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 …

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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.

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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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