Interim running and a squibbly lens

This weekends run took in some nice wee hills round the local hill range known as Bennachie, where I did a New Years’ run almost 3 years ago, to celebrate being sober at Hogmanay for the first time since my early teens 😉

Ah, sobriety ties nicely with running and training; so what if I have to be on-the-wagon for Hoggers. It’s nice to be able to remember everything and then drive home at the end of the night. I’m not sure where this year’s Xmas and New Years day routes will take me: last year I made my way round a country road which normally would be too treacherous with 60 mph traffic. It was great being out there, practically on my own. New Years day I went to the local park and saw a purple-legged runner in shorts, despite the snow. Happy times.

My ‘point and press’ approach to photography has been getting me down a bit; the camera on the phone is good but not responsive enough and I’ve missed mony a scrumptious sunset or cloud pattern fiddling about (accidentally) with autotag. So I am hoping I will find a small but decent /proper camera in my Xmas stocking this year (although the official line is not to buy anything or if you have to, buy something consumable, so we have less to pack and move. I am looking forward to back-to-back bubble baths, eating chocolate and drinking tea in order to use up this prophetic bounty).

I’ve also been doing some town running and capturing things from around the city which I thought were interesting and which the ordinary man might not look at twice. A lot more journeys a la pied due to being a one car family at the moment, so when OH is in the office and I’m not, I have taken to packing a bum-bag and just getting on with my business. It sure beats traffic queues and parking issues both figuratively and sometimes literally. I even interviewed a potential employee in my running gear!

As Xmas approaches, so too does the decision on whether to start a training regime knowing that I will likely be living in another country by the end of it. I have an entry for the Brass Monkey half, which will more likely be a Fetch-fest social than an actual realistic attempt at a PB. I also have an entry for Lochaber marathon which Ms Jupp kinda made me enter on the premise that I could jog round and eat sarnies at the back with her. However, we’ll likely be gone by March so that is another (insert entry fee) which I won’t see again but it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do some training. Well, so long as the achilles doesn’t get any more painful, I might well start a 16 week programme and try and get my weight down a bit. This is the best time of year for me because I don’t eat turkey dinners and I don’t like a lot of stuff like Xmas pudding or mince pies 😉

A couple of new additions to the Nywanda catalogue of sports goods (yes, yes, I really should get round to proper reviews, I know, I know…..). The X-bionic range continues to be a favourite; not exactly flattering unless you’ve got washboard abs but you actually notice the difference in temperature regulation which is brilliant for someone like me who is prone to over-heating but then cooling rapidly as soon as I stop. I am loving the padded shoulder area of the Trekking top and I get a really decent fit from the men’s small.

With new seasonal colours and an ever-expanding and (to me) at times confusing range of INOV-8s, I’ve actually sniffed out a bargain replacement pair of Roclites for £25 which are the exact same model I first bought in complete ignorance of the brand in 2009, but which worked out brilliantly – see Teal 282s above.inov8shoe2 I say confusing for the barefoot/ road range with the transitional 4-0 arrows but then some of the F-lites are 2 arrows but the road shoes are called barefoot and some are transitional and I’m not even aspiring to become a forefoot striker (implode), ah, frak it, I went for the Purple Ones 😉

The 2013 edition of the Salomon S-Lab 12 set is out and they’ve slashed 40g from the weight AND added new features. All of which means the “bog standard” 12 is now discounted and voila, Trekinn will soon be furnishing me with an upgrade from the XA20 which has done me proud on longer runs, but which is becoming a bit tattered around the zip. I am very excited about this but will not be “breaking it out” until I have relocated. Something to look forward to. In the meantime, I am chucking out and rehoming any/all winter running gear and excess rucksacks. How many fleeces does one girl need? 🙂

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More Speyside Way

Another day off work and a stark contrast to the previous downpour- a random scorcher, which saw me reaching for the SPF 30. I drove up to SpeyBay and was immediately struck by the over-crowding at the WDCS, so the initial plan of running SpeyBay to Fochabers and back was slightly blighted, so I picked up a map and continued along the coast to Port Gordon, further along the SSW

http://www.wdcs.org/connect/wildlife_centre/find_us.php

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A couple of miles West to SpeyBay and once there I realised I was over dressed and overladen. Still, I’m working on the premise that if I’m carrying extra weight and running in a veritable ‘sauna suit’, come race day I will feel fresher and springier having become conditioned to being hot n heavy (well, I’m not sure it works quite like that, but….)

GEAR:Nike Lunarglide 2+, Haglofs full length intense tights, X-sock run sky run (worn inside out), Haglofs boxers, shockabsorber B4490, Rabs ultrasilk tee, Gore orange AS vest, Cosmics buff, white woodworm glasses, Garmin 205, Salomon XA 20, 1.5 Litres water + 2 electrolyte High5 zeros, 2 popcorn/yoghurt bars, cherry mulekick gels, usual rucksack stuff: 1st aid kit, TP (in waterproof wrapper), vaseline, mobile phone, hat, spare fleece, waterproof trousers and jacket(!!), OS map

The route from PortGordon was somewhat flat and although I stuck to the road and didn’t go on the disused railway I reckoned I’ll need the new scenery on the day, to keep me distracted from the pain of having done 31 miles at that stage! I wore road shoes as I’m more and more inclined to think I’ll get benefit from their support more than I’ll benefit from the grip of off-road shoes (I won’t be going SO fast, that I need rugged lugged soles to gain time).

