Mud? Yes please! Hills? The more the better!!!

Its the second of March now, so officially Spring?  Well there is a ‘spring’ in my step now and I’m getting my mojo ON  and my head in gear for the long runs to finish off my London Marathon training.  I was going through the motions of training and following the plan, not feeling the excitement of the build up in the way I usually do, but after a great run at our img_2893local 10K February Frenzy race a few weeks ago and an amazing experience running the Glentess Forest Trail half marathon in Peebles, I am looking forward to some serious mileage in the coming weeks.  There’s something about the buzz of reaching the top of an epic hill and running through mud, snow, and feezing water that makes me feel alive!

Before heading off to London I have the Glen Scotia Mull of Kintyre Marathon which is on my door step, I’m doing the second half in a relay team of two and then I have the Brigham 10K in Cumbria in the Village I used to live, which I am equally excited about taking part in.

The purpose of going to Peebles to take part in the Glentress Forest trail half marathon was to check it out before I enter the Ultra there which takes place in November.  There is two Ultra distances – 50K and 65K, and I entered the 65K this morning! (roughly 41 miles).

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These are not my words but they could be……….

“I run to breathe the fresh air. I run to explore. I run to escape the ordinary. I run…to savor the trip along the way. Life becomes a little more vibrant, a little more intense. I like that.”  Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

Slowly does it….

2017 has been slow going, I’m not great in the dark months and yearn sun light and warmth.  I hadn’t been in a great hurry to commence marathon training in January as Stirling was a good 16 weeks from 1st Feb, so Jan was to be an easy month.  Until Santa kindly gave me flights to London so I could use my Good for Age and BOOM suddenly everything was different!  The ‘plan’ was rescheduled and my easy-osey January became void.  Marathon training was to recommence on 1st Jan 2017.  Here we go again!!!!

One month in and I’ve slowly got my head in to gear and the Christmas excesses are a distant memory (except for the last few lbs still clinging on!).  My hip niggle from last years intense non-stop training and marathon running has nearly gone, so I’m tentatively upping the mileage and the Long Slow Run on a Sat has topped 14 miles recently with not much hip bother.  I’m curious to see if I still have a good time in me over marathon distance and in the back of my mind I am daring myself to go for it and try to beat my London time from two years ago of 3:36:11. But realistically with two marathons four weeks apart, I don’t want to go crazy in London and spoil Stirling for myself if I’m not recovered enough, plus being in injury limbo land the last few months I’m not keep to aggravate it and cause it to return………..

I’m very much looking forward to what every may come and enjoying the next chapter of adventures 🙂 besides the two Spring Marathons, I’m off to run a trail half in a few weeks in Peebles and then taking part in the new local marathon being held in Campbeltown – http://www.campbeltownrunningclub.com/events/glen-scotia-mok-marathon in addition to our local 10K and Gigha Challenge and then later in the summer the Tarbert races.  Mostly I’m looking forward to Saturday mornings with the usual bunch 🙂 Ready? Steady? Go! 2017 is ON!

 

Is this the end…….?

Ultra training, turning 40, doing a double and everything else in between

…that was the title of the blog in the beginning so now that’s the double done and dusted is it the end…………..? Hell no!!

Recap…

When I began 2016 with my Kintyre Way Ultra training I had always planned to return to Cleethorpes at the end of the year to do one of the days of the Vigilantes Maravan.  Previously having ran the 26.2 mile 7 lap course on the Sunday in 2014 and the Saturday in 2015, my desire to mark the year I turned 40 with lots of challenges prompted me to decided to enter not one but two marathons that weekend and go for the double! This would nicely tally my marathon count up to 10.  After completing the Ultra training plan in May I used Arran and then Glasgow Clyde marathon as training runs in preperation for the double.  And before I knew it 2016 had become the year of the long run….one ultra, and four marathons later I know for sure 2016 was rather a busy one for training plans but I also know I don’t want to give up long running, if anything I want to go further in 2017.  Less events/more miles…….

