Are we there yet? Is Spring awakening and letting us in? I’ll train in any weather because ‘needs must’, but after a winter where I felt the cold more than ever I really look forward to some Spring sunshine, even if its still chilly, I’d welcome any form of sun on my skin.
Winter began with the Tweed Valley Ultra, which I finished and celebrated with a month or more of easy running, yoga and Christmas food and beverages. It was an unfortunate time of year to be coming in to a period of down time as I would have probably only taken two-three weeks recovery, however as mince pies, mulled wine and chocolates crept into my usually diet friendly house I gave in to all things naughty and over indulged my way in to 2018, emerging slightly plumper but very satisfied in the New Year when I recommenced my Marathon Training for Stirling!!
Stirling Marathon is on 29th April and I’m nearing the end of the training plan now, long running on the road again after a year on the trails is okay, but not as much fun. Road running serves a purpose and I’m back where I want to be with my fitness just in time for my last few long runs. My legs will never be as fresh as they were at my first Marathon in Manchester, due to the last four years being spent on more training and less recovering and what with running marathon distance 15 or more times (yes I’ve lost count) topped off with three ultras I can’t expect to be ‘fresh’ – but I’m not passed my sell by date yet so hopefully get a decent run in Stirling!!
I’m looking forward to the local races: The Crinan Puffer, Carradale Canter and Mull of Kintyre race weekend. I’m also planning a trip to Mull and then to Cleethorpes half marathons I the Summer. (I had been planning Glencoe however cancelled it due to the girls having a Highland Dancing Competition which is now rescheduled anyway so I could have went….I changed my plans to do Mull instead).
What I’m most looking forward to is my Easter Holidays in Cumbria and a run round the old routes I love the most.
Nature of Terrain km %
Trail: 44 68
Multi-User Trail: 11 17
Tarmac: 10 15
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!!).
‘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!!
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…
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!!
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.
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!!
Its 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!
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.
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 local 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).
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!