Forest between SSW and main road, towards Fochabers from SpeyBay

Spey Bay was absolutely crammed full of bird-watchers, dolphin spotters and Grandparents with grandchildren, so I passed through quickly and promised myself an ice cold cocoa-cola at the visitors centre cafe on the way back. There were a few walkers on the main path and I met a dozen or so at about half way.

That wee sign indicated the narrow path……

Apparently there were literally hundreds of ramblers in Fochabers that day and they had dispersed to various wooded walks up and down the SSW. This group were very gracious and moved onto the more rocky side of the path, to let me passed. [I always get the feeling that I’m running on the more overgrown/ rocky side but if I swap to the other furrow, the original side looks better!]

The route was variable, from open landrover track (sometimes with deep furrows), to tow-path single file type paths but overall it was quite flat and pleasant through trees and with the Spey wide and majestic on the right.

As I neared Fochabers (and under the bridge I negotiated a digger and workies as well as very gnarly paths ribboned with tree roots), I was starting to feel the pace and the heat of the day and encountered quite a few cars around the main park, about 1/2 mile from town. The paths were hooching with walkers; anyone would think it was a public pathway 🙂 I ran into the town square and made my way towards the local supermarket and running shop for a break, before returning the way I came. The local Co-op did not have such a thing as chocolate soya milk, which I’d got into my head that I “needed”. I opted to go for an ice cold coke.

View up Fochabers high Street- Outrun green sign just visible on right

Scarlett was in the local running shop Out run and introduced me to her friend as “a proper runner”. Dunno about that! They both remarked that I was over-dressed and that my bag weighed a tonne. Yep. We had a chat and again, I was offered all sorts of help- tea, toilet, lifts to Buckie (soooo tempting) and the unexpected advice that my shoes were way too loose. I gave my usual response, that my feet swell and I get blisters etc etc. However, I kept the shoe laced tight and once I left, I adjusted the right so it was same pressure on the premise I could always stop and undo them but guess what? Scarlett was right! The tighter tied shoes made my feet feel a lot lighter somehow and I didn’t suffer from cut off circulation or blisters. Folks- trust the experts! I will definitely wear my shoes tied up to the final hole and tighter than before. (Oh and the shop stocks X-Bionic, including the latest Fennec tops which looks well lush….but I digress)

I had to negotiate several long strands of slow moving groups before heading back out of the town. Now you might have laughed at me buying an OS map for this route but I “did” manage to get lost and go off down a dead end on the way back….so if you see this bothy, turn back, you’re no longer on the SSW!

Fishing bothy. NOT on the speyside way

I met the walkers again, not a moment too soon as I had literally just finished, er, “using the outside latrine”……suddenly there were plenty school kids who didn’t want to budge over and I put a wee burn on, down in the 08:30 minute mile mark as I approached Spey Bay. I enjoyed a slice of Soreen loaf and a bottle of cooling water as I made my way back to Portgordon on warm-down for a total of 16.34 miles. A quick clothes change and I started the long but pleasant drive back to Aberdeen.

I’m leaving the Portgordon to Buckie miles for race day. My return to the town of my childhood will no doubt be an emotional one but I can’t wait to see it and run in (yes, not hobble, run) to the finish after the gruelling hill of the High Street!

Another Rescinded Entry

http://www.lakeland100.com/the-lakeland-50

It was with a pursed lip and a Grrr-Argh that I officially rescinded my entry to Lakelands 50 earlier this week.

Originally entered in the blazing gusto a.k.a. completing the Glen Ogle 33 (er, 32, er depending on your route, 31…) mile ultramarathon last year, injury and lack of training have combined to give me another DNS. Now I’m not interested in any incredulous BS regarding DNS versus DNF. The simple fact is that many races (the interesting ones) require you to pay your money (in this instance, quite a lot) up to a year in advance. Can I tell the future? Nope. I certainly thought I would be well trained by this stage and even after sustaining a fairly nasty achilles strain at the start of the year, I STILL thought I would recover in time.

Hope sprung eternal when, having four months away from anything resembling training, I still thought I could walk the route and make all the Checkpoints. I even found some fellow-walkers aiming to just complete and who offered a shoulder to waddle with, across the fifty mile route. But lets not kid ourselves, this isn’t a fifty mile stroll round a park, it’s in the Lake District over hills, dales and some fairly mountainous stuff! Having just managed round a couple of half marathons, I’m not going to risk anything by putting myself through a course which might just set me back even further.

Having said that, there was still a large part of me that wanted to try. God loves a trier and I’m definitely one of those. I would have made it round, not sure about how many pieces I would’ve been in. So Lakelands 50, I thank thee and please accept my £70 entry fee as testament to good intention but a tick in the Did Not Start or Do Not be Stupid as I’m calling it. I’m assuming the hills and the event will be there next year

That said, I AM willing to put myself through 36.5 miles and the ‘real’ 33 mile Glen Ogle course, later in the year. But I’ll be doing it properly, with (gasp) training, route recces, nutrition experiments and new kit. Gotta love an excuse for new running gear.

OK, don’t kill me but….

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Whoops. Rescinding entries. Coped with by applying the Retail therapy Plaster