Maravan 

The seven lap course is predominantly within Thorpe Park in Cleethorpes where the Haven Holiday Caravan site is.  The lap consists of less caravans than you might expect!  Winding through ‘the fitties’ chalets where we were staying and then the golf course you make your way off site to run along a bridle path before you’re taken back round the caravans.  Completing 7 laps has lots of benefits, mainly the knowledge that the toilet is there, in the same spot every 3.75 miles!  Although I only used it once each day, its nice to know its there!  As I was not in any kind of rush to get any time either day I was able to leave all my drinks and gels in my bag at the start/finish and collect them when I passed. I swapped coats and changed T-shirt twice on the second day – it was drizzly/damp.

Day 1 was perfect autumnal weather and began with much excitement due mainly to going along to meet up with my friends from Cleethorpes AC and the other clubs/park run whom I made friends with while living here.  Along with the Marathon was the option to do it as a relay team so there was quite a buzz in the air as the teams sized one another up.

sarah-tania
Sarah & Tan

Tanya had entered the Saturday marathon to keep me company for a while so we set of together and fell in to a nice pace, taking it easy on the slippy ice, which enabled us to chat chat chat…..so much chatting was going on I couldn’t believe it when I saw 7 miles on my Garmin – I should have been thinking about the second gel at 8 miles but had been so preoccupied with the chit chat I forgot I as even doing a marathon for a while there! Tanya ran three and a half laps with me (13miles) and then joined me again at 20 miles for a few miles (another benefit of laps and knowing most of the marshal’s helped to distract me along the route too).  I finished comfortably in 3:52 and headed back to the chalet for a hot bath, and a snooze and spent the rest of the day stretching and relaxing.

Day 2 I woke feeling quite fresh, I wasn’t as stiff as I expected.  Taking it easy on the first day was definitely the way to go.  It had been very wet over night but the morning was dry.

day-2-start
Start of Day 2

Today there was a half marathon event as well as the full marathon, although they used a slightly different lap we shared the route for part of the way and again I knew lots of other runners and marshals. No Tanya today so music on and off I went, surprised to feel okay, I made it to 20 miles in a similar time to day 1.  The rain was on and off through out but I had spare everything in my bag so swapped t-shirt three times and coat twice!  I was just starting to drag my heels by the end of lap 5 when Jonathan (a proper athlete – triathlon/duathlon champ) who I had met while training at the track, joined me for a lap.  He pulled me along and I’d probably of slowed considerably in that lap as I was starting to get bored with no chit chat to keep me entertained to day!  Leaving me with the last lap to contend with, I was happy to run round for the 14th time of the weekends event and finished surprised to see my time had just crept over four hours (- I’d given myself an expected time of 4:30 on day two and 4:15 day one).

The maravan medals are great, (I already have two at home)  so I would have been happy just to complete the double and go home with them, however to also come away with first female in the Day 2 marathon and first female overall in the double event was a great bonus.

Many thanks to Darren for putting on a great event!

The evening was spent celebrating with wine and food at Tanya’s before setting off the next day on the epic drive back home – 9 hours in the car is not the best position to be in the day after a double!  However that was Monday and today is Wednesday and the stiffness has gone and I’m starting to get itchy feet….my trainers are calling!!

So far next year looks like this:

Glentress Forest Half Marathon

Glen Scotia Mull of Kintyre Marathon (two person team)

Stirling Marathon

Mull of Kintyre 10K

Arran Marathon (maybe)

Glasgow Marathon

Glentress Forest Ultra

Plus all local races I can get too!!  Maybe I’ll rest up in 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

going through the motions….

 

Heading to Edinburgh for my graduation I knew I had completed enough training to take the weekend off, but why would I do that!  I couldn’t wait to get running around Edinburgh and first stop was Arthur’s seat – what a hill and what a view! Totally worth the climb.

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What a view! day break over Edinburgh.

