't run any further than about 6 miles..... ever! Even training runs. He gets a nose bleed at 6 miles and a yard.So I had to beat Steph, Garry, Jimmy, Ed to get all the other points available to me. Steph will normally beat me but is still struggling with a back injury and I beat him last week, so I was hopeful of doing a double! Garry is really a novice at the racing but he is younger and if he puts in the training and races more then he will keep improving. Jimmy, will never beat me! If I run till I'm 90 he'll never beat me. That's because he abandoned me on a training run a few weeks ago when I was suffering after a night out. I'll never forgive him!:-)
Anyway, on arrival at Garscube I registered, and warmed up with Brian Clark of Dumbarton who had buttonholed me for a lift home, then made my way to the start. O the gun I started briskly enough and as I had started ahead of the guys took a lead to the gate onto Ilay Rd. Problem here was that the race organisers had failed to arrange for a big gate to be opened and by the time my section of the field arrived, there was a big buildup to get through the side gate. Steph, no etiquette displayed, got through before me and took a 30 yard lead off me. I workled steadily to get it back but after the hill before the turn onto Maryhill Rd he came past me again. I went past again at the entrance to the Uni estate and didn't see him after that. I was running steadily enough, but knew that the hilly nature of the course was against a really fast time. I think 7 minute miling for 5 is beyond me at the moment, but had quietly hoped for 36 minutes, and was quite happy when my watch stopped on 36.35. I didn't see Stevie after the race, but Steph, Garry,Ed and Jimmy came in steadily after me. Cooled down with Brian, then enjoyed some of the excellent buffet put on by the Uni. Had a blether with Marco and Debbie, giving her a mild ticking off for running herself in the dark when there are plenty of running groups leaving the Vale leisure centre three nights a week!

So a good race (very fast at the front end with Chris Mckay winning in 24.24) spoiled only by the gate just after the start being closed. I have thoroughly enjoyed the four races that I have run in the past four weeks and I am feeling the benefit. Glutes still tight but put some Deep Heat on, carefully, before running today and felt that had a positive effect.Just wish it smelled of roses!

Thursday, 6 November 2008


When I started as a leader with JogScotland a few years ago I had to consider that a number of the joggers under my leadership were pretty nervous of running past the assorted neddery that passes as lowlife in the vale of Leven and in the lead up to Guy Fawkes one problem is the use of fireworks as an intimidatory weapon. However, on Guy Fawkes night when there are displays all over the country, there is less opportunity for showing off by the bad boys and running the streets with displays all round was a brilliant experience. Last night being a JogScotland night and Bonfire Night meant I was keen to get out, but most of my group were missing, presumably having been dragged off to displays by their kids and only two of the girls turned out. We did a quick 40 minute run which was enough for one of them, who was not as experienced as the other, so we called it a day after about 3.5 miles, just in time to get to the TV to watch some pub teams playing at Parkhead. The football was probably responsible for the diminished amount of fireworks this year, with half the West of Scotland watching Celtic and the other half watching Man U!
This morning my wife had a dental appointment and I went along as her taxi as she was having a couple out. She wasn't that bad she couldn't go shopping. We were after a dinner service to replace the one we've been using for 9 years, and I was dragged round half the stores in Clydebank, to no avail. However...... TK Maxx did have a pair of Brasher walking boots at £69.99 (RRP £110) and Mairi took so much trouble finding them and pointing them out, that I felt kind of obliged to take the opportunity...... and a couple of pairs of long socks to go with them. Well, I did feel that wearing trail shoes on my last walk was a bit iffy, especially on the rough downhill, so hopefully these will help. Then I had to tell her that I had bought two pairs of gloves and a hat in Achilles Heel on Wednesday. Oh and I'll need a couple of pairs of running tights soon....... see me, see retail therapy. Oh and she did get a new comb for the dog.

To the club tonight for a 7 miler. From the club we went round Burnbrae and then the Polaroid 10k course. We left at 6.15 sharp, leaving Ed behind as he didn't know we were away, and before Steph arrived...... blame Jimmy guys! Jimmy, Geraldine and Garry were my companions for a steady run. Some of us are doing the Glasgow Uni 5 miler on Saturday which is the last race in this years road race championship, and then a 15 miler at 8am on Sunday. Leaving from the club.
A cup of tea and some toast and cheese in the centre cafe with JR who always has plenty of sound advice for me with regard to the WHW. Between Jim's advice and the companionship of the club members, not to mention the WHW group training runs, I will have no excuse for failing to cover the training required. My only worry is injury or illness but, other than taking as much preventative care as I can, that is something I can't control. One good bit of news this week on the club front is that JR's group have decided to enter two teams for the Fling relay. Little do they know how the bug will get them!

On the WHW blog front I was sorry to see that Brian McIntosh has suffered an ankle ligament injury. I offered some advice re strengthening exercises, but his unfortunate accident reminded me of something I read a while back that I had saved for future reference. When I saw the runners at the WHW race presentation hobble up to collect their goblets and the esteem in which they held Dario I thought it would be good to see this on t-shirts to be worn at the presentation. It is an anonymous Gaelic Blessing (in English)

May those who love us, love us
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts;
And if He doesn't turn their hearts
May He turn their ankles
So we'll know them by their limping
Author Unknown

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

I left the house at 6am this morning to take the Volvo down to Goole, with the intention of getting up and down in time to get to the club, this being the first day of the training schedule that Steph had compiled for Jimmy, Geraldine and Ali. As I will be running with them for most of my sessions I will also be looking for a copy of the schedule and thought better of missing the first run! As they all work, and I am now (after tomorrow) back in the realm of the retired, I will be able to put in additional work, but will need to keep an eye to their timetable to tie in with the sessions. I hope to do some walking, strength work and cross training to complement the running.
Anyway, I ended up only just making it to the club as, due to a combination of fog and wide loads, the journey up and down was very slow. We set off out to Arden roundabout for an 8 miler. Easy run out and eventually Garry and I ran hard for the last couple of miles. No idea how long we ran for as I forgot to look at the watch, but it wasn't really of any consequence due to the slow early pace. No problem with my legs which have been subjected to ice treatments for the past two nights.
Two wee jobs tomorrow within Glasgow and I'm back to full time athlete!!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Eddies Half Marathon

