Ben Lomond Loop

My running has been feeling easier with very little discomfort in my chest over the past week or so. I was keen to do one longer run before the Tour of Helvellyn on Saturday 21st December to see how I coped.

I chose a route around Ben Lomond that good friends Marco and Matt had shown me a few years ago. It has similar terrain and climbs to the Tour of Helvellyn so I thought it would be perfect.

I was keen to have some company so I was really pleased when Neal said he was keen to come. Then a few days before the run a runner John had seen my post on my Facebook page and said that he and two friends would also like to come.

We met at Rowardennan at 9.15am and I realised that I knew Andy from various Glee runs. Andy’s brother Pete was the fifth runner.

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Setting off in pleasant weather!

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Our route

The first 5 miles or so is along the West Highland Way route so fairly easy going. We went on the newer lower path. It was good to get to know John, Andy and Pete as we ran along.

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The weather was reasonable until we left the West Highland Way route and headed up the hill. The light drizzle became more persistent rain and then heavy rain!

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Not too many view today!

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Ben Lomond in cloud!

The route is on decent paths for the first 15miles or so and then the route follows a river and then over very boggy ground. I had warned them that it would get boggy and I wasn’t wrong!  Our feet were really, really cold!

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We had a few rivers to cross like this one

The trickiest part of the route is heading across to the join the Ben Lomond tourist path. Normally it is fairly easy to navigate as you can see Ben Lomond but the cloud was very low and we were in heavy rain.

I did think it would be a good idea to take a compass bearing but my hand were wet and cold and I thought we could just follow the trace on my watch.

We did wander of my gps line but then regained it so I thought we were fine. The only problem was we were heading in the wrong direction. After 15 mins or so we came back to the same forest and river that we had left!

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So this time I did take a compass bearing and we made it to the tourist path but not without a few slips and slides! Another good lesson learnt in my ongoing map reading skills!

We were all absolutely soaking by the time we go back to the car park but we all enjoyed our day out – well most of it!!

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Thanks for your company everyone. It was a real confidence booster for me as that was the longest run by far I have done for 11 weeks and I didn’t have any issues at all.

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Review of November 2019

I carried on in November running 3 or 4 times a week and taking it fairly steady. The discomfort in my chest is getting so much better and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

In November I ran 79.77 miles which is well under half of what I would normally be doing but I’m happy with it as the majority of those miles were run without any problems.

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During November I ran three parkruns which has taken by total to 50. Here is a photo from my 50th run at Inverness parkrun.

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Linwood parkrun

I’ve had a good couple of weeks and feel things are slowly getting better by the week. I don’t feel the discomfort in my chest has completely gone but I feel so much better over the past few weeks. I’ve been running 3-4 times a week and I’ve not had to stop or walk which has been so encouraging.

We had a weekend away in Keswick last weekend which was good fun. On Saturday we took part in one of Joe Faulkner’s NAV4 course. There were 7 of us on the course with instructors Joe and Bennie.

We spent time in Abraham’s cafe going over the basics but heading out to the hills for lots of practical skills. The two things I took away was working with contours and judging distance. Katrina enjoyed it too!

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In the evening we attended the premier of the short film by Berghaus called ‘Behind the scenes of the Dragon’s Back race’ as part of the Kendal Film festival.

It was an excellent 30 min film about what goes into putting on an event like the 5 day Dragon’s Back. I found it really interesting as I was a runner at the event and also because I’m going to be part of the Event team for next year’s Cape Wrath Ultra which is also organised by Ourea Events.

After the film there was a 30min question and answer session with Joe, Nikki and Lisa.

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This morning I headed over to Linwood to run the parkrun. I parked a couple of miles away and had an easy run as a warm up. I was hoping to see whether I could run under 22 mins as two weeks ago I ran in 22:08.

As I was heading to the start I met good friends Donald and Elaine Sandeman who were visiting on their way north to visit their son.

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I started nearer the front than last time and quickly settled into a pace that I hoped I could maintain. There was a group of 4-5 including club mates Ryan and Mel. We ran together for most of the first lap.

During the second lap Claire and Alan pushed on and I couldn’t stay with them. I was just ahead of Ryan who was pacing Mel and that’s how we finished.

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I didn’t see Donald during the run but he was not too far behind.

Looking at my pace for the 3 miles I maybe set off a little too quickly! Two weeks ago my first mile was 7:15 and my third 7:05 whereas this time I slowed over the 3 miles.

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Since the Dragon’s Back in May I have ‘allowed’ myself plenty of treats food wise and I’ve not been weighing myself. For the first time for ages I felt it was my fitness that was slowing me down and not any discomfort in my chest so I weighed myself when I got home and the scales showed 12st 8 3/4lbs!

I feel I run better when I’m under 12st. I was 11st 8lbs in May for the Dragon’s Back so I’m going to be more disciplined for the next 4 weeks before the Tour of Helvellyn. I don’t  like to diet but I do need to be more disciplined cutting out puddings and having smaller portions. So I’m going to make an effort to lose a few pounds which definitely help me to run a little faster and easier.

