Tweed Valley Ultra 65K (41Miles)

Tweed Valley Ultra Photo #2

Route Stats:
65k:            Ascent:    1574m/5164′
Descent:     1577m/5174′

Tweed Valley Ultra elevations

Nature of Terrain          km    %
(approx. guide):
Trail:                                 44             68
Multi-User Trail:            11              17
Tarmac:                            10             15

Three Breathren
After spending 6 months of training and using my day off to run 20-28 miles I did begin to wonder what I had let myself in for.  I enjoy the long runs of around 20 miles and hoped that I wasn’t kidding myself by thinking of The Tweed Valley Ultra as just two long runs in one!!! In my mind I was doing a 20 mile run with another 21 mile run straight afterwards.  I never really let myself contemplate the full 41 miles, it was always divided in to sections, for example the check points were at 10K, 11 miles, 21miles and 31 miles, so on the day I was ticking them off and once passed check point 4 at 31 miles I then began counting down the miles 10,9,8,7 etc and not thinking how far I’d come just that it was only a few miles to go……. my Garmin went flat at 35.5 miles so I never saw the numbers go up ward from there although I did get the tracker on the phone on at that point and got the final section recorded, I never got to see the evidence of 41 miles on my watch.  But hey that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!!

I had guestimated I’d not take less than 8 hours and the official time recorded is 8hours 40mins, which taking in to account I had a cup of tea at a check point and faffed about topping up water bottles and taking photo’s, used the loo twice (and went alfresco once!)  I think that time is justifiable.  I took a little walk on a cycle path around 35 miles as the switch from trail to tarmac caused my left knee joint some issues but after a brisk walk it sorted itself out and I was able to run round the final trails no problem.

The race started in minus three frosty darkness.  I had not planned to wear the hat which was on the mandatory list however ended up not taking it off!  The frosty weather never really went away and I was thankful I had my hand warmers inside my gloves!  The plus side of such cold weather was a beautiful frosty view.  The sun shone all day and the weather really was perfect.  Had it not been so cold the trails would have been a mud bath and underfoot would have been much less enjoyable.  As it was everything was frozen and feet remained dry throughout!

I’d not had much chance to properly think about the distance until I measured it out on a drive home from work this week…..that 41mile drive seemed to take forever!  I’m planning a good bit of resting up in December and enjoying some shorter runs!  However I have my eye on The Highland Fling (54miles) for 2019, (this requires entering a Ballot next year first) and Glencoe Trail Running Challenge in June 2018, and also hope to get to the Cause Way Coast to run in October.  I’ve entered Stirling Marathon and Hull 20 is on the agenda too with the ever present Mok Run and local events of course as well.   All of this is dependent on injuries and the kids busy calendar of events with Brass Band, Swimming Club and Highland Dancing…… oh and of course running!  (I am slowly brain washing my children in to enjoying running!!! They will thank me when they are adults I’m sure!!).

 

JRC Handycap Race
Junior Running Club Handycap Race (Airstrip)

 

 

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Is this the end…….?

A year ago it was Maravan time – ms=issing it this year but on for it next year!!

mrssmmf

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…

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Taper tantrums

I meant to keep writing some blogs over the course of my training for the Tweed Valley Ultra, not because I think many people particularly like to read my blogs but I like a diary of events for myself.  However I’ve jumped from my blog in week 1 to week 23 (of a 24 week plan!) with nothing in between!

So I’m on the taper now.  The worst part of the training for me.

  • I get anxious.
  • I get grumpy.
  • I get worried.
  • I don’t sleep.
  • I eat more.

Hate. The. Taper. 

After 23 weeks of planning and over 700 miles of running you’d think a few weeks of kicking back and enjoying a few shorter runs and easy days would be a delight…..?  Nope, the taper tantrums are setting in!!

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Ulverston, Cumbria

I’ve had a great summer of training, consisting of many trail runs around the local forestry roads in Kintrye and a few of the local races here and there.  While on my travels I took part in the Langdale Fell Race and the Borrowdale trail half marathon in the Lake District.  I enjoyed exploring Ulverston and sections of The Cumbrian Way while on holiday and enjoyed running and catching up with  my old Cleethoreps A/C and park run friends while visiting Lincolnshire.

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Langdale Fell Race, Lake District
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Borrowdale Trail Half Marathon, Keswick

I recently did The Cowal Way Ultra as a training run; my longest run coincided with the day of this new ultra and when it was brought to my attention (thanks Elaine!) it was too tempting not to catch the ferry to Portavadie with the rest of the running club relay teams to take part.   Unfortunately the 31miles I was expecting turned out to be 28.5 but it was a fabulous run and I felt great afterwards. My main problem area being my big toes!  Running uphill is great for me, its the down hills that take a toll on my feet in the end.  It was a good opportunity to trial run all my race day kit and hydration/fuel plans and I now realise my Garmin battery will not last the full race unless I am super speedy and complete the 65K in under 8 hours.  41 miles is far in the car let alone on two legs so I’m not putting any time pressures on myself.  Finishing is the main aim!  I’m looking forward to getting passed the 36 miles point and into new mileage territory, it will hurt there is no doubt about it………….

….anyway there is nothing I can do now to make me a better runner before race day.  I just need to avoid all people with colds and bugs and hydrate and sleep.  The last five months feels like it flew in but the next 13 days already feels like forever away!!

 

Kintyre, West Coast.
The closest thing I get to a Foam Party these days!

 

 

Week one. The beginning: another one!

London 2017Its been a while…..  but while I’ve not been doing a blog I have been running! Nothing has changed there!  Last time I wrote it was March, I was buzzing from Glentress Forest Trail Half Marathon in Peebles and training for London.  London training was run of the mill and I had a good run there comfortably doing a 3:47.  I was saving myself for Stirling marathon four weeks later, however coming down with a sinus cold the week before meant I didn’t go and to be honest I wasn’t in the least  bit bothered.  Road running had become mundane and another road marathon was not filling me with excitement.  I want marathon number 12 to be as much of a thrill as number one.

Now, though, I am excited! I’ve been spending the last 6 weeks accustoming myself to the gym and strength/cardio sessions which will play a more dominant part in my Ultra training this time and I have been resting the legs and taking it easy before the mileage becomes planned again.  I’ve started to think about my nutrition after a more relaxed period of  eating and embarked upon a healthier diet to get down to a more suitable weight again to run long distance at – I’m generally happy with my weight as it is but I know that any extra ‘junk in the trunk’ (or up top in my case!) isn’t going to make the miles any easier!

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Week one: I have a 50 mile plan and a marathon plan to go between.  Depending on the work diary, husbands where-about and the demands of being a taxi service to two very busy girls I will mix up the two plans and hopefully at the end of it I will be suitably trained to get round 41 miles on the of the Tweed Valley Ultra!!!

In the next few weeks I have some 10K races and hope to attend club sessions and continue with my gym & cardio.  Summer school holidays are coming and we have lots of exciting adventures planned including The Borrowdale trail half marathon in The Lake District  for me.

Bring it on!

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).

glentress-trail-half-sarah-2

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.

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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!