Sunday, 27 July 2008

Short Run Sunday

A long lie this morning, missing JR's Sunday session, as I am pretty knackered with all the driving. Especially being on the A9 which was a nightmare both days, and that fatal accident (4 dead including a 2 yr old) really brings home just how bad a road it is. I was on it last month too the day after 2 died at Pitlochry and the signs appealing for witnesses are still out.
Spent the afternoon watching the final stage of the Tour de France and getting my paperwork done to take with me to Goole tomorrow. I've got a Beemer to pick up and drive down there tomorrow, although I don't know what I'm driving back up.
I finally got out for a run at 7.10pm and scooted into Dumbarton, just over 3 miles to Renton Rd, then after a quick chat to a couple of pals who were waiting at the lights, ran straight back. Taking the flat first mile to warm up, my outward run was 8.55 8.21(long steady climb for about 1/2 to 3/4 of the mile) 8.16 and a wee bit extra to take 26.19 for the run out. Reversing the run the miles went 8.05 7.30 and 7.41 with the return taking 24.08. Felt good but it's still very warm and I don't really do heat when I'm running.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Name Change

As the sharp eyed among you may have spotted, I've dropped the "and coaches" from the Blog title. I've stopped coaching the young athletes at West Dunbartonshire. It was mainly down to lack of time to commit to coaching 2 nights a week and to attending meetings, both committee and competition. I want to concentrate my time on the ultra training and I have less of that through work, especially considering the travelling involved. I'll miss it and don't discount returning when my running isn't taking up so much time or I win the lottery and buy my own athletics stadium and all weather track for their benefit! My JogScotland sessions work in well with the Ultra training so that's safe within the limits of work!
Talking of work, it's funny how things work out. Since my last post I've been to Girvan, and Inverness to pick cars up. Girvan on Thursday meant I got back to run with the club, although, of 6 members who turned out, one went on his own rather than run with the faster guys,(?) one was nursing an injury and two went for hills which didn't suit me as I had run the Whinney hill on Tuesday and did some hills on Wednesday. That left me and Rob and I to do a 6 miler on the cycle path along the Leven to Carberry's yard and back to the club through Renton. I started off running with Gary, but he was only doing a short run due to knee problems, so after dispensing my usual knee exercises caught up with Rob who had plugged on ahead. The pace was pretty brisk as Rob usually trains hard as, although he is training for Berlin in September, he only does three sessions a week, so runs hard on club nights and does his long run on Sunday. 6miles in about 46minutes, before slowing for a warmdown, when we met Elaine and her partner Jim so stopped for a blether!
On Friday I had to go to Inverness to pick up a rather dirty Astra, and took the opportunity to drop in on an aunt who stays there, missing my uncle who was at work. Although I hadn't seen them since my neice's wedding ten years ago I get all their news through my mother, and I got to see their holiday photos from their med cruise. They had their daughter and son-in-law and their two kids with them, so got to catch up on their activities. After only a short time to visit I had to leave promising to call in again soon. My next move was to impact on my weekend running!
Stopped in Newtonmore for diesel, paying by bank card. Drove the car to Glasgow and went to get my train home, only then realising that I had left my card in the garage card processor. I wasn't planning on running on Friday, as I don't want to step up to training 6 days a week yet and if I ran Friday and did runs at the weekend I would have run 6 days since Monday's rest day. So, knowing I was going to have to go back to Newtonmore today to pick the card up, as I need it on Monday, I had a quick look on the net and saw there was a good trail round the village.I took my trail shoes and a change of clothing. Did 5 miles in 46 minutes (recovery pace) and although the trail is good I didn't do it justice. There is a stiff climb from the village church where I parked to the start of the trail (known as the Wildcat). There-after it follows a landrover track along the hill above the village before following a burn down to the Kingussie Road, which is crossed and then descends to the river Spey and the golf course. At this point I reckoned the runing tights and long sleeved tech I was wearing were a bit to much for the 25 degree heat, (despite the heavy cloud cover). I was drinking water like a fish and felt very flat. I called it a day and took the path back to Newtonmore, got changed and had a cup of tea and bacon roll. On the drive back down, I realised my hamstrings were aching and that they had been prior to starting the run. Driving three hours there and back as well as all the driving I do at work is not good preparation for any run! I am usually quite careful with my car seat position as I think it's responsible for an awful lot of injuries. But nothing I do stops the leg going numb when on long trips. I've thought of taking my training gear with me on long trips so I can get some in during my break, but given the way my legs feel when driving I wonder if it is a good idea. I certainly remember Barry Ferguson having a long term hamstring problem which was fixed by his physio changing his car seat position. Got home in time to see the end of Barcelona and Dundee Utd. Or men v boys.

