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.