Ben Lomond Run

Thursday night so it must be a Ben Lomond run! Another amazing evening weather wise.  This week it was just Cammie and I as Jonny is doing the Fling on Saturday so obviously didn’t join us!

Cammie had planned an easier week so initially talked about just going up 40mins and 20mins down but I persuaded him to go all the way but take it slower on the way up. He decided to monitor his heart rate and keep it below 155.

We started together  but I pushed on after half a mile or so.  I decided to keep an eye on my HR aiming for around 138. It was such a beautiful evening.

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I wore my North Face Enduro pack and realised how much more comfortable it is than the Ultimate Aspire one.  I also wanted to test my Sketchers Go Ultra 2 and they passed with flying colours.

I reached the top in 1:11:45 with a HR of 134.  Time for a quick photo then I set off on the downhill run.04-23 top

Last week I really struggled with my Hoka Mafate Speed as they pushed against my bunion. It was so good this week being able to run down comfortably.  I’m still slow compared to others but at least I was faster than last week!

I reached the car park in 46:24 so just dipping under 2hrs for the round trip.

04-23 car park

Cammie arrived a few minutes later having taken 1:21 up (with a HR 156) and 36mins down (HR 139).

04-23 cammie

So another cracking run. Next week I’ll be doing my double Ben Lomond run in the built up to Cateran 55.  This weekend we are off to London for the marathon. Katrina’s number is 28748 (Green start) if you want to follow her progress!

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Two speed sessions

My training plan this week is going to be a bit different to my normal week as we are off to London for the weekend as Katrina is running the London Marathon.  That means I won’t be able to run much at the weekend.

I decided to go our Kilbarchan Fartlek session on Monday and then on Tuesday I joined Katrina who wanted to have a run on the track in preparation for the Marathon.

Monday – Fartlek session

I wasn’t sure how my legs would respond after my 30 mile recce run on Saturday so I decided to take the first set steady and see how I felt.

The session was [5mins (2mins recovery), 3mins (90secs), 2mins (1min)] x 3

There were 3 of us doing the session, Ryan, Jennifer and me. My legs did feel quote heavy for the first set but then I was pleased that I felt I was running a bit smoother for the 2nd and 3rd sets. Ryan set off strongly on the first set and was leading the way but slowed down after that. Jennifer ran consistently throughout the session!

I was happy with my stats …

fartlek 04-20

Tuesday – track session

Katrina needed a lift to the track so I decided if I was going anyway I might as well join in. It was good to catch up with Neal and Caroline who are also running London on Sunday. We arranged to meet up at the Expo on Saturday.

As a number of runners were doing London the session round the track was 60secs fast 60secs easy for 30mins. I can’t remember the last time I ran on a track but it doesn’t make for the best photo of your route …

route 04-21

I ran a bit with Katrina, Caroline and Neal and pushed harder on some efforts than others. I ended up running over 5 miles so happy with this extra session.

I’m taking Wednesday off then plan to run Thursday (Ben Lomond), Friday (lunchtime at work) and Saturday (early before we head to London from Leek).

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Cateran Recce Run

I ran the Cateran 55 ultra trail race in 2010 and have wanted to go back and run it again as it’s such a great route and really well organised by Karen Donoghue and friends.

I always like to do a recce run if I can as it helps me to get as much right as I can before the race. If I can’t do the whole route I prefer to do the second half as I’m more likely to do be on my own.

Katrina and travelled to Alyth on Friday night and camped at the Fiveroads campsite which was excellent. It was Katrina’s birthday so we went for a lovely meal at the Alyth Hotel!

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I set off from the campsite at 7.50am. It was lovely early morning and it just got better and better all day. It was 1.40 miles to the Den of Alyth checkpoint.

It’s quite rare for me to do a long run on my own but I enjoyed it and was able to work on a number of things.  Here is the route I took …

route 04-18

I’ve decided not to do a blow by blow account of my run but to pick out some important lessons I learnt from the run. But before I do that here are some photos I took on the day.