 

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Edinburgh Castle

Heading  out at 7am I enjoyed tourist free Edinburgh streets, getting a clear run down The Royal Mile and Arthur’s Seat to myself!  The day following the graduation I made a second run to the castle gates and down The Royal Mile, around the castle and Princess St Gardens.  The weather was too perfect not too, even after a night celebrating!!  Last weeks training was a bit

grad
Graduation Day.

slow, possibly just recovering from a weekend away and burning the candle at both ends! I did feel like I was on the brink of a bug/cold but so far it has not come to anything much.  I enjoyed some beach and trail runs and simply plodded round going through the motions.  

Exciting news last week was the announcement of a new local marathon in my town.  The Glen Scotia Mull of Kintyre Marathon https://www.facebook.com/GlenScotiaMOKMara/  I’m undecided if I will do the full thing in 2017 due to it being so close to Stirling Marathon, but there are team options and I will definitely do the full thing the next year (injury and fitness permitting!!).

So one week until Maravan Double http://www.vigilantesrunning.co.uk/  I’m nervous and excited.  Its’s like when you are approaching your due date to have a baby – you know there will be pain, you know it will involve a lot of huffing and puffing, then one last push and then its all worthwhile in the end.  You might hobble a bit the next few days but you forget the pain and do it again!

Roll on the next week and bring on the challenge. 

 

 

 

Recap, refresh, recommence…

img_1686img_1685With less than four weeks to go I’m feeling nervous at the prospect of doing the double, but really looking forward to trying it and seeing what I can do with it!  Training has been a steady build up of good solid mileage up until now, but with this weeks October mid term school holidays I have been busy with the girls and taken a week to pull back on the intensity of training although of course still managed to run abit!!  Before I went off on our October holidays I had a big double running weekend (as per plan) with 20 miles on the Saturday and 15 on the Sunday.  Saturdays 20 was completed on tarmac around town and mostly flat.  Sunday was far more interesting, and comprised of running a section of the Kintyre Way from Carradale to Tayinloan over the forestry roads.

My husband is in training for the Kintyre way Ultra Cycle event so he cycled the same route in reverse so we could do a  car swap.  (see photo of mid way meet up!).  Although the photo looks a bit wet and windy it was a beautiful morning and only when reaching the upper parts of the hill did the weather get a bit damp!  img_1675

Our October break was taken in Cumbria – anyone who knows me will know this is where my heart belongs!  I love it there and after living there and having my children there I really love getting back to my old stomping ground!!  Although on plan it was an ‘easy’ week, I was able to get a 13 mile and then a 6 mile run in just for the pure enjoyment of it!!!

Primarily the holidays were about doing things with the kids but while on a trip to the img_1705Glasgow Science Center I managed a sneaky wee run on the hamster wheel, just to keep my legs ticking over 🙂

On my return from holidays I’ve been for a beach run –  10 miles in the morning as the sun rose which was lovely and then another 10 miles with club.  Tonight I’m back to club again before heading to Edinburgh tomorrow for the weekend to attend my graduation, which I am very pleased about because I shall be getting to run round the capital first!!  Unfortunately I am missing our annual club awards evening due to a clash in dates, I really enjoy seeing our Junior runners dressed up to collect their certificates and awards after coaching them all year.  They all look so smart out of their running gear 🙂

As its getting on in the year I’ve begun planning next years adventures!  The biggest decision I had to make was whether to use my Good For Age London Marathon place, having deferred it last year to concentrate on the Kintyre Way Ultra I either use it or loose it this year.  I made my final decision today and entered Stirling Marathon, doing this new Scottish marathon means I can make it a family trip and its not so far away or expensive!! Having done London Marathon I am more excited to do a new one instead.  I will also be doing Arran and Glasgow which I have done before so nice to have a new one in the mix.  I have also entered a trail half in Feb in the Scottish borders which is also the location of my next Ultra in November 2017 – The Glentress Ultra Trail Marathon.

http://www.highterrainevents.co.uk/tweed-valley-ultra

For my own records here is a list of my marathons to date:

  • Manchester Marathon 2014
  • Spires and Steeples trail Marathon 2014
  • Maravan Day 1 Marathon 2014
  • London Marathon 2015
  • Islay Marathon 2015
  • Maravan Day 2 Marathon 2015
  • Kintyre Way Ultra 2016
  • Arran Marathon 2016
  • Glasgow Clydeside Marathon 2016

Still to complete in 2016:

  • Maravan Day 1 Marathon
  • Maravan Day 2 Marathon

2017 plans:

  • Glentress forest half
  • Stirling Marathon
  • Arran Marathon
  • Glasgow Clydeside Marathon
  • Glentress forest trail Ultra

++plus all the usual 10K’s and local runs I absolutely love.

