The Deer Runner

The Deer Runner

Saturday, 27 December 2014

A Winter Run

It's been a mostly Marcothon week including a double at midnight on Christmas eve, with Lynne and Skye of course.  A sore throat and chesty cough has appeared which threatened my 20 miles today.  I almost decided on the minimum Marcothon 25 minutes before forcing myself out the door for three and a half hours.  I decided against heading for the hills, I don't have the time for driving to and from Bennachie just now.

I'm posting this earlier than usual due to a night out tonight which will put tomorrows 10 miles in jeopardy.  Anyway, here are some pictures of today's run -

A sprinkling of snow as I left for the local roads and Buchan disused railway.

Rainbows in the distance meant the weather was closing in, it wasn't long before I was running through a blizzard.

Some nice sunny spells gave good light for photography.

 Fedderate castle ruin, the night out just happens to be near here.

Onto a frozen disused railway track, the roads were sheet ice, extreme care was required.

The light caught this pony beautifully.

Ruined railway sheds are dotted along the line.  This one is made out of railway sleepers and once sheltered the fan of a certain Irish band.

Another railway shed further along, this time made out of concrete.

The tree was my last photo of the day.  The weather moved in so I pocketed the camera and got stuck into a cold and icy 6 miles back home.

I'll include tomorrows 10 mile run in my weekly total, this will make sure I get out and complete it.

Mon 2, Tues 4, Wed 6, Thurs 2, Fri 2, Sat 20, Sun 02.  Weekly total 38 miles.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Training Continues

A quick update with not much to report.  Mixing Marcothon with the training program has proved harder than I thought.  I'm slightly down on miles for last week, completing 28 miles instead of the program's 30.  Nothing to worry about but I'm determined to complete the mileage of the training program so I have confidence finishing the DC110.

It's now Christmas eve and it looks like I'll be slightly short this week once more, there's no way I'll manage the scheduled 6 mile run on Christmas day.  With 20 miles to complete on Saturday I'll head to Bennachie and the Gordon Way, weather permitting of course.

Mon 2, Tues 2, Wed 2, Thurs 2, Fri 2, Sat 10, Sun 8.  Weekly total 28 miles.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Marcothon Continues

Almost half way through December and I'm happy to report the Chalmers Clan are still in Marcothon.
It has not been easy fitting the week day runs in during the evening once home from work.  Most evenings we are sitting down for something to eat at nine o'clock after rushing out to do the minimum 25 minutes.  The weather has been a mix of cold wind and icy conditions making some slippery outings.  On the plus side are the constellations and moon giving some very scenic night outings.

It was a lovely evening on Friday the 5th, there was a hard frost and a full moon.  With a busy weekend in store I decided to do my long run then, after Marcothon with Lynne and Skye.  I completed a spectacular run to the Braes and back, all alone in the frosted woods except for a fox and owls.  I tried to photograph the moonlit scene but the iphone 5 just wasn't up the the job.

The training program is going to plan, I'm well aware of mixing this in with Marcothon which doesn't give rest days through December but so far so good.  According to the program I have a recovery week coming up, I'm looking forward the easier miles before upping them again over Christmas and new year.

Week ending 7th Dec - Mon 2, Tues 4, Wed 5, Thurs 4, Fri 17, Sat 2, Sun 7.  Weekly total 41 miles.
Mon 2, Tues 4, Wed 4, Thurs 4, Fri 15, Sat 2, Sun 10.  Weekly total 41 miles.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Marcothon to the rescue

Plans for the early part of 2015 are exactly the same as 2014.  I'll be starting the season off with the D33 in March, the entry opens on New Years day for this one.  I have entered the Fling for April then it's time for another crack at the DC110 for May.  After this I'm going to do my coast to coast challenge in August.

I need a structured training program so this week I sourced a 100 mile training plan and entered it into my calendar, 24 weeks back from the DC110.  The training started this week so with determination and motivation it was time to put lethargy to bed.  Midweek was supposed to be 4, 6, 4 miles and yes, the word supposed means I didn't hit the first weeks target.  Not a positive start to my 2015 season.  I did manage to participate in a Fling training run at the weekend which boosted the miles a bit but I'm still under for the first week.

Tomorrow sees the start of Marcothon, this will be my third year running every day in December.
It can't come soon enough and will ensure I get out and do the training.  Lynne and Skye have signed up once more so it will be a family affair, the three of us running in torchlight on the back roads, usually in fowl weather.  Hopefully I will hit my target miles this week, only time will tell.

Week ending 23rd Nov - Tues 3, Wed 3, Thurs 3, Sun 8.  Weekly total 17 miles.
Tues 2, Wed 3, Sat 24.  Weekly total 29 miles.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A Grim Run

The Fraserburgh half marathon is usually my last event of the season, but not this year.  A phone call from a running colleague informed me the race was full with 300 entrants and not taking entries on the day.  It shows how popular running has become when my local half marathon is oversubscribed and needs a waiting list.  I always enter this race on the day so it looks like this won't be an option in future.

I wasn't too bothered missing the race, it meant I could enjoy a Saturday night out.  I still intended a run of sorts on Sunday and had a plan.  I would park my car at work colleagues house on the Saturday night, approximately 16 miles from my house.  This would force me to run and collect the car on Sunday.

Sunday arrived, the weather was not looking too great and I was stiff and sore from chopping wood the previous day.  Afternoon TV in front of the log stove beckoned but I forced myself to get ready and run.