A beautiful day for a race, much nicer than the last time I ran this race in 2005 when it was windy and rainy. Mairi and I drove over to the Vale in case we had to take some of the club members, but with a bus and two other cars, we weren't needed. So off we went, and as Mairi hadn't been up through Glencoe for many years, she was spoilt with an absolutely superb day for scenery. So nice that every good viewpoint had it's own horde of photographers, complete with tripods getting what was probably the best pic f the year. Stunning.We arrived in plenty of time to register then have a coffee. After meeting the others I had a warm up with clubmate Elaine and Yvonnne from Dumbarton AC. I had by that time I had discovered my club vest was lying on my bed in Cardross, having looked it out and promptly left it down. So I was forced to run in a t shirt!
Quick lo visit before the start meant I was near the back at the start and as I crossed the start line, realised I hadn't reset my watch, so after a bit of footering I finally started it about 15 seconds late. Off we went and I soon passed Garry, who was running his second 1/2 marathon and I told him to watch for the climb from the turning point, thereby incurring the wrath of two Kirkintilloch Olypians for whom that information was not what they wanted! I was running quite freely but was soon overtaken by Rob and Elaine, who soon took about 50 yards out of me. Maybe I was running slower than I felt. But no, the miles were ticking off inside my usual splits, even allowing for the watch malfunction. The course is mainly downhill from about 4 miles to the turning point, where of course we have to run up the hill we've just come down. By that time, I was swapping places on a regular basis with a Lochaber AC girl Theresa, who seemed to know every spectator or steward we passed. At the top of the hill at Corpach I was running well and I was thinking a Pb was on, but suddenly at about 11 miles I started to feel my right hamstring getting tight, and the strange sensation of my left leg running better than the right started. I'm sure this is the result of driving so much as I get a numb feeling spreading from my glute to the hammy when I'm driving long distances, which this week had been every day. (see yesterdays post for my solution to that wee problem!). By mile 12 I was in bother and felt as if I could be about to tear the hammy. I slowed down but then had to walk for about a minute. I got going again and managed to run the last mile and the bit. I finished in 1.43.41 for 80th,which I think is my 2nd best 1/2 ever just short of the 1.41 of three years ago in the same race. How disappointed I was. Still, only Rob and Elaine finished ahead of me from the club, Steph, running after injury was next, then Garry, Jimmy, Geraldine, Catherine and Chris. JR ran with Karen and Sandra, pacing them to 2 hrs 30. a vast improvement on their previous runs.
Plenty other good runs from Dumbarton area runners and at the presentation I was delighted to see Elaine Somerville and Yvonne Boyle took 1st and 2nd in the over 35 ladies and Neil Prior of Dumbarton took second male vet.
WHW family members I met included Jim Drummond, who had engaged in his usual slagging of JR when they passed. And I introduced myself to Thomas and Silke who both had good runs but I will leave them to report their own races. I'm sure there were others running, we will no doubt find their reports on the forum or blogs.
A good race, as popular as always, but if forced to choose one from this or Aviemore, then Aviemore would always be my choice. Maybe I'm getting used to being off road!
Finished off a lovely day with Sunday lunch at Duck Bay Marina.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Now I've done it!

"Done what?" you ask. Well it's not put on my training shoes every day and gone for a lengthy run. This week has seen my work load involve visiting Goole, Aberdeen (Dyce) 3 times,Paisley, East Kilbride, Shotts, and Glasgow. God knows how many miles, and He alone knows how many litres of Carbon Monoxide I have released into the atmosphere from gas guzzling high performance vehicular monsters. I became a danger to myself and others as I spent my days driving, arriving home to go to bed, get up and go driving. All for a wage that does not exceed the minimum as laid down by HM (non)Government.
No more. My wife, who had insisted that I get out of the house and return to earning, got to the stage when even she was getting fed up with the hours I was keeping and raised no objections when, today, I typed a resignation letter and sent it off 1st class announcing I work no more after this week. Now I have no excuse to miss runs, although I will still be seeking employment, subject to semi-retirement rules!
This week I had managed to run only once, with Jogscotland on Wednesday, where I ran my group a couple of miles before doing some hill reps (gentle) in Balloch Park and then running back for a total of 5 miles.
Tomorrow however, I will hopefully manage to run a decent Eddie's Half Marathon on my fresh legs. Quite a few Millies and associates from Jogscotland and local unattached runners are heading up to Fort William. Mairi is coming too so I won't have to drive back.
Last night, after coming back from Aberdeen in a wonderful Volvo XC90 (glad it wasn't my petrol!)I headed down to the Volunteer Rooms in Irvine to surprise my old DJing boss Willie Freckleton who was retiring from his job in entertainments at North Ayrshire Leisure.
Having been TAGGED by Rachel, this is where I get to reveal A LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT MYSELF and admit to a few musical indiscretions that will have the subversive runner choking himself with his hose and Brian wondering why I don't like Ivor Cutler. As a 17 year old I worked as a DJ in Ayrshire's finest discotheques(before they took the name "night clubs" which prior to the year 2000 were where Sinatra sang cabaret). Willie Freck ran the company and we were pretty high profile in those days, hosting Radio Clyde DJs,scottish bands, The Wombles, Johnny "Tears On My Pillow" Nash,amongst others. I was the first person ever to play "Una Paloma Blanco",the first to introduce Midge Ure's Slik after they went to number one, as well as being the first DJ Willie ever sacked for being D & I and unable to go on stage!
Anyway, my niece Sarah Jane, who works in the Magnum in Irvine told me this party was on and although I hadn't seen Willie for many years I thought I would go down to wish him all the best for his retirement. It was a lovely evening, not least because Sarah Jane called a very attractive young lady over to meet me. This turned out to be Devil of the Highlands ladies race winner Sharon Law, who was Debbie's support on the WHW race, the two of them having been best pals for years and years (must have been since before they were born). We had a good blether and will no doubt meet again at the various training days over the next few months.There was also a brilliant band on, Vein. Pretty much a cabaret type band, they were unusual that, although they had about 10 musicians in the band, they had a different lead vocalist coming on to the stage for every song. I'm sure that, if I had thought to have counted them, there must have been about 30 people on the stage all told.
Anyway, more CHORES on Saturday before an early rise tomorrow for the trip to Lochaber.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Help for Heroes

Just in case Tomo Thomson has been too busy to watch X factor, here's the link to the Hero's cover being sold for Help For Heroes.And no..... Martha Wainwright doesn't have a verse.