Mairi had taken our sister in law and nephews to Loudon Castle for the day but had suggested we go out tonight. However, she phoned a wee while ago asking if she should bring in something for tea, so I think she is on plan B. Feel like a curry but that's not a good idea if I'm going for a long run tomorrow so I'll end this and think about what to have......

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

JogScotland night.... a little off the programme

A little bit about my involvement in JogScotland; I attended the second Jogleaders course at Linwood about 6 1/2 years ago after being shanghaied by Christina Boxer. At the course I met a certain Jim Robertson who was intending setting up a group in Alexandria. I eventually found myself leading a group on the first night of the Alexandria Wednesday night group, part of the West Dunbartonshire Sports Development Jogscotland section. I've been there ever since, and as a result have been a member of Milburn Harriers for about 4 years. However since starting my latest job, I've found it hard to get my running in but as I only work 4 days I decided to take every 2nd Wednesday off and take the alternating Tuesdays off so I can get to Millies training at least once a fortnight. As I'm not always away late I can sometimes get to training on the alternating weeks too. Tonight was one of the"extra" nights as I had been off on Tuesday but only had local jobs today. I knew plan B would have to be an option as I've found the ladies struggle in the heat and at 22 degrees C today I was quickly reminded that they weren't up to an hours hard running. So we set off at a slow jog, but as a quid pro quo told them I would be working some hills into the route. What transpired was a bit of Fartlek with the efforts on a few hills in Bonhill and a final one the long climb up from the "Magic Roundabout" onto Main Street Alexandria. A wee bonus was that I could let them run on and then follow behind at a fair pace so I took some benefit from the session other than getting to run slow. We spent exactly an hour on the road and I was very pleasantly surprised at how well I was running during the efforts, without overdoing it!
I also got a chance to catch up on the news of one of the West Dunbartonshire athletes, whose mother runs with us on Wednesdays. Jade had been down at the British Schools running in the 4 x 300m relay. Her first representative vest (for Scottish Schools) and she seems to have had a great experience and I am sure she will have many more.

On the way home I stopped in at Asda for milk but ended up treating myself to Raspberries and cream which I have just enjoyed with a dollop of ice cream! see running.... see getting to eat well...
By the way since starting training for trails and stuff, I've lost half a stone (sorry debs). I put a stone on when I went holiday daft after retiring from the polis and never got it off. I've struggled to run as fast as I was pre-retirement so perhaps faster times may follow........ not that I'm bothered now. It's distance not speed I'm chasing now!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Whinney Hill

Club night tonight and only Steph up for a run up Whinney Hill. Or whiney hill?The others opting for 5 miles or intervals with JR, star of the other local papers coverage this week. Steph and I were following the route of one of the club cross country races, one that I have yet to run in due to my previous hatred of all things cross country, but from the club it turns into a long test of 8.8 miles according to Garmin or 9.5 by G-map. It starts with just under 3 miles of road and path before hitting a well used but rough trail. I was setting a fairly brisk pace, one that was too brisk as I suffered badly on the trail after we crossed the Boturich Road and hit the steeper part, being reduced to a walk by screaming quads. A breather was called for at the top reached in 46 minutes and then we hit the return ,mainly downhill but what is probably the part I have most difficulty with as it is difficult to find footfalls when running down. No doubt I'll improve with practice, but when running with Steph I feel as if I'm walking. Back to the club via Balloch station and Argylle park so not quite as far on the return. Very slow return at that.
URL for this route is:

A short working day tomorrow with just one car to be picked up and delivered in Glasgow so I'll make jogscotland for an easy run tomorrow night. Might try a swim or a cycle in the afternoon.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Sunday Coming Down (hills)

Milburn message board showed JR heading out for a 2 hr run this morning at 8 so I decided to join him and his entourage for a slow run. We quickly split into two groups after about half a mile with Jim, Christine and Elaine falling behind Linda, Marion and I. When we left the leisure centre the idea was to do the Horseshoe which, after the first two miles is a hilly and twisty run in the farmland between the Vale of Leven and Gartocharn. It is the course for the club's Horseshoe race in October and I've only managed the race once running about 81 minutes if my memory serves me right. Today however was aimed at running it as slowly as I could and, as the girls would normally be a lot slower, (Linda reckons she is a 2hrs 20 half marathon - I think she does herself an injustice) it was my aim to stay with them. That plan worked for the first half of the run, but at that point I started to get some warning signals. I don't normally have gastro-intestinal problems, but I rather over slept and was unable to have my normal preparations, if you catch my drift. At about 6 miles it was evident I had a pressing need and ran on to try and get back to the town. Suffice to say I learnt another WHW lesson! I took 1hr 50 for the run so I succeeded in that respect too. However as I had to run back hard,(mainly downhill) my quads took a bit of a hammering. Again, they will benefit from the experience as long as they properly get rested. Link for this run at

