The Deer Runner

The Deer Runner

Sunday, 26 February 2012

6th week done

I went to the coast on Saturday. Pennan was unusually quiet, devoid of tourists so parking was no problem. The 4.5 mile trail to New Aberdour beach does not follow the coast but heads inland over farmland and tracks. From the car park I ran along the seafront past the famous phone box. At the far end the track goes uphill and through a large field. It's well signposted from here, crossing a couple of stiles and passing through some gates. Its quite scenic running through the rolling countryside and there was not another person to be seen. New Aberdour beach is also quiet, only one camper van and a few cars. This is a busy camping destination during the summer. I pass the car park and run to red sandstone arches carved by the sea, this is where the trail ends but I need to do more miles. Through another field I head inland and join a single track road which heads toward Fraserburgh. This road is like a roller coaster which is good hill work during this outing. Aware I am road running with trail shoes, I turn round after a couple of miles and retrace my steps taking in some hill work on the sand dunes on the way back.

Another heavy Saturday night out, a four mile family walk and a bar supper at the Red Garth meant a stodgy 8 mile run had to be squeezed in tonight.
No music this week but I have started to listen to the excellent WHW podcasts.
SAT 12 miles  SUN 8 miles  Weekly Total 36 miles.

Thursday, 23 February 2012


An easy week, 5 mile runs during the week for recovery. Doesn't feel like it. Back to the local roads on Tuesday morning and it was thick fog. I read somewhere you are not supposed to run in fog and can't remember why, but I ran anyway. Wednesday morning was a struggle to get up, left it as late as possible and then struggled to catch up with the rest of the day. Roll on spring, I need some daylight.

The Mrs fired a warning shot last night, conversation went -
Mrs - Doing your physio exercises?
Me - Nah.
Mrs - Why not?
Me - Can't find the time (as I sat on the laptop reading whw blogs).
Mrs - You've entered the biggest race of your life and your not doing your physio exercises?
I started doing physio exercises again.

Tonight I ran in Kirkhill Forest straight after work. A late finish meant my workmate could not make it so I ran alone. I decided to break in my recently purchased Hoka Mafate shoes as I was only running six miles. I was a wee bit apprehensive negotiating the muddy tracks with such thick soles as I have went over my ankle a couple of times here. No such worries though, they performed rather well considering the track was only lit by my one candle power head torch. The down side is they are a bit too small, so future purchases will have to be half a size bigger than my size nine.

Tues 5.27 miles 48.50  Wed 5.30 miles  Thurs 6.01 miles 1.00.36


Sunday, 19 February 2012

5th week done

Donner kebab, chicken fried rice, fish and chips, cheeseburger, pizza, fried chicken, curry. No, not my ultra diet for the week although I do like to indulge in some of the above now and again. These were the collection of scents experienced on Friday nights urban run. I started straight after work in Dyce, my only sustenance being a banana. I arranged to meet my brother at his flat which was 3 miles into the run. He intended running an hour or so but ended up doing over 11 miles on only his third outing of the year, so well done to him. A short delay at his flat as I forgot how to take long exposures on the Canon camera, google to the rescue once more. It was a chilly evening and we decided to run to the beach, take some shots and return. Having someone to chat to made the run fly by and before we knew it we were on the promenade. Messing around with the camera added time to the run and I was aware how cold it was when we stopped to take a snap. A couple of shots, Aberdeen bay and the harbour tower...

The return leg went by quickly, I had 4 miles to do after getting back to the flat and leaving my brother. I ran round the outskirts of Dyce to make up the milage although the lack of food made it a slow jog. This was fixed by my wife who had a lovely pasta dish waiting when I returned home, spoiled or what?
Although I did not use my mp3 player this week there is a song stuck in my head from a previous run.
A more upbeat tune this time, "Help I'm Alive" by Metric.
FRI 18.30 miles 3.42.52  SAT 8 miles  Weekly total 45 miles.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Kirkhill Forest

I did the usual road running early on Tuesday and Wednesday morning so it was good to get a change of scenery this evening. Kirkhill Forest is on the outskirts of Aberdeen and described as the green lung of the city. The trails are used by cyclists, walkers and horse riders, it also has an orienteering course. I can run to the forest from work in 15 minutes which makes it a handy training ground. I run this course with a workmate who is a good pacemaker, making it a quicker run than if I was on my own. I need to invest in a decent head torch as my cheap one is just not up to the task of lighting up muddy offroad trails.

Work commitments and another Saturday night out means shifting the training programme. I will do 18 miles in Aberdeen tomorrow night straight after work. I'm looking forward to this urban run and intend taking my compact camera and Gorilla tripod to get some night shots.

Tues 5.25 miles 48.35  Wed 8.33 miles 1.17.09  Thurs 6.05 miles 58.41

Sunday, 12 February 2012

4th week done

The Gordon Way is 11.5 miles long starting at The Bennachie Centre and ending at Suie Car Park. My milage today is 17 miles so I plan to run out for about 8.5 miles and return, I'll leave the full run for later in my training programme. I drive to the trail listening to the bad news about Whitney Houston and for some reason don't feel 100 percent. I'm no stranger to the Bennachie hill range and have crossed the Gordon Way path on many runs but today is the first time I will follow it. The lower slopes are popular with dog walkers and quite a few runners are returning as I make my way up. These runners have a lack of mud on their shoes and are not carrying fluids so they have not been where I am heading. It takes me a while to get into stride and two miles later I have cleared the forest find myself alone on the hills. The view from here to the snow peaked mountains of Lochnagar is spectacular. To the left of me is the Don valley and a hidden gem known as The Lords Throat where I had the pleasure of staying back in the 1990's. The fields are bright green either side of the blue river Don and to me this place is just as beautiful as Deeside.