Sorry, my non tech mind can't post the screen thingy here

Bloody Clocks - Pardon my French

My problems with the changing back and forth of the clocks are legendary and this morning was no different. Arrangements made to be at the club at 8am to run with either Geraldine or whoever else turned up, with a fallback plan of joining JR on the Longcrags behind Dumbarton. Thank goodness for the problems on the OMM or no problem on the OMM depending on whether you believe the BBC or the runners. Switching the telly on to catch up with progress on the "rescue", I soon realised the time was only 6.25am and so I settled down to a larger breakfast then my normal pre-run meal and a couple of cups of coffee. I finally set off at 7.45 rushing as usual to get me gear together. Getting into the car I found my mobile phone that had been missing (but not missed)for a couple of days, and on it a message from Geraldine saying she was meeting Ali at 9.00 to do the Horseshoe. After a bit of humming and hawing about joining JR I decided to stay in the Vale and do a few miles prior to meeting at Ali's to join them on their run. I went to Balloch and parked up, spotting a lesser dressed Marco heading out on his run. Knowing he was to have been on the OMM prior to withdrawing due tom work commitments I looked to bump into him in Balloch, but then spotted him heading along Carrochan Rd towards Gartocharn. Brave man dressed only in shorts, t-shirt and gilet. Hope he didn't get too wet. Anyway, through Lomond Shores, Cameron House and Balloch for half an hour before meeting the girls for a leisurely trip round the Horseshoe. Geraldine and Ali started talking about what dresses Geraldine had to wear to a function she is attending and, having previously crossed her by turning up for training in my FLM finishers t shirt on the same night she did, I had to ask where she was going in order that I didn't make the same mistake again. Come on, you never know, don't knock it till you've tried it!! It turns out that when you and I are looking forward to a cold wet night time run, before settling down to watch the new series of Spooks, the lovely Geraldine is off to dinner with the French Ambassador at the French Consulate! OOH LA LA. Ferrero Rocher galore at the presentation night guys! Last mention of the evening was when she pondered the fact that the French President has a liking for young burds, perhaps someone will whisper "Ah Gjeraldeeen, you must veesit Paree in the springtime" Maybe the search for a man will take a turn for the better soon.
See running with others..... a total of 2 hours trotting, about 12 miles total, much better than running alone. Got wet, sheltered from hailstones, met another couple of runners, one of them a 2008 Flinger, Brian Garry before finishing with a cool down walk (or was Ali just knackered). Back to the car and home to a warm bath with a warning from Geraldine La Currie "What happens on tour stays on tour". However it hasn't happened yet, and you didn't tell me in confidence, so it's fair game I say!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

520 miles plus 4

A long days driving in horrendous conditions. I left at 5.30am to get through Glasgow before the rush and had breakfast in Gretna, after driving through horrendous wind and rain, despite this, 5 hours to Goole was good going even though I resisted putting the foot down when past the worst of the weather. a quick turnaround and was pleased to be given a 2.0d x type Jag to bring to Glasgow. I would have been even happier if I could have taken the Civic's seat. The jag was great in the weather, but the seat was a nightmare on my back and consequently my hamstrings. Things didn't go well, either when I got to the A66. It was initially closed to high sided vehicles which would have been fine given my dislike of HGVs on MY road. However just as I got to the Barnard Castle turnoff the sign changed to ROAD CLOSED TURN BACK TO A1.So a 60 mile detour via Newcastle and Hexham, before hitting the rain and winds again once I crossed the border. My only consolation is that the weather was going south. I eventually got home at 5.45 just in time to say hello to my other half and get changed for a club run. Mairi headed to the hairdresser so I didn't feel guilty!
On arrival at the club there were only three others JR(who else?) Charlie and Karen Lees. I only wanted to run, just to fix my stress levels after the drive. I was rattling! So we set off together, but JR soon got tired of me being in front and sent me away on my own as he and Charlie couldn't keep up. I told Karen she was with me as it wouldn't do her any good being with those two and we set off at a suitable pace for her round the Vale, with the route plan being to avoid the usual flooding spots! Karen was one of my JogScotland group before gravitating to Millies, so I felt quite at home giving her my usual monologue about training and keeping a diary......
She is going to Lochaber half marathon in two weeks as part of JR's contingent and was keen to find out what the course was like....... Hope she still goes, Jim

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Two run Wednesday

Up early this morning ahead of a busy day at home. Car to garage for it's service and MOT. Failed! broken spring and a brake imbalance, so 239 quid lighter. ran home about 4 1/2 miles at a fairly easy pace before attending to some domestic chores and going to hospital with Mairi for some test results. Good news in that her health remains static.
Some shopping for the ingredients for tonight's curry that was my answer to the what do you want for tea question, but first, off to jog scotland for a 5 mile trip round the Vale, reversing last nights route to take the hill that joggers hate out of the equation. No drama tonight and home in time to see Liverpool play Athletico Madrid.
Typing this then off to bed so I can hit the Goole trip early, hopefully getting home early enough to make the club night. Unfortunately the weather is promising to be horrendous so I'll see how progress goes.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Club night - easy run

Popped along to club as usual, and was able to settle for an easy 5 miles, no watch, no pace, no bother. After resting yesterday following Sunday's race I was still stiff especially since I had to drive from Aberdeen this afternoon. It was a rather nice Civic which wanted to go fast, but I was responsible and kept to the speed limit.
Times published for Aviemore show my gun and chip times to be the same (1.44.42) which is strange as it took me quite a wee while to go through the start. I suppose I must be one of the few problems. Never mind, I won't let it put me off going back next year, and dragging a few Millies with me!