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The bridge at Blairgowrie just after the checkpoint point

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Lots of signs to keep you on the right track

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This old house is one of my mini-splits on the way to Bridge of Cally. Note the blue sky!!

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Very runnable downhill path to Bridge of Cally.

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This is taken just over 2 miles after the Bridge of Cally checkpoint

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The path that follows this wall can be very muddy and tricky to run on

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One of my favourite bridges

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River at Kirkmichael. In 2010 I followed the river walk rather than the correct route on the road

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Biggest hill of the entire route is on the final leg

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I met a couple training for the Cateran Yomp which takes place 4 weeks after our race. They took this photo for me

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The gate at the top of the pass. It’s all downhill from here!

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The burned ruins of the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel

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At the finish. I wonder if the weather will be as kind in 4 weeks?

A few things things I learnt from the recce

# Shoes

I bought a pair of Sketchers Go Ultra 2 on Friday and wore them for this run on Saturday. They were very comfy and didn’t cause any problems for my bunion. I’m going to wear them for the Cateran race.

# Rucksack

I decided to try running with my Ultimate Aspire pack but I regretted it after an hour or so.  It was rubbing my back and the water bottle can fall out so I have a hair band to fix on which is a pain.  So I won’t be using this pack for the race. I’ll go back to my North Face Enduro pack which I really like.

# Sun glasses and cap

As it was a sunny day I wore a cap and I took my sun glasses. The cap worked great and kept the sun out of my eyes. The sun glasses wasn’t so good as they kept steaming up.  I’m going to buy a visor as I think that will be even better and I won’t take my sun glasses as they spent more time on the top of my cap than on my eyes.

# Route

The route is very well marked and it is easy to follow ….. but if you don’t concentrate then you can easily miss a post as I discovered! Between Bridge of Cally and Kirkmichael I must have missed a path to the right off the main track I was on.

I ended up climbing to the top of a hill only to discover it stopped. I had the gps trace on my Suunto and I had been following it closely except for this bit.  I ended up having to make my way down against through bracken and over two 10ft hight fences plus another couple of smaller fences.

route 04-18 detour

The red line is my route. The yellow arrow where I should have gone!

I reckon I added on an extra 0.75mile and at least 20mins! I’m glad I did it in a training run as it would have messed up my race big time if I did this in 4 weeks. So big lesson is to concentrate and don’t miss any of the clearly marked posts!

# Heart Rate

I wasn’t too bothered about the pace as I was keen to take some photos and enjoy the day. But it did show me how disciplined I need to be if I am to keep my HR in a certain zone. I had my watch on the gps trace most of the day so wasn’t really paying much attention to my HR.

Sometimes it went higher than my target but often a low lower and I didn’t respond.

# Mini-splits

Even though I’m not going to be too worried about my splits on race day as I’m going to run to my HR I do like to have them to check how I’m doing. So I worked out where they are.

stats 04-18

I had a great day and really enjoyed being on the route again.  I’m looking forward to the race on Saturday 16th May.

Katrina picked me up at Spittal of Glenshee and we enjoyed a wander round Blairgowrie in the afternoon.

We stayed at the campsite another night and went for a run together this morning before enjoying a full Scottish Breakfast as a treat!

Next weekend is all about Katrina as she is running the London Marathon.  It will be strange not being involved with the Highland Fling for the first time in 9 years but supporting Katrina is the priority. I’m really looking forward to my role as cheer leader.

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Midweek Runs

On Wednesday and Thursday I had planned runs with Jonny. Besides enjoying having a couple of runs together we wanted to check out his heart rate compared to mine. Jonny is doing the Fling in just over a week and is keen to have a go at running to heart rate. Jonny bought a new Suunto Ambit 3 with HR strap so the idea was to do 2 runs together and compare our HR. Then we could we could work out Jonny’s target HR for the Fling.  We are hoping Robert will have some input as well!! It didn’t quite go to plan ….

Wednesday – road run

We ran a very similar route to last week but we started and finished at a different school. It was a lovely afternoon and we enjoyed the run. We chatted about our HR’s as we ran and every now and then compared rates. I’m almost 10yrs older so we would expect mine to be lower.

