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Lochaber marathon 2011

It was hot. For 26.2 miles it was hot. It was a shock to the system. Until last week I was running in Ron Hill tracksters and a jacket. The body just wasn’t acclimatised for wall to wall sunshine. The forecast (which some of you know I check “occasionally” before a marathon!) said sunny intervals. Someone forgot the intervals bit.

Daffodils in Glen Nevis

Daffodils in Glen Nevis

Fortunately I had the forethought on Saturday to purchase sun cream from Morrisons. So by the start of the race I was well suncreamed and vaselined to an inch of my life. Fuelled by a lovely big bowl of porridge especially provided by my great B&B we were off.

I was experimenting running by cadence rather than by pace. I’d done this quite successfully during my training and it worked well. By keeping an eye on the time I could tell I was running to my plan at a steady pace. The plan had been to up it a bit after halfway but with the heat I reconciled myself to continuing steadily on. Miles 13 to 15 for some reason felt hard – I’d have expected this to be a good period seeing as we’d turned at 13.1 and were on our way back. Gel and stretch at 15 miles seemed to give me a boost and I felt a bit better for the next few miles.

From there on it really was just a matter of grinding out the miles. I had to stop to stretch another couple of times as I was afraid of cramping but fortunately this didn’t happen. I always start near the back knowing I’m a slower runner but from mile 14 I was passing quite a few people who were obviously suffering from the heat. From mile 20 the mind games started. Once we got to 22 I told myself it was just a wee 4 miler left, imagining my 4 mile route at home. Then it was a matter of teeth gritted saying to myself the next sign will be 23, then 24, 25 then just 1 more mile to 26. I even managed to push a little in the last mile or so and to sprint at the finish (I use sprint in the loosest sense!). 4:33 on the clock. I was happy with that considering the heat and the training I’d done.

PS  By the way, I now have a lovely brand new Montane lightweight jacket bought a few weeks ago when the forecast read sleet/rain for 10 April. That’s probably why it was so sunny…..!

PPS At mile 21 I consoled myself that I just needed to run 5 more miles and I never had to do another marathon if I didn’t want to… by the time I was in the shower I was already planning the next one. Sound familiar anyone…

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This post was written by TechnoTrotter on April 11, 2011

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Another one bites the dust

I wasn’t going to write about this – but I have a need to confess – I bombed another long run.

Now I know I can be prone to slight exaggerations on occasions but this time I thought my world was ending… my running world at any rate … it just felt awful – after only 7 miles. I was nearly in tears. I’m supposed to be a marathon runner (with an actual 26.2 to run in 6 weeks) – who’s shuffling after 7 miles. And this was the second time – (see previous post). However, after some wise words and a bit of reflection, it was agreed there were some changes needed to be made…

a) in trying to drop some pounds, I wasn’t eating enough, or properly, to fuel my runs. It was pointed out to me in all reasonableness that I couldn’t expect to do a day’s work then come home and run a long run on the calories I was presently consuming.

b) my style had gone to pot following the prolonged period of running in snow before Christmas – I was still doing a snow shuffle long after the thaw and was not lifting my knees properly.

c) my stretching regime (or lack of it) required revisiting

So I have reorganised my diet and am concentrating on my running form and increasing stretching. My last couple of runs have certainly felt better and my head has felt more positive with it. There is still hope for Lochaber and I’m certainly not giving up yet.

What I found interesting in reflection was the awful sense of panic at the thought of not being able to run or being such a rubbish runner that I had to give it up. I realised in that moment how much of my identity and who I am is now tied up inextricably with running.

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This post was written by TechnoTrotter on February 25, 2011

Dry run

Yesterday’s LSR didn’t happen – well 8 miles of the 18 happened but my legs were just not playing. Not that it was their fault I hasten to add.

It was totally down to me – and hydration – at least lack of it. I used to get bad headaches/sickness from not drinking enough (water that is – not beer!).  I thought I’d learned my lesson and it’s a long time since I’ve been completely knocked out by it – till yesterday…and still feeling the effects today.

So lesson learnt. Hopefully I’ll remember it. A blip in the marathon training but there should still be enough weeks left for a few more decent long runs.

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This post was written by TechnoTrotter on February 14, 2011

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Sanity restored

Many of you, like me, will have been going a little stir-crazy about not being able to run due to what are called “adverse weather conditions” (usually by public transport operators when your bus/train/plane delete as appropriate is cancelled and they need an excuse). While we runners tend to be a tough enough breed, there are limits to our ability to carry off ice skating manoeuvres without a) looking daft and b) sustaining a serious injury! Snow I can do – ice I just do not get on with.

