The Deer Runner

The Deer Runner

Monday, 23 February 2015

Running Home

Tues 4, Wed 13, Thurs 6, Friday 26, Sun 7.  Weekly total 56 miles.

Last week, a few days off work allowed me to build up the midweek miles.  After three days my total was 23 with long back to back runs pencilled in for the weekend.  There was one problem though, I needed Saturday to be family time.  I had a choice, a Saturday morning session or a run home from work on Friday night.  It was a tough call to make, Saturdays run would be with a work colleague where company would make the miles pass by or Friday night, the conditions were forecast to be perfect for running.  I chose Friday, fourth running day in a row and marathon distance home.

I began to regret my choice on the Friday afternoon, I was tired and felt like cancelling the run but it was too late, stubbornness won the day.  As everyone left the office I changed into running gear, donned a back pack and left the industrial estate.

Sustenance was a bottle of juice, a bottle of coke, two packets of mini cheddars and a Chia Charge flap jack.  I intended to briefly stop at Udny Station, Ellon and Drumwhindle to eat and break up the run.

A few miles out of Dyce the moon was lying on it's back.  It was another clear starry night, this was the reason I chose to run the Friday.  The stars were out in force, winter constellations showing off their familiar shapes.  The disused railway runs through some remote farm land, with the head torch switched off and minimal light pollution I would stop and stare up at the night sky.

Mini cheddars, bit of chia and scoof of juice at Udny before heading off to Ellon.  The legs felt tired at this point with a long way to go.  I took an age to reach Ellon where I walked across the bridge and ate some more.

It's a slight incline out of Ellon, my minutes per mile was creeping up from what was already a slow run.  I slogged it out then left the disused railway track with mostly uphill road running to do.  I didn't bother having something to eat, preferring the bottle of coke which fizzed all over my gloves once opened.

Surprisingly, despite the fatigue, I slowly ran most of the uphill's but it was tough going.  Time was slipping away, there was no way I would make my target of 4.5 hours.  Tired and stiff legs meant I could not get under 10 minute miles, even on the few downhill's.  Eventually I reached home just under five hours after leaving work, 49 miles in four days had taken it's toll.

Sunday was supposed to be 15 but there was no way I was going to attempt that.  The weather was nice AM but by the time I found the motivation for a run sleet showers started.  I called the outing a recovery run and it was better than expected, a 7 mile hilly route averaging 9 minute miles.

My highest weekly total so far this year.  This next week looks like much the same, I have Friday afternoon off work so will probably do my long run then after three midweek runs and leave Saturday for quality time.  I also need to head to the hills soon as most of my training has been on road and disused railway track.  The calf muscle is still a bit tight, I'll back off if it becomes an issue.  Another physio visit this week should sort it out.        

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Good Leg Bad Leg

My latest visit to the physio involved acupuncture to the right calf, only the second time I have received this.  After the session my calf felt much better although it did stiffen up a bit over the weekend.  A second visit will be required which I'll book in the next week.

I've come to a conclusion, my right leg does not like ultra running or the training I have to undertake to participate in races.  I've had a few running related injuries over the years, mostly to my right leg, from Achilles to hip and everything in between.  Once a certain level is reached, the leg seems to feel weak and unstable at the start of training runs and takes a while to warm up.

On the trails I feel an imbalance, not fully trusting the right leg when crossing muddy slopes and using my left leg to launch when jumping over streams etc.

I've met my midweek target quite easily this week, a few days off work has helped.  This weekend will determine whether I can continue with my training plan or be forced into a plan B.

Tues 4,  Wed 4 & 4, Fri 4, Sat 10, Sun 8.  Weekly total 34 miles.


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Onward and Downward

Guess what?  Yep, I'm short of my weekly target, this time by a whopping 29 miles.  The hip niggle I reported last week curtailed my midweek runs.  Not only that but my right calf has started to complain, the same one that put me out of the Highland Fling last year.

The midweek lunch time runs were done with Lynne, a nice easy 2 miles to allow the hip to recover.  The hip seemed fine towards the end of the week but the calf remained tight.  It was always going to be a long shot at the weekend with 25 and 13 miles to run.  On Saturday I had to listen to my body (see, I am learning) and limit the miles to 15.  Today was a beautiful clear day but my running mojo was gone.  I seriously contemplated junking the run before dragging myself out for a late afternoon 8 miles at the Braes.  It was an ugly run, shuffling along with a tight calf and short of breath even with the slow pace.

On the way out I passed an elderly gentleman walking his dog.  His car was parked by the track, I thought nothing of it and continued to do the Braes loop.  On the way back I was disconcerted to see the car still parked at the track.  It was completely dark by then, especially in the trees, I was glad to see him a mile further on still walking his dog as I ran past.  I then had a thought, I stopped and switched off my torch.  I couldn't see a thing and wondered how on earth he was going to get back to his car without a torch.  Luckily, as well as the hand torch, I was wearing a cap with LED lights.  I ran back and gave the gentleman the cap which he was most grateful for.  That was my good deed done for the day.

I have a rest week coming up which I'm going to stick with, even though this past week has been lower miles there's no point in trying to catch up on what's lost.  Looks like I'll have to squeeze in a visit to the physio as well.

Tues 2, Wed 2, Fri 2, Sat 15, Sun 8.  Weekly total 29 miles.


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Teeth of the Gale

My part of North East Scotland has missed snow fall so far this winter.  While runners have been posting pictures of training in deep snowy trails, I have been running on roads in sleety, icy conditions.  It's my own fault, not making for the hills or attending some of the Glee / WHW training runs.  Rolling farmland means there's not much shelter from the wind, mostly gale force from the north.

I was already down on miles midweek, no surprise there. With strong winds, sleety showers and hail forecast for the weekend there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell I was going to achieve the weekend target.

Program stated - 25 Saturday, 13 Sunday.  I'll split it I thought, 19 Saturday and 19 Sunday which should leave quality family time.  So after donning double layers, a balaclava and one of the best purchases I've made lately, an Aldi ski jacket, I left the house and ran straight into the wind.  Now there was method in my madness.  Keep heading into the wind till half way no matter how exhausting, turn around and let the storm push me home.  It didn't quite work out like that.  I found a back road I'm not familiar with and kept going in to the wind, eventually arriving at the A947, a road I had no intention of running on.  Lucky for me I found an old entrance to an estate.  It was lined with old broken trees which had long ago given up fighting the elements and dropped their branches across the track.  The wind was so strong I was concerned one of the rotten branches would crash down on top of me on the old avenue.  After around a mile I came upon a large house, obviously still inhabited as a car was parked outside.  I had no choice but turn round and run the gauntlet of creaky broken limbs back to the main road.  Movescount would later identify the area as Hatton Estate near Turriff.

Not wanting an out and back I had no choice but run a section of the A947 to reach Birkenhills then the back roads home.  Here's where I thought it would be easier with the wind at my back but the storm always seems to settle down once I put my back to it.

Sunday was the same tactic, local roads into the storm but there was no way I was fit for 19 miles. Stinging hail felt like needles on my face as I squinted into the storm.  This was a pretty uneventful run broken up by some scenic views across the fields.  Once again, the weather seamed to settle down once I turned around and made my way to New Deer.

So that's another training week done, this time 14 miles short.  Let's take something positive from it. Training in that sort of weather certainly toughens me up and although short on miles, I'm sure the effort required would equal more.  I now have a painful hip, I'm sure it's caused by all the road running.  This week is another 58 miles but I don't know if this niggle will stand it, now might be the time to listen to my body.

Tues 4, Wed 3, Thurs 4, Sat 20, Sun 13. Weekly total 44 miles.