Three cars to move tomorrow but all pretty local, Glasgow and Renfrew,so I might get a run tomorrow night. I will be going to Goole, or so I have been advised, sometime this week as I have a company phone to pick up. Hope it's got a decent network coverage as my 3mobile's is crap.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Three Miles in a Porsche, 8 on a 4 x 4 trail

Just as I thought, I was an expensive escort for the Porsche, getting to drive about a mile and a half on either side of a rather tedious ferry trip. Absolutely no chance of a run, although Shetland looks like a place I could run forever on. It's a beautiful place; photos taken to remind me and as a tourist brochure to convince Mairi it's the place to go.
View photos at

I got 4 hours on the island all spent getting to the airport for the flight home. The ferry trip was a bit of a nightmare. 14 hours sharing a cabin with a stranger and with a berth above the engine room which droned all through the night. Not a lot of sleep then. Missed the "Ted Baker" Pappert Well race too! A good turn out of 18 runners including 8 guests.
First run for me was today and I made the mistake of following JR's directions to Ben Bouie. I knew where he was sending me, I could see it on G=maps but the path is impenetrable and bears little resemblance to the sat pic and Jim's description. Where I should have turned left to go to the summit waqs completely overgrown and I set off to the other side before running out of options other than get down on my knees and crawling under the trees. Eventually, having almost lost my trainers on a few occasions, I found the forest road and some good news..... they're chopping the trees down so there might be progress on some decent trails. I turned back down towards Blackthird Farm and Darleith Rd to home. About 7.8 miles (or 8 in my diary) It was actually a very enjoyable run once I found the path and a great (slow) climb to the top to start off.
is the route reference.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Work Interfering.........

I work as a driver picking up end of lease and termination vehicles and delivering them to auctions or alternatively, but rarely, delivering new cars to customers. This week I was in Stranraer picking up a car and after doing another shorter trip in the afternoon managed to get a quick 6-7 miles in. Then to bed as in the morning I took the 6.15 to Edinburgh then drove to Goole where my company is based to drop a car that was going further south, and I was supposed to bring up another car to an auction up here. However, on arrival, I was told to deliver a new Merc C class estate (tourer?)to Ayr. Got home at 11pm and went straight to bed. Off today and Mairi asked me to do a wee job for her, and then I went to JJB to see what their closing down sale would do for me. £60 lighter (shorts, tech tee and holdall), I came home to get ready for Jog Scotland. Tomorrow night is our club Pappert Well hill race, about 6 miles on the hill behind Bonhill. I was looking forward to it (honest!) but I've got to go to Aberdeen to pick up ..... wait for it..... a Porsche 911 to take to............... wait again .......... Shetland. That's an overnight ferry and I fly back at lunchtime on Friday. What a terrible job I have - but somebody has to do it! Anyway, mileage is suffering so I'll need to watch I don't try to do too much at the weekend. I'll take my gear and if I get a chance I'll try and get a quick one in whilst waiting on the ferry, plane or whatever. No sign of exercise equipment on the ferry, so that rules a treadmill out!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Conic Hill..... twice!

Set off from the Vale, fair thinking Geraldine had said she wanted to run from Balmaha to Rowardennan, or a bit further, then return by the same route to get a 20miler in. Steph was driving and the first I knew the plan had changed was when we turned into the dead end at Drymen. Oh no, I thought not Milngavie and back. No Cashel and back! The Conic hill........Twice! Off we went with a steady pace to the foot of the Conic where common sense prevailed and we walked most of the uphill stretch, pausing for some photos at the top, before setting off down the hill, me leading but soon passed by Steph whose speed on the downhill gives me the heebie jeebies. Will I ever get that fast? Thought the grassy paths looked a better bet than the boulder strewn path. I shouldn't think! Next thing I'm sliding down on my archie. No witnesses as Steph is in front and Geraldine a good bit behind. The evidence supported my claims, mud and blood on my shorts and new Tech tee. Paused at the stile to reform the group then set off again into Balmaha and then onto the lochside. Still going good licks but becoming a bit more circumspect on the uphills. I'm learning already.
Turned at Cashel, but not before deciding that Geraldine's Lucozade bars and my Fairtrade Geo bars taste different somehow........ and not for the better. Slower run back and not looking forward to Conic the second time. The Way is busy by now and I'm getting a bit annoyed by the happy shiny faces saying hello every 50 yards. Remembered Debbie's rant about people not saying hello and acknowledged every one. Geraldine's cheery "Good Morning" was corrected at 1205. Got to the top and Steph again took off. We saw another runner heading for the summit of Conic (what a pity the Way doesn't go all the way to the top - not.) He passed on the way down and I had a few words with him and as he ran away towards Drymen he got another word as I fell headlong down the path. More blood, bruises and a bad word. He heard, and, gent that he is, stopped to inquire after my health. I was fine....... more hurt pride than hurt patella. By this time I'm looking for the finish but Mr Garmin seems to be taking his time ticking off the miles, but eventually we reach the bottom, and set off through the forest towards Drymen. Passed by a middle-aged couple who enquire if this is the way to Conic Hill.......... are they serious? Just out for a stroll and don't have a scooby where they are! Demolish a litre and a half of Ribena at the car and come home for a long cool bath and a comfy seat for the golf. Might give JR's run up Pappert Well a miss tomorrow. Thats 44 miles for the week, the first decent mileage for a while and it will suffice. Mile times for this run show a bit of a change from my normal. Fastest was the last at 10.24 slowest was 26.00 on the climb up Conic on the return. Compared to 16.23 for the mile climbing the first time. Steepness had a lot to do with it! Generally popping them off at 12 - 13 minutes on the flat sections. 4hrs 38. Learned a lot, including how not to refill my Camelbak. No water for last 7 miles!