I spent the days before Christmas frantically eyeing up pavements from the bus trying to judge runnability. I probably looked slightly odd peering anxiously through steamed up windows at icy paths but by this stage I was getting a tad desperate.

Now we’re back after Christmas and it seems that one of my routes is now runnable. I was out the door for the first time in about 10 days, having even refused the option of going to the sales (yes really!)  So no clinging to lamp posts or fences required this time or weaving round piled up snow which motorists had kindly dumped off their cars right across the payment - no today there was only dense fog of the pea soup variety. But I didn’t mind – really anything at all is preferable to ice  (no doubt I will be reminded of saying this when the gales and rain come tomorrow, as they inevitably will now!)

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This post was written by TechnoTrotter on December 28, 2010

Brrr

Today is cold – very cold. It is the first day when my feet have felt numb on my run and I’ve wished for a balaclava!

No more snow has fallen but underfoot is getting treacherous and could be an ice rink by tomorrow. My 2 mile country road route was runnable, with care in a few places, so a couple of rounds of that and another mile made up my 5 miles. The snow glistened in the sunlight and all in all it was another enjoyable, if v slow, run.

It could become more challenging in the next few days finding suitable places to run once I am restricted to running in the evenings and dark again.

Just to prove how cold it is – icicles hanging outside my window!

 

icicles

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This post was written by TechnoTrotter on December 7, 2010

A run of two halves

Today’s run was in two parts. As it’s getting difficult to find suitable running terrain without getting dizzy doing multiple loops I opted for a morning and afternoon run today. Got out on the road early before too much traffic when I could safely do a short road 3 miler without having to launch myself into a snowy ditch every time time a car approached!

Out again in the late afternoon just before it started to get dark. A combination of bits of two routes, the second half being on a nice farm track with compacted snow which allowed for a bit of decent running although was getting icy towards the end. Lovely sunset views over the countryside was the “icing” on the cake as it were.

 

evening light

evening light

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This post was written by TechnoTrotter on December 5, 2010

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Outside still beats inside

Today was supposed to be a rest day, which I took yesterday, so did 5 miles this afternoon. Conditions were not much better than yesterday so a very slow plod. Underfoot was a mixture of ice, snow and slush.

Once I resigned myself to a slow pace and reduced stride, I was reminded how good it was to be outside and, while ankles and legs ached from muscles not normally used, as always I felt the better for my run. Even in weather like this you would not persuade me onto a treadmill!

 

Today's sole spectator

Today's sole spectator

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This post was written by TechnoTrotter on December 3, 2010

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Snow shuffling

Today’s run was a bit more challenging than yesterday with underfoot conditions a lot more difficult after heavy snow overnight.

Add to that a complete white-out at one point and achy ankles from wearing my Walshes yesterday for the first time in a while, so I cut the run short at 5 miles.

On the plus side, nobody today told me as I was “aff me heid” – as no-one else was daft enough to be out! If this continues tomorrow might be even more challenging to find somewhere to “run” – I use the term “run” euphemistically as shuffle would be more accurate I fear.

 

my Walshes are down there somewhere!

my Walshes are down there somewhere!

 

calm after the white-out

calm after the white-out

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This post was written by TechnoTrotter on December 1, 2010

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You’re off your heed

The first proper run of my marathon training schedule. 6 miles – instructions said start slow finish faster. I started very slow and finished ever so slightly faster – but I did have the excuse of snow and wintry underfoot conditions!

I found a quiet country road – 2 miles down and up it – so I did that 3 times. Little traffic but one local who passed me twice couldn’t resist stopping the second time to offer the words of encouragement “you’re off your heed” – Scottish venacular for “you’re mad!. No sign of snow letting up yet so the mad runner may well be spotted running down and up, down and up, down and up again.

I’m actually a bit like a child and love the snow – it all makes running a bit more of an adventure from the usual plod.

 

bare tree in winter

 

snowy rural scene

 

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This post was written by TechnoTrotter on November 30, 2010

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Snow

Today’s run was in snow. I’m on the last 2 days of my base training – my marathon schedule (for Lochaber next year) starts for earnest on Monday (well actually Monday is a rest day on it which is the way I like a schedule to start!!). Someone obviously thought marathon training needed a little spicing up so organised some snow. Thank you (not).

Today’s run was fine, even enjoyable as snow still crisp and runnable. Tomorrow may be more interesting once it’s mushed and frozen etc. Everywhere did look lovely though.

 

winter9

 

trees in winter snow

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This post was written by TechnoTrotter on November 27, 2010

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