Sunday, 28 June 2009

Misty Pentlands

Meant to do a long run in the Pentlands today but ran out of steam fairly early on. Conditions were amusing however. Not the hot sun we had thought. Not the risk of dehydration and burning! Rather a warm foggy soup to run through. Sweat wasn't evaporating at all presumably making it harder work.
Peter stopped to look at everything and anything along the way. I needed to keep chugging along as the energy cost of stopping and starting was too great.

Ran 12.8 miles in 2hrs 51 mins. Peter found a lizardy thing much to his delight. It had nice little claws. Too many niggles to enjoy this much but hopefully its miles in the bank/time spent on feet...

Sunday, 21 June 2009

The thrill of the 7 hills.

6th go at this perfect race and a new pb, hurray! It was the 1st time I'd done every single one of the "superhuman" manoeuvres. I did all but one last year - but this year I also went straight up the hill at Craiglockhart which I'd recced in 2004 and got in a tizzy as I slid horribly out of control back down the hill in a pile of dirt and leaf mould. This year all it needed was a bit of self-assertion - there were plenty of roots to stand on and pull up on if you looked for them. Also the fear sent a welcome rush of adrenaline around my system. Just the job.

I started to realise it was going well as I passed Challengers earlier than I have in previous years. I was able to run more of the ups than those around me. The hardest part was the stretches of road inbetween hills when I felt I should be running half-marathon pace but wasn't. There was quite a bit of swapping places going on which adds to the interest. Finally got ahead of Paul Eunson going over the wall at the Halls. (He steered clear for fear it would start his legs cramping.) Went past Judith Dobson on the way up Arthur's Seat by which time I was raving about all you've got to do is tell yourself you LOVE the heat and you LOVE the uphills. Judith drew even and passed again on the downhills but then took an ill-advised low route and I COULDN'T shout to her because I wasn't 100% sure the way I was going was faster - but it was and I got a 200 yd lead which I reckoned I could maintain. On the last climb up the lane that goes up to the foot of Calton Hill I was gaining on a brown back which turned out eventually to be Phyllis Mitchell. She held me off to the finish but only just and it kept me going chasing her. At the end my heart rate was 182 bpm which I think is pretty good patter. 4 beats off max. (What were you holding back for?). I'd had the Garmin on heart rate towards the end because I didn't want to hassle myself thinking about times so was delighted to see once I'd stopped that I'd run 2hrs 21 mins which is a 6 min. pb.

I was a little foolish for a while afterwards. When I went for the 7 hills quiche and apple pie I mysteriously lost my paper plate and had to get another one. Imagine my surprise quite a bit later to find I'd wedged it under my arm and then forgotten it was there.

Its always bliss sitting on the grass in the sunshine post-7 hills swapping stories with fellow Porties.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Club Soda

Getting back into going to club sessions on a Wednesday night. Last night at Gordon's group was "Follow the Leader". Ten people turned up so 10 X approx 3 min efforts round and about the tracks and trails up Arthur's Seat with a breather inbetween, each person taking turns leading the group over the terrain of their choice. Too many people thought it would be a good idea to just go straight up the steepest bit! Quadriceps nearly packed up. Inspired we went home the long way, which was an effort because by then I could barely lift my feet. I had a furious thirst and all the way home was fantasising about long fizzy drinks with ice-cubes. Hence the photos. Robinson's apple and blackcurrant with fizzy water and ice. Bliss.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Beltane 10K

Sigh. Only really blogging about this because I want to move on from my last post Turdo. This was a good race. Never done it before. I'd missed some sleep here and there and been quite busy so it wasn't a big surprise that I was somewhat sluggish. Also not been doing Bert's sessions so probably not doing enough speed work. Also a bit fat. Also a bit dehydrated. So I turned out a ho-hum performance which cost me dear in terms of effort. I made a good 1st mile. 7 min mile pace. "Maybe I can keep this up!" I thought - next mile 7.55, then I got my puff back a wee bit, - 7.43, then a few nearer 7.30 pace - even though it was downhill. Oh well. Tried as hard as I could. 45m49s pace.

I enjoyed it once it was over and enjoyed the enormous Porty presence.

7 Hills this weekend...

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


I'm sorry about this story but I have to tell it. When we got back from our weekend's adventures on Sunday evening we spyed something in the stairwell of the tenement building where our flat is and first of all, because we were in denial, we thought that someone had spilled a bag of mud down the wall and onto the floor. Spilled a bag of mud on the floor and then put toilet paper on top of it? We came to our senses and realised that what we had seen was a massive big human turd that someone had kindly left in our stairwell.
It is now Tuesday and nobody else has tackled it so I think I'm going to but I still feel like vomiting from the weekend. I just want to say, why in hell did someone have to do their massive big turd in our stairwell? A greedy bastard too by the look of things. Thanks for listening.
p.s. I'd call the police but I don't think they'd come.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Yetholm hill race

Busy weekend so not the best race prep. Jane and Jim were getting married and Peter was doing the photos so he was going down to Cumbria on the Thursday night. I had work on Friday but managed to get away early on Friday so I set off at 2.30pm to get down there. My last text from Peter was "Its cold so wear warm clothes" and I couldn't ring him as he was in one of the many communication blackspots in the lakes. I ditched my last ideas of trying to get dressed up for the wedding assuming we'd be out in some field somewhere and made sure I had a duvet jacket along.

