I returned to the Cateran trail twice this past week, the first time since completing the DC110 last year. As reported in earlier posts, I don't feel as fit as I have in previous years. This didn't stop me replying to Alyson, who posted on Facebook she was doing a night run on the Cateran trail and was looking for company. I needed a reason to do some high miles and where better than the "special trail".
This was my third year in a row where I trained overnight on the Cateran, this may well become a yearly visit for me. I was thinking of organising and posting myself before Alyson saved me the bother, I had no hesitation in replying and participating in the run.
I won't go too much into detail - we left Blairgowrie at 2200 hours on a clear mild spring moonlit night. One of the reasons for liking this part of the trail is the night time view over Perthshire and it did not disappoint. The moon was diffused behind clouds, below were the orange glow of various towns, a tower in the distance was lit by red lights and acted as a landmark till clear of Alyth. The training run felt good, so good I started to name it "The Perfect Run". I felt strong, not out of breath, heart rate zone good, almost like floating across the trail. I knew it wouldn't last but made the most of it while it while I could.
There were a couple of reasons why this was labelled a perfect run. First of all, great company, Alyson, a fellow DC110 runner and previous training partner helped the miles go by. Secondly, we had Duncan as support. I'm not used to support during long training runs but having Duncan meant a far lighter load to carry and reassurance if anything was to go wrong.
A second night time sortie was organised, the same route with Alyson and Karen. On leaving for Spittal, I realised my Hokas were in poor shape. On my previous run, the insoles parted company with the bottom of the shoe. My back up and even older Hokas with lack of tread were not suitable for the Cateran "bog"sections. This left me with my relatively untested and un-cushioned Saucony Xodus for the run. I was a bit apprehensive using these as quite a few miles of the Cateran are on road.
I needn't have worried, the shoes performed admirably. Although a bit hard on road, the trade off was worth it for secure grip in the muddy sections. After years of using Hokas could this be a swing away from thick cushioned shoes? Maybe not, I've ordered a pair of More Mile R66 shoes, I'll give a review when they arrive.
It was another spectacular nigh time Cateran run, this time in clear frosty conditions. The company of Alyson and Karen made the miles fly past. The forest trail above Loch Shandra was severely churned up by forestry machinery making progress difficult, hopefully this won't be the case in May.
After two night time jaunts on the Cateran my training is now back on track. It's up to me to keep the momentum going and do the required training before my next event, The Highland Fling.
Week ending March 27th - Tues 3, Fri/Sat 32, Sun 5. Weekly total 40 miles.
Thurs/Fri 32, Sun 6. Weekly total 38 miles.