A wee problem after my shower. Brian, the caretaker asked me to find Big Charlie whose wife had been involved in a bad crash just after we went for our run. Charlie was with JR's group and I went and got him from Lomond Shores where they had been doing their session. The info I was given was that she had shock and whiplash so we went to the Vale Jail to find out what had happened. Turned out she was home uninjured so all was well. That meant I missed the start of the football, but didn't miss the good bits %-)

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Aviemore Half Marathon 19th October 2008

As the only Millie running this race, (why?) I took the opportunity to treat Mairi to an overnight stay in the MacDonald Academy Hotel where the race itself is based. Due to another commitment that Mairi had, we weren't able to get away until after 2.30. Mairi had been driving all morning but as we were having to use her car, mine having no MOT, she pulled rank and drove up. Arriving about 7pm I registered at the main hotel reception and Mairi tried to negotiate the one way system to find a parking space near the Academy. Cue some unwanted instructions from me, which went down well. Not. Finally got in and I went down to register for the race and get my number. Great set up, with numbers,chips and shop all in the same room and a nice friendly welcome. I stayed away from the shop as I thought my brownie points were at an all time low!
A nice meal in the nearby Italian restaurant then back to the room for the end of x factor and an early night. I was determined not to have the kind of run that had left me knackered early on for the past two weeks, so I was well fed with pasta and had taken on plenty of fluids all day. Fine in theory but I lost count of the number of toilet visits I had during the night. Up at 7.30ish and down to the main foodhall for breakfast. Cereal and scrambled egg with coffee which was just about right, both in relation to amount and timing. It was well digested and gave me no problem in the race. (A wee bit of shortbread with my pre-race coffee at the start did try to make a re-appearance but only briefly.)Organisation of this race is very good. Registration for the Sunday arrivals was from 7.00am and a large fleet of buses took us to the start at Badaguish. I caught a bus at 9.30 after booking us out of our room, and a few minutes later I was queuing for coffee in the Badaguish sports hall. A short time later I met Ian Beattie and his mate Phil and I was introduced to a few of their friends. It was strange to be at a race where I knew so few people, but in true runner's tradition I soon made a few aquaintances before the start. I must make a mention of the gent who met the bus as it disgorged it's passengers. Every runner was met with a cheery "Good morning, and thanks for coming". Oh that every race organiser had such a welcome!
The race is advertised as "The half marathon course is a truly ‘highland route’ but without the hills! The Start is at a height of approx 1100 feet and the Finish at approx 720 feet."
Well this should be the subject of a complaint to the Advertising standards agency! And as for the wind!!!
At the start the course drops away steeply, so it's downhill from here then! Eh, no. The two mile marker is back on a level with the start and about 150 yards from it so what has gone down must come back up! Being a clever sort of guy I knew this, so took it easy,although it was difficult to start fast due to the number of runners. I hadn't gone too far before realising that I had drunk too much water and hadn't got rid of the excess. So I was in the trees at 2 miles at which point I had ben running 16 minutes, the next mile was mainly downhill although we had hit a strong wind as we hit a forest clearing, but it took 8.42 so it must have been some pee! I wasn't really looking for a good time, as I thought a trail/road course would have been a tough nut to crack, but I was disappointed to start as I had. I buckled down though and, although there were still some fair wee undulations and windy sections, got back to 8 minute miles which I maintained as an average for the race. At the 5 mile marker though I, and most of the people around me were almost blown to a standstill with a near gale force gust. Round Loch Morlich, the views here terrific, indeed the whole event is in a stunning setting, and after 8 miles the real downhill section starts and it's a five mile stretch with only two wee sharp ascents to bother you. Finally finishing in the park behind the MacDonald resort, where the commentator tried his damnedest to give every runner a mention as they finished. I managed a final sprint, which shoes I probably hadn't run hard enough. The next time I looked at my watch it showed 1.45 so I may have been in the low 1.44s which given my pit stop wasn't at all bad.
Medal, cups of juice, sweets, chocolate and a banana all on offer at tables after handing the chip in and then I was re-united with Mairi, who wasn't too happy that I hadn't seen her in the crowd at the finish.Unfortunately I didn't see Ian afer the race so can't report on his race, although I hope he kept his Full Scottish Breakfast down. He seemed reasonably confident of a good run and felt as if he has recovered from his Perth adventure.
Back at baggage collection, again well organised, Mairi asked if I had seen anything I fancied in the shop and added that she had been in the resort shop and it was full of running goodies. And here was me thinking I hadn't any brownie points! I didn't really see anything I fancied, but made great play that I could get the same stuff much cheaper in my usual outlets, which seemed fair to her, so I'm on for some retail therapy next time I'm in the town!!!! It's not only you ladies who get off on shopping!
Hitting the road after a coffee and muffin, we stopped in Pitlochry for a nice lunch in a wee cafe restaurant. Great soup!
So, a great event, well organised and crying out for a real good effort next year! Will I still be the only Millie?

