The Deer Runner

The Deer Runner

Sunday, 25 March 2012

10th week done (sort of)

Unfinished business.
Another pep talk was dished out by the Mrs last night. The conversation went-
Me- I'm off to Fraserburgh tomorrow, 25 miles along the beach to Peterhead.
Mrs- Erm, you should be doing hillwork.
Me- Well, yes but a change of scenery is good.
Mrs- Nope, I saw the state you were in after the Fling and you said not enough hillwork had been done in practice.
Me- Hmm, I suppose so.
Mrs- So, you sould be doing your training on Bennachie.

Bennachie it was then, a decision I would regret by the end of the day.
I arrived at the Rowantree car park at nine o'clock. Being on call, my workmate Dave agreed to take calls while I was training today which was a boost. I planned to visit all hill peaks on the Bennachie range and take in Cairn William which would be linked by a couple of miles road running.

From the car park I took the trail skirting the hill before starting to climb at the back o bennachie. This part was in shade and quite cool so I had my running jacket on. Soon I was on the plateau and visiting Little Oxen Craig, Craigshannoch and Oxen Craig. I would leave Mither Tap till last. I needed to fill the water bottles by this time so descended to the Gordon Way, only taking in a mile of this trail today to reach my watering spring. I felt a bit queezy by this stage and only realised I was overheating, still wearing my running jacket in the bright sunshine. The temperature shift between the back and front of Bennachie must have been 10 degree c. I stopped at the spring, filled the bottles, cooled my head and packed away the jacket.

Feeling much better I headed for Mill Stone Hill, passing quite a few walkers and cyclists on the way. I reached the peak, took a quick drink and began to descend to the Lords Throat where the road section would start. This descent is quite steep with boulders and stones arranged to act as steps. On this section I took a picture for my profile page and was almost off the hill when I went over my ankle. I continued to run hoping it would sort itself out so I could complete the run. After a mile road running I came to my senses and made my way to the River Don to check the foot out. Todays run was over but I still had to get back to the car. With no phone signal I had two choices, walk the way too long road back round to the car park or go back the way I came which was much shorter but took in two hills.

I decided on the hills as my foot was okay if kept flat. As this was likely to be my last outing for a while I kept the GPS watch running to add the walk back as part of my training, this turned out to be over five miles.
The going was slow, 22 minute miles as I made my way back to the car park in the heat.

On reaching the car I toyed with the idea of getting my foot checked out straight away but on second thoughts went home to freshen up first.

So a sprained ankle it is, RICE for 48 hours and yet another set of exercises to do which I probably won't.
Looks like two weeks off running but I'll try to concentrate on building up my core strength during this period. I'll also be back to complete this run once I have recovered.

Sat 7.12 miles 1.05.25  Sun 15 miles 4.15.06  Weekly total 41 miles.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Onwards and upwards.

After the high of running the D33 it was time to look forward and get some races organised. I briefly spoke to John Duncan after the race who said he was the race director of the Highland Fling. This just happened to be my next ultra target, I told John my accomodation was booked but I still had to enter the race. This is now sorted, I have entered the Fling which I last ran in 2010.

A couple of days later it was time to enter the Cateran which I planned as my last long run leading to the whw race. To my dismay the website informed me in red - 2012 RACE IS NOW FULL. "What is this?" I thought, it can't be, I entered this race late last year and there were still spaces left! Blast! Who let the cat out of the bag? Who gave away the secret? Who let everyone know that this is probably one of the friendliest and best ultra marathons going? A quick e-mail to Karen, I am now on the drop out list.

It was back to my usual routes for midweek training. The local roads and Kirkhill Forest. Tuesdays outing was bit stiff legged but I felt fine, Wednesday was 4 x mile repeats -
1) 8.29
2) 9.39
3) 8.32
4) 9.18
5) 7.55
6) 9.35
7) 7.51
The first few mile times were interrupted by photographing the stunning sun rise.

 A steady run round Kirkhill tonight completed the midweek training. I have not decided where to do the long 25 mile run on Sunday yet but I fancy taking in the coast again.
Tues 6.5 miles  Wed 7.01 miles 1.01.30  Thurs 6.21 miles 56.55.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

9th week done

The glorious D33.
Thank you to George Reid and the marshals for another great race.
In my eyes, Aberdeenshires top running event.

As forecast, the day was sunny although the temperature was only 4 deg c when I left my overnight stay in Bucksburn. I drove the back roads to the Duthie Park which goes over the disused line at Culter. I momentarily stopped on the bridge and looked down on the track Only one cyclist at this time of morning, soon there would be a couple of hundred runners heading out on the trail. I pulled into the car park at 0800, the majority of runners had still to arrive. After registering I sat in the car, it was too chilly to stand around, for me anyway.I noticed a drop bag system was on the go but I had everything I needed in the North Face back pack. On the pack was one bottle of electrolite and one bottle of water, I would hardly drink the electrolite until the end, I should have filled both bottles with water.

At 0830 I joined the throng of entrants and generally wandered around kicking stones and jumping up and down. At nine we were off, it was good to get going and warm up. The goal today was to run the whole race at a comfortable pace, so I decided on 10 minute miles or just under. If all went to plan, 5 hours 20 minutes would be the time, a result I would be chuffed with.