Friday, 11 July 2008

Hilly club run on Thursday

Met as usual and split into two groups and eventually into three with JR taking Chris, Christine and Ali clockwise round the Lions gate By pass bridge run, Steph geraldine and I going anti clockwise although I thought it was via Dumbarton and Rob, Stevie and Elaine going with us as far as the bypass bridge but coming straight back along the cycle track. Follow that> OK then when we three got to Lions Gate and stopping for a natter with JR's group (honestly you would have thought we hadn't seen them for years never mind 35 minutes!)Steph suggested running round Braehead and Pappert. Hills! I have been told that as I train for the ultras I'll have to start running slower to learn the technique of runing all the miles but I can't sem to get the knack of doing that. Eventually I used the downhill stretch from Braehead down to the Bonhill Bridge to practice runing down hill! Hammered it back to the club before a wee cool down jog then turned back to lok for the other two. They weren't that far away! I honestly thought Steph had slipped onto the hill path at he back of Pappert to get of road as they suddenly disappeared fro my heels. I ran hard so I wouldn't get left behind only to find they had just let me go. Anyway arrangements were made for a foray onto the WHW on Saturday. Geraldine has bravely decided to run the Strathaven 50miler in August two weeks prior to runing the Moray marathon. Good luck pal! She ran the Fling after running London and did the Corryarrich last weekend, so she has the miles in. The least we can do is run her long runs with her! 8am Saturday at Vale Leisure Centre if anyone else wants to join us!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Club run

Turned up early and thought I was on my own tonight, but eventually a fair turnout, each with his or her own agenda. Jim Robertson,(remember him?) Ali and Christine had all done the Corryayrich Challenge at the weekend and bravely turned out for a recovery run.Chris and Elaine joined them. Rob (on a marathon schedule) went off with Pat and Steph and I settled in for an easy run....... We decided though, to follow Rob and Pat and that took us to Balloch Park, up the hill at the far end, out the north gate to Balagan and back through Jamestown finishing with the run up behind Davie Grahams garage. About 61 minutes and felt quite good despite tired legs from yesterday's off road run. Not a route to take on a recovery run!

Succouth Trail run

A few steady runs last week, and on Monday 7th July I decided to start some off road trail running and set off for Succouth where I ran on the forestry trails to the foot of Ben Vorlich returning by a footpath that was a lot shorter than the "out" run. The run starts at the car park at the top of Loch Long then turns back towards Ardgarten before turning north again. After an initial flat run through the village, the track starts to climb out of the village, and it isn't too long before the heart starts pumping hard. Spectacular views all round, until the forest closes in, but still a great place to run. Respect to the guys who ran the Arrochar Alps race the other week. I get vertigo looking at the course. I'm glad to merely be running around the base of the mountains. The descent to the Inveruglas road has me braking hard, with loose stones and boulders making it difficult to pick a footfall. Then about 1/4 mile along the road to the Glen Loin footpath which takes a lower, more direct route back to Arrochar, albeit undulating.
This initial phase of training is based mainly at getting used to running a) in trail shoes and b) I have a past history of serious knee injuries, that were basically overuse injuries. An MRI showed I only had osteo-arthritis "commensurate with my age" (whatever that is meant to mean!) and since being told that I have tried to be sensible in my training. Previously I would be coaching and training with juniors and trying to race them! Now I realise that over-training on this new surface and, with my stated hatred of running downhill, gravity versus being a fat git, I'll have to be careful not to overdo it. So it's run-walk, run slowly, and learn to run down the hills in a safe but economical way. About 2 hrs 10 minutes in total but a lot of walking in 10.3 miles.