I’m planning to do a longer run on Saturday 7th December which will be two weeks before the Tour of Helvellyn. I’m going to post my plan on Facebook to see if anyone fancies joining me. I plan to start from Rowardennan at 9am. The loop is just over 18 miles and has plenty of elevation and variety of terrain.

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Linwood parkrun and health update

Over the past few weeks I’ve been running 3 times a week around 5 miles. Most of my runs I have felt a lot better with very little chest discomfort so I feel things are moving in the right direction but it is not 100% yet.

I saw my doctor this past week to get the results of my blood test. The doctor was happy that everything was normal. Here are the results.

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My plan is to continue to keep running 3-4 times a week and hopefully the discomfort will eventually stop and I will be able to pick the distance and pace.

I’m still hopeful that I’ll be able to do the Tour de Helvellyn on Saturday 21st December.

Katrina and I are going down to Keswick next weekend as we have tickets for the Kendal Film Festival to see the Film Premier of ‘Behind the Scenes The Berghaus Dragon’s Back Race’

I had an email today from Joe Faulkner saying he had a couple of places on one of his navigation courses for next Saturday at Keswick so we have booked and I’m looking forward to it!

This morning I ran the Linwood parkrun. We did turn up last Saturday only to discover they had to cancel it because there was a big swimming gala at the On-X.

I did an easy warm up and felt okay so that was encouraging. I decided to start further down the field and take the first mile or so steady and see how I felt.

It is a bit tight for the first part so that made me run steady which was good and then once the path widened a bit I was able to get past a few runners until I found my place.

My stats show my 3rd mile was my fastest so again that was very encouraging. I could hardly feel my chest.

I was very happy with my run and time

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Photo from Linwood parkrun as I came to the finish

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Review of October 2019

This month has deliberately been an easier month as I’m trying to clear up the discomfort I’ve been feeling in my chest when I run.

I’m glad to report that I’m feeling a lot better and have been running without having to stop. The discomfort has not gone completely but it is so much better than it was.

I ran a total of 58.46 miles

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I’m planning to keep on running 3-4 times a week until the discomfort goes completely. I’m still hoping the take part in the Tour de Helvellyn on Saturday 21st December but we’ll see.

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Queen’s parkrun and update on health

Things have been progressing well over the past couple of weeks health wise. I took Ibuprofen for a week which was taken to reduce any swelling. This week I have ran Monday, Wednesday and Friday and each run felt progressively better.

I was able to run the whole way for each run as the discomfort in my chest was minimal. It has not gone completely but so much better than it was.

I decided to run the Queen’s parkrun this morning. This was the second event at the latest new parkrun to Glasgow. The added incentive is our church, Queen’s Park Baptist Church, is hosting a cafe after the run so we will be taking our turn to man the cafe.

It is a three lap course with 3 hills on each lap so it is definitely a hilly one.

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Katrina and I did a warm up lap which was a good plan as it gave us a clear idea of where the hills where.

I was keen to be sensible with my run as I didn’t want to push too hard and the pain in my chest to return. I ran with Katrina for the first lap and then tried to keep the pace up for the second and third laps.

I left Katrina on the first hill of the 2nd loop but she finished well and was also happy with their run.

I finished 54th (out of 263 runners) in 24:04. I was happy with my mile splits but the main encouragement was I hardly felt my chest so things are definitely going in the right direction.

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Here the results sorted by age graded …

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Katrina was 3rd overall if sorted by age graded so congratulations to her! We both have a time to aim for as we will be back to run again!

My plan is to continue to run 3-4 times a week for the next few weeks and hopefully the discomfort in my chest will go completely and I will be able to put a few weeks of harder weeks training before the Tour de Helvellyn in December.

I bought my road bike about 7 years ago and it needed a good overhaul so I took it to http://www.cornerbikes.co.uk/ in Shawlands and Steve did a great job replacing the wheels and fixing all the issues.

I picked up my bike and rode home after the parkrun. It was like riding a new bike. I’m really pleased with it so thanks to Steve at Corner Bikes.

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Update after visit to the doctor

I went to see my Doctor on Monday and he was really helpful. He doesn’t think it is a heart problem but more likely the muscles around my rib cage. He’s prescribed ibuprofen for a week to help with any inflammation.

The Doctor also suggested I see physio for some ultra sound. I’m also getting my bloods taken but he isn’t expecting them to show anything unusual but it’s good to check.

The Doctor encouraged me to keep running as I have considered taking a break for a few weeks but I’ve decided I’m going to do some easy runs for the next few weeks.

I’m due to run the Jedburgh 38 mile ultra on Saturday 26th October 2019 but the way I’m feeling at the moment is that I would rather give it a miss and get this sorted out first.

It may well take a few weeks and this time of the year is a good time to ease off and get myself ready for the challenges of 2020.

 

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