Running past Garthdee, the runners had to avoid a burnt out moped dumped at the side of the track, not a good sight. Thankfully, after this Deeside was at its best in the sunshine with lovely views over the river, fly fishermen, swans and the steam railway, which for some reason was not operating today.

It was good speaking to Bill, a fellow WHW race entrant, this made a couple of miles pass quickly.
The light breeze was in my face on the way out which kept things cool, I knew it would get warm on the way back. At the half way checkpoint I was dead on target, 2 hours 40 minutes but this race tends to gets hard on the way back if underestimated. I decided to eat and walk rather than stop, so quickly scoffed a muller rice and mini cheddars.

It did get warm on the return leg but I managed to keep on target, just under 10 minute miles.  I ran and chatted to a runner called Jane which helped pass the miles once more. I was beginning to get tired legs and knew a couple of water stops were coming up. Getting hot and thirsty I spent a few minutes at both, drinking water and coke, scoffing jaffa cakes. With 6 miles to go it was time to knuckle down and try to keep the pace going. This wasn't easy for the next three miles but as the GPS watch clocked 30 miles I found some energy and stepped up my pace. The last three miles were the quickest of my run which I suppose is how it should be. I forgot to stop my watch on crossing the line but the time is around 5 hours 22 minutes, job done.
No mp3 was worn this week so I have still got podcast 9 to look forward to.
Saturday 33 miles approx 5.22.00  Weekly total 52 miles    

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Heels of fire

After the antics of Sundays run I managed to jeopardise participation in the D33. Blistering both heels, I thought things would be fine if I carried on as normal. Wrong, by Monday afternoon it felt like someone was holding a blow torch to my heels. So much so, I was off to Boots right after work for blister plasters. These are excellent and give instant relief but at the achillies heel I could still feel discomfort when walking. Now I had a decision to make, take time off training or continue, hoping things will be okay for Saturdays race.

No time off for me, I hit the Deershire roads once more early on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. The mile repeats on Wednesday were particularly tough first thing in the morning -

1) 8.21
2) 8.54
3) 7.53
4) 8.57
5) 7.41

I thought about missing out on the Kirkhill Forest run this evening, a half hearted taper before the D33 but went for it anyway. We had to take a detour past some sort of police incident in Dyce which added a half mile to the run.

I'll be running the D33 on Saturday, treating it as a training run. My aim is to try and get the pace right, keeping a steady running pace from start to finish with as little walking as possible (easier said than done).
If you are running the race and see someone sitting on the verge with their shoes and socks off it will be me, say hello as you run by.
Tues 7 miles  Wed 5.07 miles 42.41  Thurs 6.89 miles 1.03.28

Sunday, 11 March 2012

8th week done.

A cracking day in NE Scotland today and with 23 miles to do it was back to the Gordon Way, this time the whole trail. The Bennachie car park was strangely quiet when I arrived at half eight. I recently bought a North Face back pack and this was it's first outing. I usually use a belt type bottle holder so this new back pack took a bit of getting used to. The advantage of the back pack is it holds two 500 ml bottles but this was not enough hydration on this run, more of this later.

Soon I was on the hills once more, I could feel the stress lift and selfishly soaked up the solitude. Once again I was all alone on the trail until I started the descent at the back of Bennachie. I came accross a couple with an Alsatian which started chasing and barking at me. I stopped and had a stand off with the dog as the owners aplogised saying the dog was "soft as a brush", a statement I didn't feel like testing as the dog was put under control.

On reaching the road which was my return point a few weeks ago, I turned right and picked up the trail again after 200 meters or so. Over a stile and up through a grass field that was too steep to run. A pain began to develop at the back of my right foot, oh no, not the achilles tendon I thought looking around for a seat. Sitting on the grass I checked the foot and was relieved to find it was only a blister on the right of my heel, something I don't usually suffer from. I decided earlier to use trail shoes for this run which I was now regretting as the tracks were dry. With 16 miles to go I had to think of something to fix the raw burst blister and came up with a plan but it would have to wait until I reached Suie Car Park. The next five miles was varied scenery which reminded me of the Cateran Trail. I planned to eat my food at Suie car park and hoped there would be running water to fill the water bottles. On arrival it was a gravel car park and nothing else, no water, toilets or even a picnic table. The food was quickly scoffed which included baby bel cheese. The outer wax shell was used as a blister plaster which made my foot a bit more bearable on the way back.

Hydration was now my problem with no fresh water streams until two miles from the end. The walks uphill were exhausting and not having water on a warm day did not help. On getting back to the Bennachie range I put on the mp3 player and concentrated on reaching the cool tumbling waters of the stream. Thirst and the reaction of the brain to combat it never ceases to amaze me, at the Cateran last year I just could not take any more electrolyte and remember drinking water from a stream. The fact the stream was flowing through a field full of sheep did not stop me taking a long cool drink. Today, my thirst quenching stream soon appeared where I filled a water bottle and downed it in a oner, what a releif, the clear cool water was magic.