Friday, 17 October 2008

A Loooong walk

Tuesday night being club night I toodled over to the Vale of Leven and arranged with Captain Chris to walk with him on Thursday. Then off on a tour of the hillier parts of the valley's streets, it being darker these days, Mollanbowie estate, Haldane, and back to the club with Pat, Elaine and a newer member Andy, with whom I'd never previously ran. I must admit I was knackered after the Haldane and announced that I would miss the planned climb into Bonhill. Everyone else seemed to be happy with what I was doing so we ended up with 5.75 miles in 50 minutes, not bad considering the climbs involved. I've put in less effort in races! Not what I wanted between the club race and the Aviemore half I am running on Sunday!
As I was down south on Wednesday, I didn't run and missed JogScotland for the second week. On Thursday I met wee Chris and his mate Andy, both of who are retired, for a bit of hill walking. I had been trying to tie in with Chris and JR for a walk for a few weeks, but did't manage to get out due to work and other problems. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for. JR called off as he had other things to do so it was just three of us.
Chris is a great wee guy. he is Chair of Milburn and indeed won the 10 miler last week. (No comment on his handicap allowance). Andy however was unknown to me but word was that he had been walking and climbing for many years and indeed spoke about days on the rock climbs on the Cobbler back in the 50's and 60's. Trouble was he planned the walk, which I'm sure would be easy meat for anyone who does any walking.
However, he is not in the best shape these days as witness his struggle to climb the initial path without stopping for a rest, and then decided that he didn't know where to find the path he intended as our ascent. So, we decided that as the initial climb was beyond us we would reverse the route and climb Narnain, via the boulders then cross to A'Chrois before descending via our original ascent path, or by any other name, reversing the route. The initial climb to Beinn Narnain was fine if slow due to Andy's lack of pace. On top it was hailstones and gale force winds. I was on the summit a good 15 minutes before the other two and I felt it was slow, so slow I was already fearing for the rest of the day. A bite to eat and then across the ridge to A' Chrois, again reaching he summit some time before the others. Despite the wind and hail visibility was fine and the views are stunning from the summit. We had been walking for 5 hours. At 2 pm we left the summit to follow Andy's route to the car. What a nightmare! Whilst in no danger at any time, other than of ankle injuries from knee deep clumpy,boggy grass and never at any time having any good walking underfoot, it took us 2 and a 1/2 hours to get down. There must be a better route, but Andy could only remember the route he had taken the last time he was up that hill, and that could have been any time since Christ left Partick, as they say in the west end. If I never come down that hill again I won't be sorry.
I don't have any confidence descending hills when running but I can sometimes get above jogging pace. However, this hill needed every step to be a careful one and at times the only safe way down was to sit and slide and hope for the best. Horrible!All in we were out for 7 and a 1/2 hours. I reckon it should take 4 and a half.
Better luck next time!

Monday, 13 October 2008


A short working day which took me to Clarkston for a manky Saab, by which I mean dirty on the outside, and then an aborted pickup of a Motability car. That cost me a few quid but meant I could get a recovery run in. 4 miles easy from the village to the first houses in Dumbarton and back.That includes a fairly long steady climb for about a mile but the bonus is it's downhill on the way back.It did set me thinking that I haven't done a session on the hill in Lennox Drive for a while. It's a fairly steep road climb off the Cardross Road and I must do it again fairly soon.
Off to Aberdeen in the morning so I might struggle for the club run.
I've had a good read of weekend postings on the various blogs and can't help but marvel of the way some of the guys (and girls) just keep running the way they do. I'm old and getting grey and it'll take a lot of getting used to. All I want to do in 2009 is complete the Fling and the WHW, and have fun doing it. If successful and no' a broken man I might look for a third ultra later in the year, Rotherham affording a decent rest period and may be an option.
I am convinced that starting running, and never stopping, is the way to do it. No matter how late you start, never stop.No matter how young you are when you stop, you will never regain what you had.I ran as a schoolboy and got to a pretty good standard. Then I gave it all up for bright lights and big cities. When I see guys like Andy Rennie at Irvine, and many others who still run fantastic times I realise what I missed. If you have any influence with young athletes, convince them of this and work as hard as you can to keep them in the sport.

Milburn Harriers 10 mile Handicap Shock as Debbie beats Marco

That's right folks, Debbie (+1) beat Marco in the Millies' 10 mile race yesterday morning. Held over the traditional Horseshoe course which measures something more than 10 miles and is tactfully described as undulating. Or "@*&ing hilly.
A 9am start for the front runners and rather generous handicaps for some of them given that we are all meant to finish in a dead heat. I never saw half of them again. Including club captain Chris Coyne, who toddled off with the winners trophy. Good to see a few guests turning out from nearby clubs and Jogscotland. However, it is thought that Steph worked out the handicaps late in the evening of the last club social night, such was the disparity of starts. For my own part, I ran 78 minutes 45 which was good enough for 3rd place in both handicap and men's scratch. Lindsay Cunningham of Garscube was fastest scratch in 63.53. Fastest lady was Elaine Somerville at 76.05 But I must repeat my headline..... Debbie 1.40.36 was waiting at the finish to see Marco .... 1.04.10. And I thought the handicapper was being tough on her!
Quite a few of the runners were patiently waiting for me to finish, but more had just buggered off without a farewell.More fool them, as Jan had been baking and the flapjacks and carrot cake, as well as the shortbread and choccie biscuits produced by the other members, made for a nice al fresco post race picnic.
One nice footnote; you may remember I wasn't at my best last weekend and my wee pal Jimmy left me to walk/jog back from the Carrick. His explanation being that he didn't want to get my sweat all over his wife's car seats. Well, he had a three minute start on me yesterday and arrived at the start looking as bad as I felt last week. I took pity on him and gave him a bottle of water to re-hydrate. Off he went and I caught him about halfway, asked after his state of health, then just buggered off and left him to suffer........ He who laughs last...... join my wee club Jimmy, you know it makes sense.
URL for run is