My WHW hi viz top, shorts, buff, bottle of water, phone and last minute grab of a head torch and I went on my merry way, well, not so merry.

It never ceases to amaze how quickly I seem to lose fitness.  Distances that would normally be chewed up and spat out become big challenges.  On this outing I felt clumsy and sore with no rhythm and a core that felt like jelly.  Being out of shape (in more ways than one) also affected me mentally so this run quickly became a bit of a slog.

The rain moved in before I reached Ellon, I didn't bother taking a jacket and it didn't take long to get soaked, I had to keep the pace up to try and keep warm.  I crossed the Ythan cold, wet and miserable just as the street lights came on.  Not long to go I thought to myself, a few miles of track then some road running.

It was dark when I turned onto the road, just as well I took the head torch.  Traffic was busier than I anticipated.  It was a fast road where I took no chances, as soon as vehicles approached I jumped onto the verge till all was clear. On a night like that even a head torch and hi viz clothing wasn't enough to alert drivers of my presence.

Achilles pain, the tendon stiffened up and made me struggle.  This was all I needed, hobbling along a busy main road avoiding traffic in the dark.  I was relieved to reach the farm track where my car was parked.

I must have been some sight as I knocked on the door.  Soaked through with blood running down my top from a bleeding nipple I collected my keys.  Job done, an 18 mile run completed as I drove home with the heater on full blast.

Week ending 9th Nov - Mon 3, Tues 3, Wed 3, Fri 3.  Weekly total 12 miles.
Tues 3, Wed 3, Sun 18.  Weekly total 24 miles.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Ythan Valley

As usual, low running means no blogging.  I just couldn't be bothered running high miles, settling for 3 mile lunchtime outings instead.  Even these short runs became a chore but it all changed on Saturday the 1st November.  I actually felt the urge to run long, and by "long" I mean further than marathon distance.  The GO33 ultra was held on the same day, I thought about sending a cheeky
e-mail to the race organisers asking for a late entry but decided against this due to the eight hour round trip.

I didn't want to drive anywhere, so a local North East Scotland run it was.  I decided to take my camera to keep the interest high and some music for the long road sections.  Here's how it went -

It's a beautiful day as I set off, shorts and tee shirt weather, I have a long sleeve top packed into a backpack that's not been used in a while.  The waist buckle needs adjustment, I've put on a bit of weight.  Fuel is egg sandwiches, crisps, a bounty and a chia charge flapjack.  A bottle of fizzy flavoured water means the back pack is stuffed full.

With the day consisting of mostly road it is an opportunity to really test the Rappa Nui Trail shoes.
I am a big Hoka fan but I must admit, these shoes have taken quite a bit of breaking in compared to the Mafate or Stinsons.

It's not long before I hit some farm tracks before reaching the road to Gight.

With weather like this, even the most mundane road routes are scenic.

I drop down into the Braes.  I must apologise for taking more pictures here but it's my favourite training place and is simply stunning today.

Gight's version of "cow poo ally" leading to the castle ruin.

First glimpse of the river Ythan.

According to ordinance survey, this is an otter pool.

My wooden bridge but I'm not crossing it today.  I'm going to follow the river as far as I can upstream.

The track winds it's way through a reed bed.

I follow the track hoping to find a way to Fyvie but it's not to be.

I'm at a dead end with a water fall.  Ahead is a stream, marsh and fields of cattle.  There's no track alongside the river.  I consider climbing over fences and continuing through the farmland but don't want confrontation.  I have no choice but to turn and make my way back downriver.

 This is the last view of the Braes as I make my way up to a farm and onto a side road to St Johns Wells.

After a few miles I can see the river again and the Ythan valley leading to Fyvie.

The A947, I have about a mile to go along this very fast road.  I spend all my time jumping onto the verge to avoid oncoming traffic before reaching a footpath.

I make my way to a wood, one I was told about a few years ago.  I didn't know it was a shooting estate so stand and ponder before running in.  Maybe I should phone the number on the sign.

I run in for about half a mile, Pheasant are scattering to the four winds as I go.  the place is deserted which isn't a good sign, normally dog walkers would be out in force at a place like this.

As nice as this place seems, I turn round and run back out of the estate, I don't fancy being accidently shot.  I also give this outing a nickname "The Chicken Run" as it's the second time I have turned back today.

Back across the Ythan for the last time today.

Up to Fyvie Castle, there's a wedding on where some very old cars pass with a party.  I don't go to the castle and prefer circling round the pond.

It's time for lunch, a bench with a view.

I share my sandwiches with the inhabitants before heading home.

There's a memorial in Fyvie at the junction for Methlick.  This is my route home.

Fyvie church is bathed in sunshine as I leave.

This bush is still in full bloom, fooled into thinking it's summer.

Millbrex church ruin and graveyard.

Iv'e came full circle, a couple more miles to go.

The countryside is very scenic in the late afternoon sun.

Home sweet home 27 miles later, tired but happy to get my long distance mojo back.

Week ending 12th Oct - Mon 3, Tues 3, Wed 3, Thurs 10.  Weekly total 19 miles.
Week ending 19th Oct - Wed 4, Fri 13, Sun 4.  Weekly total 21 miles.
Week ending 26th Oct - Mon 3, Tues 3, Wed 3, Thurs 3.  Weekly total 12 miles.
Mon 3, Tues 3, Sat 27.  Weekly total 33 miles.