At the end of the run my average was 129 bpm and Jonny’s was 159 but his had a large spike for 6mins or so at the start which doesn’t look right. So we (actually Steven H who commented on Strava!) thought that it was probably more like 153.  So about 24 bpm faster than mine.  What does that say about Jonny’s fitness??

Here is a comparison of our HR graphs taken from Strava ….

comparing HR

We both had a gradual increase as we must have picked up the pace a bit.

Thursday – Ben Lomond Run

Another glorious evening. My friend Cammie was joining us so we met at Drymen and went down in one car to Rowardennan. I asked a guy at the car park to take a photo of us before we set off.

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Me, Jonny & Cammie

Cammie & I were ready to go but Jonny was having trouble pairing his watch to his HR strap.  We tried all sorts of things but to no avail. It was a shame as we were keen to have another run to help compare HR’s in planning for the Fling.

After a few minutes of trying we gave up and set off. We did this run a few weeks ago in the snow, ice and wind. The difference was amazing. Blue skies and hardly any wind.  I’m glad I took my camera to capture the moment!!

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Cammie & Jonny striding up with Loch Lomond in the background

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I led the way up with Cammie and Jonny following. We reached the top in 1hr 19mins. There were 3 tourists from Germany I think who said they had taken 5hrs to walk up! They kindly took a photo of us.

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As soon as we set off Jonny and Cammie were away and I was left behind. I’m normally slower on the way down but I was even worse this time as I struggling with my shoes. I have been trying out the Hoka Mafate Speed. As soon as I tried them on a few weeks ago they rubbed my bunion on my right foot and they were uncomfortable. I wore them for our 40 mile Lakeland 100 recce and I could feel my bunion all day. I swapped to my older Hoka Stinson for the second day and it was absolutely fine as there is more room in the toe box. I was hoping they would expand a bit but knew that this run would be a good test.

On the way up it wasn’t too bad but on the way down it was putting too much pressure on my foot and it was quite uncomfortable.  Half way down Jonny waited for me as he was concerned I was taking so long! I explained the problem then I encouraged him to push on.  He waited again further down and we ran in together. In the end I took off my sock and that helped a bit.

I really do like the Hokas but I find this a bit frustrating that they have changed the width and now they don’t suit me. I could wear my Stinson’s for Saturday’s Cateran recce and the race but I don’t think they have enough life left in them to do the Lakeland 100 as well so really needed an alternative.

I’ve been wearing Sketchers for my road runs and really like them. Jonny and Dave have started using the GoUltra 2 version for off road so I decided to buy a pair today from the store in Glasgow and I’m going to try them out on my Cateran recce tomorrow.  Then if that goes well I’ll wear them for the Cateran race and hopefully the Lakeland 100. They do feel a lot more comfortable as they have a wider toe box.

GoUltra 2

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Club Fartlek Run

I’m enjoying going back to the club for our Monday Fartlek session. I’m planning to go once a fortnight if it fits in with my longer runs at the weekend. This week I had run 10miles on Saturday and 10miles on Sunday so felt ready for a quicker session on Monday.

There were four of us in our group. Steven and Norman were only doing 2/3rds of the session as they have the Fling and Boston Marathon respectively coming up in less than two weeks. This left Jennifer and myself to do the full session.

The session was a ladder with 1min (30secs recovery), 2min (1min), 3min (90sec), 4min (2min), 5min (2min), 5min (2min), 4min (2min), 3min (90sec), 2min (1min) 1min.  Steven and Norman missed out the two 5mins in the middle.

It was quite windy and wet but not too cold so I managed fine in my long sleeved top. I was keen to run as hard as I could with the aim of getting at least 5miles from the 30mins of faster running which is always my bench mark of a good run. With 2 x 5min in the middle it would be a challenge but I like a challenge!