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Club Run

Good turnout, albeit some absentees. Big Ed made an appearance and he and I made tentative arrangements to run the Brampton - Carlisle 10 mile race in November, subject to HM Navy not sending him away on a mission. He is the club 10 mile handicap champion, and tonight he announced he would not be defending his title on Sunday as he is not fit. Then he takes me out and runs away from the pack, taking me away with him, and running much faster than I intended. The plan, and some stuck to it, was to run to Cameron House via the Old Luss Road, run through Cameron House, where the Scottish Football Team are preparing for Saturday's international - the cars in the car park being above the even normal high class. Spotted one Scotland t shirt running for the door trying to get out of the rain..... wimp.
Anyway, through Cameron House, Lomond Shores to Balloch, along Main St, through Jamestown, and return to club passing Davie Graham's garage. Anyone free to take any of the myriad shortcuts to suit their own schedule. We usually start slowly together then the group naturally splits after a mile or so, but Ed I'mnotfit set off at the front, my wee legs going three strides to his two (I'm 6'2!) and although some of the pack were running fairly close to us early on, by the time we got to MacDonalds at Balloch we were a group of two. To be fair it was pretty easy pace, although the big guy's Garmin ran out of juice so we'll never know. But by the time we got to Balloch at 4 miles I was feeling the run on Tuesday in my legs. Approaching Bonhil Bridge, Ed decided to go straight home as he stays near Milburn and had baby chores pending. So I finished on my own. As I got to the club Jan and Rob were heading for the car, but as far as I could see everyone else was still out. JR came in when I was showering and said that the girls were in the cafe, they had done a bit less missing Cameron House and adding Balloch park to what we did. Alison, however, had plugged on and did the whole run. Others haven't been seen since the start. Joined them for a cuppa before facing the elements on the way home.
So, Sunday morning at 9am sees the first runner off on the 10(?) mile handicap round the Horseshoe. A toughie and not one I really enjoy. I got an e-mail from Debbie asking if she and Marco could join us for the race. I'm sure they will be welcome and I've told them to contact Steph with their recent times so he can handicap them. I'm sure he'll go by Debs Loch Ness performance as her most recent race is probably the most accurate given her current condition. As for Marco, he can have a long lie and turn up about 11am for his starting time! Anyone else up for it? Just drop Steph a line with this years performances at 10k and half marathon and anything in between. You can get him on the Milburn site at the address on my sidebar.


No, not the out of town shopping centre at whose very mention most men shudder, but the housing scheme that the overlooks the beautiful Vale of the Leven. I used to shudder at the mere mention of that too, but like many runs I have learnt to enjoy (?) the climb. It was a regular part of training last winter and with the nights fair drawin' in thought it was time to put it back on the schedule. When I was asked what we were doing on Tuesday night, down at t' club (sorry- I was in Yorkshire yesterday) I threw it in as a suggestion and was pleased when three others agreed! However several others declined it's pleasures so it was a fraction of the club turnout who headed out to Renton, over the Polaroid Bridge, through the industrial estate and up the farm track to Beechwood Estate, then round the New Bonhill Housing Estate........ and when Steph and I got to the Main Street, somewhere near sea level again, decided we hadn't done enough and headed to Balloch to add some miles. Our other two amigos Jimmy Mc and Elaine had dropped back and I presume headed back over the Bonhill Bridge to the club. Steph had been suffering from a virus, unfairly described by our distaff members as "man flu" and was pleased to get a fairly long run at pace(?) in. I was just trying to throw off the laziness that I seem to have allowed to develop. 8.3 miles by G map.
URL for this route is:
Didn't get back from Yorkshire in time for JogScotland on Wednesday and as Mairi has a scan on Thursday I've taken the day off to drive her there and back. Good news is the train strike has been called off for today and tomorrow. I've got two jobs, fairly local but they would have been a nightmare without trains as the route is Cardross - East K - Shotts - Bathgate - Glasgow.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

London Marathon - Pleased to be rejected!

Earlier this year I ran the London Marathon and couldn't wait to enter next years race, sending off my entry at the earliest opportunity. I had a great time, as did Mairi, my wife. Two weeks later I supported my Milburn clubmates on the Highland Fling, and thought "I could do that". However, they date of the 2009 races were announced, and the are the same weekend! Barely feasible to do both, but would you want to?
In June I ran the last few stages of the WHW race with Jim Robertson, and I was hooked. Desperate to enter I realised that I would have to do the Fling to prove to the Godfather, and to myself that I was capable of the BIG ONE. But what about my marathon entry? Mairi has Rheumatoid arthritis and therefore not prone to following me around the country watching me race, so I have to provide added incentive to entice her south....... like west end shows, nice hotels, meals .... you know the feeling I'm sure. Now I'm faced with the possibility that I will be accepted for London and then have to break the news...... I'm not going, I'm running 53 miles along the WHW, you know, just the other side of the loch from where we stay. Hardly comparable to her weekend treat! So, London Marathon D-Day approached and it was with a bit of trepidation that I went to pick up the mail.Realising the package contained my consolation fleece I had a quiet smile, then wiped it off my face and broke the bad news to Mairi!
So, no need to lie to FLM about my serious injury and beg for a deferment! All systems go for my first ultra!
Now I just have to stop Mairi trying to get me a charity place!

Todays run was a short but hilly off road run on forestry paths and trails at Ardgartan. On my own so didn't do too much. But a beautiful day for a run and the views were spectacular. Picked up some forestry commission leaflets and now looking forward to Mairi going to Dunoon to work for a few days so I can keep her company and spend her working hours on the Argyll trails, and charge my keep to the Government.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

I met Arthur too.........

A week since my last entry. Several reasons. Over work, under trained and frustration.
The company I work for let me down a bit this week, sending me to jobs that had been cancelled and to jobs that existed but without the proper information to do the job. I was in Goole on Monday and probably got a ticket from a speed camera on the A66, local runs on Tuesday, off wednesday, a burach of a job on Thursday involving six cars and a transporter. Then they sent me to Dundee to pick up a car to go to Goole, only to find that the customer had changed the pickup to Tuesday, but my office hadn't picked up on the change. When I contacted them, they sent me on to Aberdeen to pick up another car and asked me to take that to Goole. I refused, as I would have been driving home after midnight, so I've got the car at home to take down next week. Then my boss phoned to say I've picked up a speeding ticket from a trip three weeks ago. So that'll be two of the buggers. My first ever but makes me thnk twice about driving as a job, as I don't want to pick up a ban, for someone elses benefit.
The other reason I didn't want to go down to Goole so late was that I was invited to one of my old colleagues retirement. Unfortunately I met Subversive Runner's pal Arthur. I hadn't made his aquaintance for a long time, at one time I did without him and his pals John and Ron for 5 years. Met a lot of old faces and picked up some gossip. Some of which I read in full on the front of todays soaraway Sun (Scottish edition). The Scottish Police Federation Chairman's son, also a cop, suspended for drug related activities....... very embarrassing.