A fairly full on 3hrs of driving found me taking a completely needless extra journey through rush hour Penrith only to arrive back out at the roundabout I'd originally left to go into Penrith. I got my bearings then and followed instructions to go to somewhere in Morland, which turned out to be the wedding party's afternoon do which I was kind of gate-crashing having left straight from work.

I could have banged Phil and Peter's heads together for putting me in this situation when someone asked my why I wasn't dressed up. Because I was told not to and didn't know what I was arriving at.

There was nothing to do but drink wine and abandon the car for the evening and just get on with it. I took the line of dancing as much as I could cos I was tired and if I sat down wanted to go to bed - not an option. A bus finally arrived at nearly 1 am and we got a lift up country lanes in a van back to Phil's house.

I thought I'd been fairly careful drinking but I'd had a minimum to eat and after initially sleeping because I was so tired I woke up with a sore head of growing proportions. I tried having a big drink of water to rehydrate while I slept but this proved too much for my empty and growling stomach and I ended up having to get up to vomit as my head banged ever harder. It was a miserable start to the weekend. I eventually got enough fluids into me and some paracetamols and started to sleep the whole thing off.

In the meantime Peter had gone out and the others in the house, not realising I was still in bed had locked me in. When I got up at about 1 pm and wandered downstairs in Phil's house I realised after I'd burned some toast and tried to open the door to let the smell out that I was locked in.

I didn't know the way to anywhere because I didn't know where I was. It all took careful figuring out with a delicate head. After some cups of tea I found some maps and even used the compass I'd brought in my hill racing kit to figure out where North was and thus how to orientate the map. (This could be the first time I've used my racing navigation kit at all.)

Eventually someone arrived back and I went and rescued my car and we had quite a nice and alcohol free evening. The next day since we were driving back up country we thought we'd revisit Yetholm hill race which we did last year in a very wet blanket of low cloud. It was raining when we set off but as we drove up North and then East the sun came out and it was with relief we arrived at the race start in plenty of time and with reasonably bright weather.

I suffered throughout the race with a terrible thirst so was clearly still dehydrated from earlier in the weekend but it was nice to be out running in the hills. I thought I made a reasonable job of the race (there are a couple or three of really stiff climbs but also some very runnable sections on nice short grass on rolling hills in the middle) and was disappointed and puzzled to be slower than last year when I took an unintentional detour and covered 8.2 instead of this year's 7.68 miles. However it was good enough for 2nd lady and 1st lady vet as only 4 ladies turned up for this race! Looking at the race listings on Scottish Hill Runners and Scottish Athletics this looked like it was the busiest race day of the year and so ideal for a spot of pot-hunting. I didn't get a pot but I got the glory of a mention and a bottle of wine; just what I needed!

For those who don't know Yetholm is a nice runnable non-rocky, non-frightening hill race in the borders just past Kirk Yetholm of about 7 miles and one of Graham Henry's favourites. It was Graham that particularly recommended it to me, knowing what I liked in a hill race. Even most of the downhills are at an easyish pitch so I could keep running smoothly despite a slightly dodgy knee.

Monday, 1 June 2009


Its hard to know how to illustrate a hot run without taking the camera out so forgive my mugging. That was supposed to be before and after. And gone are the days of my taking the camera out as I am now a serious marathoner again. Gone are the days of dawdling for ultramarathon training.

Watching the Edinburgh Marathon brought successive waves of needing to do some hard training and improving on my 3.28 marathon best, so I signed up for the Loch Ness marathon last night. Today I thought I better get out a longer run as its been a few weeks (and lbs are creeping on -shhh!) My plan was to start off steady and then to increase the intensity later in the run. This was the strategy I used for my long runs for the 2008 Edinburgh Marathon and which finally got me under the 3:30 mark.

Unfortunately it was hotter than hell out there and I started off slow and then slowed down! Lost 5 lbs though, nothing like going out in the heat for distilling yourself. I know it doesn't count but it was pleasing anyway. I have now rehydrated with diet Irn Bru and tea.

Being out there today gave me new respect for yesterday's marathoners. Idling around on my bike in a self-made head-wind yesterday I felt rather detached from the suffering before me but today I think I got it as things started to slide around in front of my eyes and my legs ached in the latter part of the run.

Looking at the results today it looks like the race benefited the quicker runners (scandalous) with some very good times from local ladies Toni MacIntosh (2.47?) and Jenny MacLean (2.52?). It always seems unfair that the slower runners ALSO get the hotter sun etc. (Those cruel elites.)

Quite a few Porties ran a good bit slower than they would probably expect to and today must be suffering sunburn, tired legs and disappointment. I am very sorry. Even if you are in my category for the club championship. Lets all go and kick ass at the Baxter's Loch Ness Marathon.

Neither Peter and I could think of a suitable comment as in horror we read Stuart Hay of Dunbar's account of setting out in good form and then decking out just after 4 miles only to continue and finish the marathon bruised, bleeding but unbroken. Its the drama that makes the marathon I guess. It takes such a lot of hard work and ambition and then something small (or big - like the sun!) can come along and kick your ass and take away your prize, and then you have to recover before you can even try again...Lets hope for a favourable wind at Loch Ness...

Anyway, despite all my good intentions, my longish run was surprisingly similar in pace to my recent "easy" long runs for ultra running. 15.2 miles in 2 hrs 20 mins. 9.16 average pace. Weather = Scorchio. avHR 150bpm