Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sunday 22/8 - A nice fast run

Ok so without me writing anything else, I must tell of my knee. Since the Devil I have been taking the running easy until the GSR. On my run last week, and my Friday night long run though, my left knee was giving me really bad trouble. It's not bad pain, but it's really uncomfortable for a while before getting really quite sore the further I go.

It brought me to a halt on the Friday run (11.25 miles) and later on that night I noticed the inside of my knee was really bruised. How weird! Used Ibuprofen gel but it was really sore to walk on on Saturday.

I think it might be my new orthotic insoles. The first time I wore them running was the first time the pain started. Problem, though, is that I thought they were meant to sort the overpronation. I have fallen arches in my right foot, and the insoles are good for supporting that. But apparently my left foot moves around far too much - it tilts out too much at the front, and rolls in at the back (or something along those lines...) The insole was meant to fix it but honestly it hurts so bad!

Good news though - my run today was great...without insoles! My knee is still a bit tender but just feels as though I keep aggrevating a bruise. Out running it didn't hurt badly at all. Plus I kept up a really good pace which I was happy about.

Apart from running, I have been doing loads of swimming - I love it! Most mornings before work I get a good spot in the pool and aim to do about 50 lengths. I'm getting quicker at it too - used to take me about 35mins, now I can do it in 25.

So the breakdown last week was:

Sunday 22/8

Time: 37mins
Distance: 4.45miles
Pace: 8.20min/mile

A really good run, kept up a good pace. I think I was actually faster most of the time, though the middle mile is a huge uphill so I did slow on that. Sped up again afterwards though. Knee feels fine afterwards too which is great.

Self-diagnosis had me in a bit of a fret on Friday night with the last sentence of the "Runner's Knee" diagnosis being "It will only get worse"...

Friday 20/8

Type: Swim
Distance: 50 lengths (fc)


Time: ~1hr45 (plus a few stops)
Distance: 11.25miles

Wasn't doing anything this Friday night and had had a pretty rubbish day at work, so headed out a long run when I got in. I met a friend right at the start so chatted to him for a wee while. Then en-route I stopped to help a frog which seemed to be stuck in the middle of a side road. That was right after seeing a deer skip out in front of me! (Feel like I should've been in The Sound of Music or something...frolocking through the open countryside and all that...). My knee hot really sore towards the end though and I walked for a couple of hundred metres before grinning and bearing it so I could get home to eat my dinner!

Wednedsay 18/8

Type: Swim
Distance: 50 lengths (fc)

Tuesday 17/8

Type: Swim
Distance: 50 lengths (10 bs, 40 fc)

Sunday 15/8

Type: Run/cycle
Distance: ~7/8 miles (? I really don't know and can't be bothered mapping it!)

On that roasting hot day I went a run while Derek cycled alongside. We stopped to help a lady who was lost for a while then continued on our way. Sat up at the waterworks for a little while then headed back. It was getting on a bit and I was absolutely starving so we stopped at the little shop to get some pick n mix (awesome). My knee was a little sore towards the end though, so was quite glad to get back.

In other news I went to the Collectormania event at Braehead on was great! Haven't been to a convention in so long, I miss going! Sadly one of the guys I wanted to see (from Stargate Atlantis) had to cancel, but I managed to get a pic taken with one of the guys from Star Trek Enterprise.

Spot the geek! I liked his moustache though ^_^

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Saturday 14/8 - An update and some thoughts on the Devil

Well, it has been a week and a day since my last post...and what a week!

Well...actually work has been incredibly boring but luckily I have been on a total high since the Devil o the Highlands race a week ago today. I'm not too sure how to tell the story of my first I guess I will just dive right in with the exciting/notable parts.

So yes we did end up having to get up at 3am. Got ready quickly and took some porridge "to go". Made a lot and ate about half of it in the car on the way up but I don't travel well and was beginning to feel sick so left the rest. Derek was driving and kept telling me to sleep but I was too excited to do so. He eventually just stopped talking to me so I just rested my eyes.