 

 

Excited. Much. 

 

 

Back on the Hills – joy, joy!!

Phew I don’t know where the time has gone, but Glasgow marathon seems so long ago now! The niggle which held me back that day was properly rested for 10 days (no running at all) and I have had two dry needling treatments on my butt twice now and I am happy to say I have felt much improvement in my hip (a tightness in the right butt which is pulling on the hamstring).  I have finished my 8 week block of Adult improver swimming so being in the pool twice a week over the last few months will hopefully have helped work my legs in a different way from usual and strengthen them.  Hoping to sign up for another block after the October mid term holidays.  I also enjoyed a Pilates class last Thursday night, and hope to sign up for a 6 week course after the October break which will be tailored for runners.

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The lovely Autumnal weather has left me yearning for trail runs and I have been able to get back on the hills and the beach has also been a favorite of mine recently.

Six weeks to go now until the Double Marathon Weekend and I have completed a few 18 mile long runs with no significant pain in the hip during or after which is ACE!  I’m still being tentative with my training and not being tempted to over do things; a flare up in my injury now would be very disappointing.  Quality rest days in between decent long runs is the main thing I’m trying to be strict about.

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Today I am taking the kids to our Junior Running Clubs Handycap Race (where I assist with coaching) and am hoping to get them out on a bike ride later…….its not all about me!  We are busy with lots of things other than mummy’s running!!  Swimming Club, Highland Dancing, Junior Running Club, Brass Band and recently Badminton feature on our family plan!!!  My husband has signed up for the Kintyre Way Ultra Cycle event which is being launched next May and which I ran last year, so its all go in this house!

 

 

Glasgow. Another one ticked off…

Glasgow Clyde Marathon took place a few weeks ago and I was lucky enough to bag one of the few places to take part in this trial run year.  This race was mostly along river side  and canal paths, so not a typical ‘city’marathon where you pound pavements for 26.2 miles.  My legs are fatigued as I’ve said before from KW Ultra and then Arran Marathon so I was going into this marathon with no great expectations or goals in mind, just to complete another long run and prepare for the double.  I felt great and was running well until my hip/hamstring niggle I have been ignoring started to ‘twinge’ around 16 miles, I can run with it as my legs feel strong however by 20 miles I did decide it was better to ease back and not push it in anyway in case I did more damage.  Strava gave me a finish time of 3:50:21, chip time was 3:51:40 – 9th female\5th V40.  It was a great route to run, very scenic and there were lots of landmarks to keep you distracted!

https://www.strava.com/activities/692348173/embed/307df2427650ab48c1cd9031817b07949db86b5c

I took over a week off from running and then had my first few runs on the treadmill as I tried out my hamstring to see if it was going to flare up again.  All seems well.  I also had a massage which really pinpointed the point of the niggle, and I am self massaging with a tennis ball on the buttock as often as possible!!!

Adult improvers swimming has been going well, and I am improving slowly.  I’m enjoying the challenge of something new, although I can swim, this will hopefully allow me to try triathlon (even just once) and will be good for my running of course!!  This weekend we are heading away with the Kintyre Amature Swimming Club to a competition where my 8 year old will show me how its done!! The 6 year old can also out swim mummy, so I need to crack this swimming malarky if I’m to keep up with their antics in the pool, they can literally swim circles around me!!

Finally I had a lovely LSR yesterday around the forest trails of Loch Lussa.  Hills and abit of damp Scottish mist what more do you need to refresh your head!  Next week I will get back to club for some speed work and would like to get a yoga class in there somewhere.

10 weeks tomorrow until Maravan Day 1.