The path narrows to a muddy rut, filled with ice covered puddles. I am first on this section as all the ice is intact. I do my best to avoid getting my feet wet as there is a long way to go and I don't want blisters. On the way back I will run straight through the mud and puddles. I cross a stile and somehow take a wrong turn. I know this due to the lack of trail markers but I'm not too bothered as I will come accross the trail again. I decend from the hill and run along a forest track passing a couple of elevated platforms where I come to the conclusion they must be shooting platforms. I pick up the trail again and decend into a meadow which is warmed by the sun, it feels like summer. I eventually reach a stile and the trail stops here on the edge of a fast country road. The trail must continue after the road but I'm not sure if its left or right. I don't want to do road running and have no hi viz so decide this is the point to turn back despite only being 7 miles in.

I decide to make the miles up to 17 back at the car park and scoff a banana on the way up hill. On the return leg frozen puddles have been melted by the sun and softened the trail to mush, it feels like running on soft sand. This takes extra effort and I begin to wish I'd taken more than just a banana as my energy is depleted. My hamstrings also suffer with the soft ground but soon its downhill all the way back to the car park. I reach the car park after 14 miles and despite my mind saying that will do, I force myself to do the extra 3 miles on the lower slopes of Bennachie.

Four weeks in and happy to be here, although todays run proves I must do most of my long runs on the hills. Mp3 of the week? It has to be "Run" by Leona Lewis.

Sat 8.23 miles 1.14.32  Sun 16.97 miles 3.24.28  Weekly total 41 miles.


Thursday, 9 February 2012


The voucher sat on my works desk for a couple of weeks. Bought and e-mailed through from my wife, she knew what I needed to do and kept advising me to use it. She was probably fed up listening to me moaning and complaining about injury. I was stubborn and made excuses not to book an appointment, although the voucher was only valid during work hours making it difficult to attend.

So I had my first ever physio appointment on Tuesday morning. ASIC have a room at Bannatynes Bridge of Don where I was assessed. Although my leg had improved a lot, I wanted to know what was causing the problems. Tight hamstrings, a tight IT band and a clicking knee cap were diagnosed after a thorough examination. I now have exercises to do three times a day, don't know how I will fit that around my running schedule.

I did not get up early for the 8 miles on Wednesday, so it had to be an evening run. I went in past Haddo Estate on the way home from work were the car park was deserted. I had the whole estate to myself which is how I like it. The run was very eerie, bare frosty branches reaching into the glow of my head torch as owls called to each other in the still of the night. On more than one occasion eyes reflected back from the woods, watching as I tried to identify what kind of animal they were. For some reason my pace seemed to be a bit quicker on this run.
Tues 4 miles 38.14  Wed 8.09 miles 1.17.33  Thurs 4 miles

Sunday, 5 February 2012

3rd week done

Needless to say, a night out knocking back drams does not go hand in hand with training the next day. Seven miles were on the cards today so I arranged to meet my youngest brother for the run. He will play a part in supporting me at the whw so this was his first run of the year. Feeling a bit groggy, I was glad we were running / walking at a slow pace. Part of our run took in the riverside path between Grandholm and Persley Bridge, the trail alongside the Don is one of my favourite city routes.

What a difference a day makes, today was beautiful and mild, yesterday I did two laps of my usual country roads in horizontal sleet. I splashed out on a few i tunes songs before heading out with my mp3 player, one of which is the brilliant "Foolish Games" by Jewel. The emotion she puts accross in this song is incredible, especially when listened through ear phones.
SAT 11 miles SUN 7 miles  Weekly total 33 miles.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Down but not out

After a great run on Sunday, pain started on the Monday evening. An ache which began in the calf continued up into my hamstring. I lost sleep as the pain kept me awake, the night seemed to drag on as I checked my watch every half hour or so. By three o'clock I'd had enough and got up, switched on the laptop and boiled the kettle. At that point I thought my plans were in tatters. I would have to say goodbye to the D33 / Highland Fling or Cateran and withdraw from the WHW. Funny how negative thoughts creep in at that time of morning. I got a portable vibration plate as a Christmas present, so there I was eating breakfast, drinking tea with my leg on the plate. I sat in the kitchen for the next couple of hours. At five o'clock it was too late to go back to bed and too early to go to work. It was at this point I decided to go for a run, mad mad mad I know but I was fed up and due a 4 mile run anyway. I did a fairly painless run using a knee support.
After driving to work that same morning my knee stiffened, I could hardly bend it. I really thought I'd blown it, but later in the day the knee loosened up and I was pain free.

I had 7 miles to do on Wednesday, so after work I hit the streets of Dyce and Bucksburn with more than a hint of trepidation. After the 7 miles all seemed fine which led to a good 4 miles run today.

So here I am, still plodding on and not ready to chuck in the towel just yet.
I have a night out on Saturday night, so I'll swap runs around this weekend. 11 miles Saturday and 7 miles Sunday depending on how the night out goes.
Tues 4 miles Wed 7.78 miles 1.15.18 Thurs 4 miles.