Arrived at Tyndrum about 4.45am and got my registration pack. Met up with Richard, his brother and sister in law and we all sat and listened to the pep talk. I was a little bit nervous but I just kept thinking that, if the worst came to the worst, I would just walk and that didn't bother me at all. My toe was all strapped up and I took 2 ibuprofen before the start. Started off with Richard but as soon as we started I knew he would end up ahead of me (despite his assurances otherwise!). He was going at a fair pace and it was definitely faster than I wanted to be running at.

On the grassy downhill past Tyndrum, just before the underpass, Richard sped ahead. I got caught behind a group of people and I saw him disappear into the distance. I didn't see him again until the finish.

I ran with another woman for the next few miles into Bridge of Orchy, just chatting about random things. Again she was keeping a fair pace but it was more manageable than Richard's pace, I thought. I had wanted to walk up all the hills (even the wee ones) but to be honest I barely felt I was having to push up them at all so just kept running with her. There were two guys on our tail who kept overtaking us, then we overtook them again on all the hills as they walked up them. One guy (who was quite loud and had been "discussing" several of his running feats, broadcasting them loudly then dispersing wisdom to the younger guy he was running with) shouted "oh look, show offs!" as the lady and I overtook them. I just smiled but could certainly feel a little bit of competition as he overtook us shortly afterwards!

In the end I think the lady and I ended up ahead of the two of them just before Bridge of Orchy. She sped up quite substantially on the way into BoO and we arrived there just about 7.10am. I couldn't find Derek but Kerr & Joan were there. They had missed Richard as they thought he would be through slower! I took a wee drink of capri sun and then headed on up the hill, figuring Derek had gone for a sleep.

However, some 3 minutes later I got a fairly frantic phonecall from D, asking why on Earth I had arrived so quickly! I think he was frustrated he missed me, so went to Inveroran and said he'd meet me there. I got there quite quickly and took a hand-picked flower to apologise for missing him. He gave me lucozade to take with me. I dumped my jacket and I grabbed my headphones as I knew the next stretch might be quite tough on my own.

The midges there were terrible and they kept on eating me even as I was running! When I got into Rannoch Moor though the wind dispersed them a little. I kept beside 2 guys for the first part of the stretch and then the 3 of us caught up with another guy who had a Maryhill Harriers top on. I really don't like overtaking people when I'm running like that, but felt I could manage a quicker pace so a little further on I pushed past them all. They, again, were walking the uphills but I felt quite strong so ran the vast majority of them. I passed another guy who started talking about needing a pee and how it wasn't easy in the compression shorts he had on. I laughed and said it was easier for him than me when, to my horror, he started describing how exactly it wasn't easier for him...i.e. what exactly the shorts were compressing (I had never heard of that part of the male anatomy before but I'm sure it wasn't something one would commonly discuss with a total stranger!!)...

After that "pleasant" chat he scooted on ahead of me (he probably just needed to get that off his chest) but I caught back up with him later. He had joined a guy and a girl and the 3 of them were running together. I walked up the big hill at the end of that stretch and the 3 of them stayed just ahead of me the whole way. On the way down, however, I could feel my toe getting a little tender as my feet were pushed to the front of my shoe. I slowed down quite substantially. I was also terrified of falling like I did on Conic Hill that time, as it really hurt my a*se.

Derek was waiting for me at the Glencoe ski club. My friend from work (Richard's sister) was meant to be waiting for me at the bottom but she had JUST left as I arrived to go meet Richard at the next point. Derek gave me a sandwich and more water then ran down the road with me. I arrived there about 9.10-15am and left some 5 mins later. I said a big thank you to the girls who were stopping the traffic on the A82 to let the runners cross. What amazing dedication they have! It was great of them and something I really want to thank the race directors for.

The next bit was fine though I saw my car abandoned at the side of the road about 1/2 mile from the staircase and panicked slightly! Apparently the parking was terrible so it was the only place Derek could park the car. Also Derek had given me the ham sandwiches instead of the quorn ones so I only had a little bit of bread to eat! I took cashew nuts at the bottom of the staircase and got my sports lucozade topped up with the really fizzy stuff. I had bought hundreds of food but a) didn't really feel like eating it and b) Derek generally parked the car away from the whw route.