Why do we have police? So firemen can have heroes!

So I set out for a ten miler with Jimmy Mc this morning. I don't know how some of you bloggers do it. Social events and running definitely don't mix in this runners legs! Got to about 5 miles when my breakfast decided to make an appearance, then came a blinding headache. Reduced to a walk and sent Jimmy on to finish his run. Thinks: "He'll get his car and come back for me," - NOT. Thanks Pal.

Runs this week were a six miler at the club on Tuesday, 5 mainly off road on Wednesday, then todays 10 or was it seven I ran? There was a lotta walking. Certainly not WHW material. Maybe more time next week as I have two days off and only one trip south at the moment. Certainly considering a change of job. Any offers considered.

Social night for the club at Bar51 tonight. Clubmate Steph stays at no 51, and he has a very socially designed, basement recreation area. He has invited the club along for a few shandies and a blether about plans for next year - and this winters training.
I'm taking the car! I might manage to run tomorrow.........

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Little to report

Just two runs since my last post. On Thursday I was working locally and managed to get home i time to head to the club. A few absentees fro the usual pack so Geraldine and I were given the task of taking some of Jim Robertson's group for a harder run. I've reported before on some of Jim's training group, which has been boosted by the emergence of some of the girls from JogScotland. Sadly one of the girls, Laura was just coming back from breaking her leg on the WHW at easter when she went over on her foot on a training run and has broken a bone! Lucky white heather?
Anyway,back to Thursday's run and we all set off together but six of us, Christine, Elaine, Karen and Sandra plus Geraldine and I pulled away from the others. We did six miles which extended them a wee bit as it was faster than they were used to, but all capable of training at that level, so it was a successful session. Geraldine off with Ali and Christine to Aviemore for the weekend, and they are running at the Pitlochry 10k on Sunday. Have a good one girls!
On Friday I was in Aberdeen, Inverurie and Portlethen dropping off cars, bringing a VW Golf home that is going to Leeds on Monday. I fell in love with Inverurie, a lovely wee place and even better for the Craigdon Mountain Sports shop! £43 lighter for a Berghaus fleece and - wait for it - a compass. And they've got a website at
Nice well stocked shop and nice people.
Today I intended to get a few miles in but ended up answering an SOS from my son who was playing football and had forgotten to take some carbs. He is diabetic so texted me to take some along. I ended up watching part of the game - well it was better than watching the dire first half of the Merseyside derby. Got out later for 8 miles discovering a wee trail in Helensburgh that took my up the hill behind Camis Eskan and through some fields - no electric fences- and back home via the A814. 5 miles on road 3 off road. Not fast but worth the effort for the view over the Clyde to Greenock and down the firth. Sometimes the rewards far outweigh the benefits!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Tuesday club run

Following Saturday's race I woke on Sunday very sore, and was delighted (not) when my sister-in-law, whose gym has closed for renovations, phoned and asked my advice about what to do if she went out running. She is a former member of JogScotland and as I am always extolling the virtues of running, found myself an hour later putting in a couple of miles with her. My reward of a cup of tea and a roast beef sarnie made it worthwhile. Back home in time to watch, Villa - West Brom Man U - Chelsea a bit of the Celtic Kilmarnock game and the entire days coverage of the Ryder Cup!!!
Couch potato or what? Net result was I fell out with my better half, got about 5 hours sleep before a 5.30 alarm and off to Edinburgh to pick up a Citroen to take to Goole. Unfortunately, some poor sod decided to end it all at Bellgrove and the train system went to pot. When I got back home at 9.30 pm after bringing a nippy wee Merc SLK to Glasgow, it was just to get some sleep before another 5.30 call and off to Invergordon.
I drove the scenic route home, the slightly shorter A82, but far nicer than the A9. Some low cloud on the tops but generally our countryside was as beautiful as ever. As I went through Glencoe I p[assed a guy running on the road, a bit iffy given the standard of driving today! I thought a couple of cars in a layby just in front of him looked to be providing support, so maybe he was on a JOG-LE and had to run on the road rather than the footpath. Still a bit dangerous.
The biggest trouble with Glencoe is that the radio signal more or less disappears and today it did so right at the moment Tom Morton was playing the sensational Alex Harvey band's Boston Tea Party. Thank God for the listen again button on the BBC website!

Total of 660 miles driving in two days and I'm off to Warrington in the morning to deliver the Peugot 107 I brought down from up north today. Can I put my driving miles in my training diary? I certainly feel as tired as I do when I've been running!

I was home just on 5pm, with just enough time to download tomorrows work, check routes and timetables, then get the gear on to head for a club run. To Arden Roundabout and back, scenic if a bit too out and backish, and boy was I bushed, felt really faint and no energy. Stress levels greatly reduced with easy run of 8 miles, only to be raised again when after my shower found my bag was towel-less! Micro fleeces do not make good substitutes.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Two Ferries Road Race

To Ardgour foe this race 10.8 miles along the shore road from Trislaig to Argour. Having run this race last year and as it's very much a Millie's day oot (thirteen members running), I was keen to see if, and hopefully, how much, better I could run. As last year's race was run in horrendous rain and with a strong wind in your face as you finished the last three miles or so, I thought it would be better this year. Still wet and windy but not quite as bad as last year and their was little actual rain by the time we started. I started my watch, but unfortunately when I checked it at mile one it had stopped at 2 seconds! World record in the bag. I started it again to see how the splits went and the second mile with a small hill was 7.48 and the next 7.24, the next time I checked was for the total time for the six miles to the 7 mile marker which was 46.16, not bad for me with a nasty hill from miles 5 to 6. Last year that hill killed me as I was trying to race some clubmates, so I took it a bit easier this year hoping to preserve energy for the second half of the race. Didn't work and by 8 miles the legs were showing signs of a lack of mileage the past few weeks. Not that I wasn't expecting that, so all I could do was keep going best I could, and hope for a decent time. When I finished, in 1.23.04, I was 3.31 faster than last year and fourth male vet 50.
Obviously the slightly better weather conditions were a factor and the decision to take the hills easier allowed me to pick up a fair bit of time, but I think fitness is a factor and my confidence has been given a wee boost.
Some fun and games from Millie members will no doubt be the subject of club banter. Not for me to reveal here, but as a wee taster I'll ask - What male member had a run good enough to qualify for third in the FEMALE over 50 category?
We also took home two of the prizes Geraldine taking third female vet 35 and Pat Burns third male vet 50. Two Milburn debutants also picked up a couple of bottles of wine for their efforts.
Karen and Sandra are two recruits from JogScotland who were attempting their longest race so far encouraged by Jim Robertson. Although finishing in their own good time, hey seem to have enjoyed the experience. The sight of Jim on the finishing line did inspire a sprint finish - to be the first to strangle him.
The bold Jim, by the way was a DNS as, after yesterdays WHW brewery trip where not a drop passed his lips, he spent the night at Chez Drummond and after a dozen drams, bed at 3am and a traffic delay when a car crashed at Strathyre he arrived too late to do anything but eat most of my Jelly Babies.