Two miles later and I was back at the car park, warmed down and stretched I made my way home for a chocolate milkshake recovery drink. I have blisters on both feet and hope they don't affect me during the D33 next week where I will be using the tried and trusted Brooks road shoes.
Mp3 of the week "Born To Die" by Lana Del Rey.

Saturday 7.5 miles 1.08.28  Sunday 23.71 miles 5.30.30  Weekly total 50 miles.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Same old.

The sessions and routes done this week were much the same as last week.

Frosty road run early on Tuesday morning around Deershire. Perfect timing, podcast number 8 gave me something to listen to during this run. Iv'e asked my support to listen to this episode to get good advice and let themselves know what they are in for.

Mile repeats were done once more around Dyce after work on Wednesday.  An impovement -
1) 7.25
2) 9.03
3) 7.50
4) 9.17
5) 7.45
6) 9.18

Usual route around Kirkhill Forest tonight, a good session although a wee bit puffed oot running uphill. Didn't need the head torch at all tonight.

Long run this weekend is 23 miles so its back to the Gordon Way. Not sure if I'll hit the trail Saturday or Sunday, depends how the legs feel on Saturday.
Tues 7 miles  Wed 6.13 miles 55.10  Thurs 6.04 miles 57.03

Sunday, 4 March 2012

7th Week Done

After the two training sessions this weekend I realise I have made an error on my whw profile page. The word "below" should be inserted before "average" on the first sentence.

Unusual mild weather through the week lured me into a false sense of spring. Rain, wind and fog greeted New Deer on Saturday and with 20 miles on the cards I had to look out the full winter kit. When the weather is bad I like to just get out and do the milage, first - it toughens me up and second - I don't know what the conditions will be like on race day.

The route on Saturday is mostly road, going through Knaven and contuing for a couple of miles, turn right and its up and downhill but mostly down till I cross the river Ythan. Turn right and follow the road to Methlick where I join a forest track leading to the braes of gight. From there its mostly uphill back to my house.

Dressed more like a hill walker than a runner I head off with the wind and rain in my face. I have podcast numbers 6 and 7 on my mp3 player which helps to pass the time in the miserable conditions. I listen to the Marco and Thomas article and have a chuckle to myself, I can hear the Garmin bleep their milage pace a good two and a half minutes quicker than my pace. By the time I reach the river Ythan I have laughed out loud at the article by Andy Cole. I turn towards Methlick and its Fiona Rennies turn. I have read most of the race reports on the website, but not all and not this one. I almost tripped over when this race report was read out. Podcasts 6 and 7 were a rollercoaster ride for me and its diffucult to see where this can be improved. This is one runner who appreciates the time and effort that must go into making the podcasts.

I reached Methlick after 15 miles and didn't feel quite right. All I took on this run was a Caramel bar and bottle of electrolyte. I underestimated the distance and did not take enough food or drink. I have done this training programme twice before and after a couple of months a certain mental toughness is acheived, the kind where I can step out the door and not be phased by hours of running. I thought this was the case yesterday but how wrong I was. A chocolate Yazoo was purchased from the shop and guzzled in one go. I started out for the Braes but things were not quit right, a queezy feeling came over me and I had no energy. I filled my water bottle at a stream and pushed on for home, nothing left in the tank, walk and jog, walk and jog. Two miles from home and the GPS watch says 20 miles completed. I switched it off in disgust and walked the rest, analysing what went wrong. I think I hit the wall, on a training run! I ignored my need of decent nutrition and hydration on long runs and paid the price. A caramel bar, chocolate milkshake, bottle of electrolyte and stream water just wasn't enough.

Today I went back to the Braes for a 6 mile session. Did I learn my lesson from yesterday? Two packets of mini cheddars before I left and no water taken. Drank out of the same stream as yesterday. The answer is no.

Saturday 20.17 miles 3.47.15 Sunday 6.84 miles  1.19.21  Weekly total 44 miles 


Thursday, 1 March 2012

Mile Repeats

Once again I did not get up early enough to train on Wednesday morning so had to run after work. The programme called for 3 x mile repeats and to be truthful I have always avoided this sort of training. I would usually just plod on at my usual pace and put in the miles, not really paying attention to pace. Not this time though, I want to be as fit as possible for the whw race and feel I have done the training right before stepping up to the line. So a training session in Dyce it was, fairly flat and on tarmac to try and speed up my pace. After a warm up my splits were -

1) 8.16
2) 9.35
3) 8.38
4) 9.58
5) 8.48
6) 9.51

Hardly setting the tar on fire I know, but future Wednesday runs are now mile repeats where I will try to make improvements.

The Soleus watch is my first GPS device, I find it a real help to map out training runs and check my pace. I like how it is small enough to use as an everyday watch, only needing charged every couple of weeks or so. The only niggle is it can take a wee while to find a signal.

Another run to Kirkhill Forest after work tonight. Didn't need the head torch until half way round. A good run this time, I felt strong on the up hills and can feel the benefit of the training programme.
Tues 6.45 miles 1.00.15  Wed 6.01 miles 55.15  Thurs 6 miles.