I set off behind the other 3 and chased them down which gave me something to aim for. Once Steven and Norman turned back I tried to start far enough back to catch Jennifer half way through the run each time and it worked out well. I also think it gave Jennifer someone to chase over the second half of the run.  Jennifer left a comment on my strava post to say that she ran 4.6miles which was her furthest so it worked well!

Once home and stats downloaded I was pleased to see I had made the 5miles …

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My plan for the rest of the week is a lunchtime run with Jonny tomorrow (Wed) then Jonny, Cammie & I are doing a Ben Lomond run after work on Thursday. Saturday I’ll be running about 30miles from Den of Alyth to Spittal of Glenshee on the Cateran Trail as my recce for the race on Saturday 16th May.

I watched the video I made of the race to remind myself of the route. I’m really looking forward to getting back on the trail again.

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Weekend Runs in Inverness

We were up in Inverness for the weekend visiting Jo & Jono.  I wanted to run 20 miles over the 2 days so decided to do a road run on Saturday and a off road run on Sunday.

Saturday – road run

Katrina is in taper mode for the London Marathon so wanted to do about 5 miles. We set off about 8am and ran the first 2 and a half miles together before Katrina turned round and ran back and I carried on.

Inverness Loop

It was quite cold and windy especially on the way into Inverness as I was running into the wind. It is quite a hilly route especially after running past Ragmore Hospital. A lady of her mountain bike went past me on the flatter part but I caught her on the hill! I was feeling good and enjoyed my loop around Inverness.

As I finished the run I suddenly realised it was Saturday and we could have done the parkrun! Ah well next time. After the run we went with Jo & Jono to Simpson’s Garden Centre for a well earned breakfast where they do any 6 items for £5.99!!

Sunday – off road run

Jo & Jono live near Culloden Wood and we’ve been for a walk around there so I worked out a loop of about 2.5 miles which I did 3 times. The first one I ended up out of the woods and had to find my way back in again. route 04-12 I got it right on the second loop and then for the third went the other way round.  I really enjoyed the run and was back in plenty of time to go to church.

Over the weekend I was following the World 24hr race from Italy. The live updates were excellent so it was great to be able to follow our friends and see how they were getting on.

Robert Osfield has received his Inov-8 jacket for winning my latest “Guess My Time” competition. He wore it for a race he did which he won!!

The jacket arrived yesterday so I got to try it out for the first time today when doing the Skidaddle Great Tartan Ultra (Inversnaid to Callander along the newly opened Great Trosssachs Path).  Not the greatest picture of me with the Jacket after completing the 31 mile event.  Small field in today’s run allowed me to find myself at the front at mile 22.  Got a bit carried away and burnt up the last nine miles for the win.  One lucky jacket :-)

Congratulations Robert! jacket - robert

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Midweek runs

I was really pleased how quickly I feel I’ve recovered after our 55 miles over two days. I took Sunday off but have ran Monday and Wednesday so far this week.

Monday – morning run

I was up and out at 7am for a gently run. I spent the whole run going through the 55 miles we ran over the weekend. I reckon now I have a clear picture in my head of those miles. It makes such a difference knowing what is coming next and not having to be concerned at all about the route. I’m really looking forward to the race this year but there is lots to look forward to between then and now so I don’t want to wish the time away!

Wednesday – lunchtime run

I was back in work for a day so arranged to go for a run with Jonny at lunchtime. When I packed my bag before work it was quite cold so I packed a long sleeved top plus jacket and gloves. I didn’t need the last two and wished I’d put in a short sleeved top as it was pretty warm. Hopefully Spring is here to stay.

We had another good run together though I think we went a bit quicker than Jonny normally goes for a road run. It will do him good. Jonny is going to buy a HR monitor so we chatted about his Hr target for the Fling. We have a Ben Lomond run planned a week tomorrow so if we compared HR after that run it should give Jonny an idea of what to aim for in the Fling.

Tonight I will aim to get the latest whw race podcast out. It is a long interview with Robert Osfield but very interesting and well worth listening to!

We are off to Inverness tomorrow for a long weekend so I’ll be doing a couple of runs there plus a run on the Braes in the morning before we go.

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