तवो फेरिएस रोड रस

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Club run and a new jacket

Completely ignoring the plug by Mike Mason for The North Face Diad, I bought myself a Montane Quickfire jacket from Footprints in Woodlands Road. New to me but will be back.
Tookit for a club run and it seems to do exactly what it says on the tin. Whilst always going to be wet inside as I sweat walking past a kebab shop, it was definitely breathing well as I remained at a lovely cool temperature throughout, probably because I didn't overload underneath wearing only a climalite t shirt. Nice easy 6 mile run with Pat Elaine and Garry, along the river dodging the flooding, through Baloch Park and back via Bonhill. Elaine had run 3.48 for Moray marathon during my hols so she was taking it easy (I hope) and thoroughly enjoyed her first marathon. It's hardly comparable, marathon's seldom are, but it's the first time for a long time that I've had a faster time for a distance than Elaine. (My 3.45 for London being a wee bit faster but that's only bragging rights I have over her as she is normally well ahead of me. I've no doubt Moray will be harder, as anytime I'm up there working I find it hard to find anywhere as flat as the FLM course.)
Running the Two Ferries on Saturday at FW and can't bottle this one as I'm the nominated driver, or so I was told tonight by Mrs MacReadie. We're meeting at 10am at the leisure centre so I'll at least get a long lie!
Ran this race last year, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the club stayed over on the Saturday night and we had a party in some poor soul's house till 3am. I think I'm fitter nthis year but whether the holiday layoff will affect my run we'll just have to see. One thing is for sure, the weather conditions promise to be exactly the same if not worse!!!

Monday, 15 September 2008


Hee Haw, Hee Haw, He Hawlways calls me donkey!
Old punchline fro an old joke but it applies right here to yours truly.
The story really starts before I went on holiday, just at that moment when her indoors looks you i the eye and says " How many pairs of shoes are going in your case this time?" So, as I couldn't find my Jesus sandals, I took 1 pair of old comfy Rockport slip ons, my current Mizuno Wave Rider trainers and my Salomon trail shoes to double as walking shoes and hopefully on some off road adventures. So, Rockports too loose and worn to be used for long walking and became pool shoes, trail shoes not worn too much as I didn't go off road and Mizunos became the shoe of choice for everything.
Fair enough, except wear orthotic insoles when running in them and normal insoles when not.
However I sem to have somehow put my orthotics in on top of the insoles at some point and wore them for walking, hence the sore calfs, achilles and toes I have been suffering for days. When did I find out? 1 and a 1/2 miles into my first training run when my arches were screaming for mercy. Stopped and took out the insoles and suddenly I'm running comfortably.
Hopefully no lasting damage, but how easy was it to make a simple mistake?
So only 3 and a half miles today, but, hey, every long journey starts with but one step.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Hoilday 2008 is Over!

Back in cold wet Cardross after two weeks of glorious sunshine. Not the best holiday I've had but that's probably due to age and changing tastes. However, Andrew swears it was his best hol yet, but that's a 22 year-old on a freebie for you! Although I started with good intentions and managed a few runs in thge first few days, heat and laziness took over and I only ran once last week, so the fact that I have niggle in my foot and calf are probably down to walking at Mairi's pace, i.e. very slow. Good food has made my trousers a wee bit tighter than before I left, but nothing like as bad as a few years ago when I went to Mauritius and returned a full stone heavier. No chocolate for the entire fortnight, other than on puddings and in the form of ice cream, probably helped keep the weight gain down.
I posted an invitation to run this morning on the club web site and was disappointed no-one else was up for it. So I just went home! I wasn't up for it and the idea of running without company didn't do it for me. I had a dog to collect from his holidays at my in-laws so I decided to wait till later before running if I was up for it, but so far I'm not! I'm entered at Stirling but don't think it is a good idea to race after two weeks of nothing, so I'll go with JR to Glen Loin near Arrochar for a bit of trail running, and as I've no work for Monday I will do another session AM and maybe try and get something else done later in the day. I don't have any other holidays until after the Fling in April which will give me a rest before the WHW race in June. Until then it's hard work throughout the winter.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Club Night a Visit to the Golf Club

Two good groups at the club with Jim Robertson leading his group and Steph, Geraldine, Big Ed and I heading off for a long run, accompanied by Rob for the first couple of miles whilst on his marathon prog.
My choice of run, so decided to do the run that Geraldine and I had done a couple of weeks ago but without going into Rossdhu and looping through the Carrick Golf club a couple of times. the first time that Steph and Ed had been on this run and they gave it a pass mark. Basically a road run with forestry type trails through the golf course. A steady if easy run of about 11 and a 1/2 miles in 1hr 42, looping back a couple of times to re group with a strong finishing couple of miles.
Last year during preparation for the London Marathon and/0r Highland Fling we did long runs of up to 14 miles at night and some of this was done on roads with no lighting. I suggested that we shouldn't be running tonight's run in the dark. I should shut up! Steph suggests that we should do it using head torches!!! Something about running the WHW race at night.
Car lights on when coming home from training, the lights are fair drawing in.