He walked up the staircase with me which was great. I had a sandwich and an orange. I also opened my lucozade and nearly had my thumb blown off from the gas that had build up in the sports-capped bottle. I swore quite loudly in fright and had to apologise to the runner in front of me =S Said bye to Derek at the top and headed down the otherside. Passed a few runners on the way down, including one guy who fell. Both myself and the guy in front of me went back to help him. He had hurt himself and was limping a bit but thanked us and insisted we go on. He was a support runner and was stopping at Kinlochleven so I didn't feel so bad.

There was one guy in front of me and a girl in front of him. I overtook the guy on the way down but the girl was speeding right up. In Kinloch everyone was there whcih was great! They all shouted on me as I arrived from the riverside onto the road and it felt great. I arrived there about 12pm and had a little bit of pasta for my lunch then set off about 5 mins later. I also had a big slug of Coke which was AMAZING. I always crave full-fat coke when I run and it always makes me delirious with contentment when I drink some on/after a run. It's crazy!!

Derek hiked up the big hill out of Kinloch with me because that was the part of the course I was dreading the most. It wasn't so bad, but the sun was really beating down which wasn't so good. Derek told me that Richard had been consecutively 20mins ahead of me at all the checkpoints, so I was pleased to hear I was keeping a steady pace. The stretch across the moor was fine. I caught up with the guy and girl who were ahead of me on the way into Kinloch. Again, I didn't really like overtaking them but I was feeling good so just went for it. Again, the support marshalls on the moor were great and I was really appreciative of them spending their day providing assistance like that.

K&J were at Lundavra waiting for me. They gave me more water and a banana. I also took some more nuts and headed on my merry way. The next bit was a bit of a slog and I had to walk some of it. There were also a lot of walkers and I sort of felt that some of them were a bit annoyed as I passed them. I would never just barge past someone, even if I need to walk I just do so and say excuse me. But a few times I had to go onto the mud to get past which was a bit annoying. Again it was really sunny as I went through the forest but it had been wet so the ground was a bit boggy.

The forest was the toughest section mentally. I walked the majority of it and felt a bit fed up as I had been wanting to run as much as I could and felt I still had fuel left. It was over quickly enough though and, without looking at the time, continued on the downhill towards the Braveheart car park. I ran it from the top and overtook another runner in the process, but my good word it was thrashing my legs. That was definitely the toughest section physically. Mentally I was totally ready for it and knew I could keep going, but my legs were just so painful!

I also thought I was a lot closer to the bottom than I was as I remember when I was cycling up the way it seemed to be over fairly quickly. No such luck though. When the track flattened back out again I had to stop and walk as I was just so disheartened. Walked for a couple of minutes and then decided I should just go for it. I text Derek explaining I was a little pee'd off and wanted to cry (in not so polite terms) and he told me just to keep going. So I did.

I boosted up the songs on the old ipod, turned them up to an ear-splitting level and went for it. That didn't seem to be working though so I put on the one song "The Modern Leper" by Frightened Rabbit (see my musical related post somewhere in the mess below) on repeat. That did the trick. When I got to the car park I asked a guy how far it was and he said 0.8 miles. I was so relieved and just went hell for leather.

On the way loads of people were saying well done etc which was so nice of them. I was struggling to keep a good pace as my quads were really sore, but the music kept me going. This time though, I pulled the headphones off as I approached the finish. I got loads of claps and hugs as I crossed the line in 9hours 17mins, very happy indeed!! Richard had finished 8hours50 so I was glad to see I maybe didn't slow down as drastically on that last section as I thought I did!

The next few days I was sore and eating for the UK but it was worth it. I'm so glad my toe never played up and I would not have done so well if it wasn't for my support from Derek (plus Richard's crew: Kerr, Joan, Ruth and Colin). I'm so grateful to all of them. All in all, running the ultra was fantastic and I really had thought I would be somewhere between 10 and 12 hours. I can see myself wanting to get under 9 hours next year! I am also quite tempted by the Fling...

Having said that, I don't see myself running these ultras as a regular thing - maybe 1 or 2 a year. It occupies too much of your time for the training (I think the fact I did so well in the Devil after very little in the way of training was something of a fluke) and also places a lot of stress on your support crews who need to spend their whole day waiting around for you. I know people don't mind, but I would want to keep it a special thing.

Anyway, since the Devil I have had the following work outs:

Friday 13/8

Time: 40mins
Distance: ~4 miles

Went a run in the sun after work yesterday. Ran to deliver a letter to someone. My legs were sore though, even though they had been ok before. I therefore decided not to push it and just went back to the gym and stretched.

Wednesday 11/8

Type: Swim
Distance: 30 lengths (16 f.c/14 b.s)

I have also been evaluating my races left this year and have decided (belated) that my challenge is 131 miles in 6 races. I have the GSR half in September, Loch Ness Marathon on 3rd October then I have entered the Salomon "Pure Filth" ten mile race at Mugdock on 10th October. It looks cool and is right by my house, so why not!

Let me just conlude now (since this had taken AAAGES to write) with some pics from the Devil. Fun fun and more fun!

Me finishing, looking intently at that finish line!!

Richard and I at the start.

My car abandoned on Rannoch Moor!!

Me hiking up Devil's staircase.

At top of staircase.

Looking back into Kinlochleven.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Friday 6/8 - a gentle work out

Today I spent 20mins in the gym (I was so busy that was what I was resigned to) with 10mins doing a gentle cross train then 10 mins on the treadmill just to check my foot was ok.

Glad to report no pain - I even did a little gentle jog for a few mins at the end and no pain, so I am hoping for the best.

As for the rest of the day I was really busy, but am home now, showered and pretty much ready for my bed! Will have dinner about 6 then head to bed soon after. I'm hoping that my usual "being able to sleep at any time of the day" will hold and I will be fast asleep by half seven. I think I will need to up about half two/ it will probs take us an hour and a half to get to Tyndrum. We're aiming to be there for 5am so will probably leave here about half three.

I can't believe we need to be up so early! I am normally an early riser but Derek definitely isn't...and I don't normally get up to go run 40miles!

Anyway. Got plenty of ibuprofen, food, my toe is strapped up nicely and my new waterproof is the bee's knees.

Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

A pre-race update

My lack of blogging recently may have been an indication that either I've been very busy, or there is something that isn't quite right...

In a nutshell, I have fractured my toe. The pain never disappeared and even though ok when walking, was still really sore when running which wasn't a good sign! So I got an xray last Tuesday and was sent to A&E, where I was told I had a distal spiral fracture in my 5th toe. NOT good.

Here's a picture of the offender (the thick white slanted line on the small toe):

Ok that's not actually my toe, but it's pretty much a replica of what I saw in the hospital, only my toe has a fracture where that one is and also down the other side (hence the "spiral"). So I haven't been running. The only saving grace is that the doctor says it takes 4-6 weeks to heal. The Devil race is 4 weeks exactly from the day it happened so I am hoping that it will be ok to run on. She says ordinarily she would tell me not to run but she knows I am a "stubborn thing" and I will run anyway (: But I am to stop at the first sign of pain so that's what I will do!

In other news (as if the toe fracture isn't bad enough) I have come down with a horrible cold. It is only in my head just now though, so I rested yesterday and today and am hoping to be on the mend come Saturday. If it isn't one thing it's another, eh??

So here's the "non running" workouts (despite a few wee runs before the enormity of the toe situation hit in...) over the past few weeks:

Monday 2/8

Type: Cross Train
Time: 1hr15mins

35 min xtrainer (gleuteal work out!)
30 min tough cycle (cross country)
10 min tough row

Thursday 28/7

Type: swim
Distance: 40 lengths (20 f.c/20 b.s)

Wednesday 28/7

Type: Cross Train
Time: 30 mins

20 mins tough xtrain
10 mins rough row

Monday 26/7

Type: swim
Distance: 36 lengths (20 f.c/16 b.s)

Sunday 25/7

Time: 1hr 5mins
Distance: 5.5miles

Run with Dad through the woods. Toe was ok when I was running at a fairly slow pace but got a lot sorer when I went off myself and went a wee bit faster, so had to turn back.

Saturday 24/7

Time: ?
Distance: ~2.5-3miles

It was peeing down with rain but I just wanted to get out and run. Started off too fast though and my toe really hurt, so I slowed the pace right down. Ended up walking a little bit too.