Thursday, 29 December 2011

2012 approaches

December has been a slightly odd month. I have been doing our club Decembathon which involves running at least 3m every day. It's been OK and I have done it so far but I do miss rest days and there is a temptation not to run v far.
2011 has been a year of 2 halves for me. The 1st half was terrible but the 2nd pretty good on the whole. I have done 2 marathons (both v slow) and 4 halfs all pretty good. In addition I have done the OMM and lots of other races.
In 2012 I am helping organise a marathon in Strathearn which should be v exciting. We already have 16 entrants.
I have very few goals for 2012 except to run injury free and race as much and as well as I can. Of course I could put some times down here for various distances but there's little point in doing that as one calf strain blows it.
I feel very enthusiastic about the next few months. Lots of races planned and we are moving back to Comrie in 3 weeks where I like to do my running.
I wish anyone reading this a healthy and happy 2012.
As Brucie would say if he hosted a show called scrictly running, keeeeeeeeeeeeeep running !

Saturday, 3 December 2011

La Gomera

I am a week into a 2 week holiday on the lovely Canarian ialand of La Gomera.
The weather has been idyllic for getting a tan but running is tough with barely a flat bit of road to be seen.
I have run 7/8 days here so far  and not a run over 7m.
In general I have felt sluggish and legs sore but its all good as it is so lovely running in the sun and warmth.
I have undertaken the Decembathon which is a challenge to run every day in December at least 3m. So far so good with at least 4m done on each of the 1st 3 days. I am also swimming every day in a lovely pool and even going to the gym

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Glen Clova Half marathon

Its quite a long drive to this end of season, popular half. Beth, Colin and I arrived at the start in good time and met up with Al, Kaz, Murray, Tony and Fiona.
My expectations were low due to a lack of real training and feeling rotten the night before. However low expectations are no bad thing.
It was a stunning day with clear blue skies and 10deg.
We set off at 12 and I quickly settled into a comfortable rhythm taking the hills as they came and enjoying the views. I was determined to take it easy for the 1st half as  had doubts about how well I would last. In fact I felt pretty good and turned around feeling good. About 8-9miles I became aware that I was dipping and took my gel. I was passed and decided to hang on to him. I soon started feeling better and retook the guy who had passed me. The 10 miles arrived at 65.15. I was able to work hard over the last 3 miles and overtook 1 guy.
I finished feeling fine in 85.20 and 15th which I was delighted about. This bettered my 2006 effort by 90secs.
I would say that this was my most enjoyable race of the year which is what it is all about after all.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

OMM 2011

This race was so far out of my comfort zone that it was in another universe. Mountains/bog/heather/tussocks/rain/wind/mud/navigation... but it was great.
I cant say how impressed I was with the whole thing. How anyone organises this massive event is beyond me.
After a week of refining the contents of my new OMM rucsac  I met Sam on the Friday evening to make sure we both new how to put up my tent. His ruck sac was mainly full of sleeping bag so he took my old one.
I was carrying 16lb by the time it was all assembled which is more than I am used to running with!
Our start time was 10.19 and our bus left Cultybraggan at 9.20. There were literally buses every minute! Unbelievable. And there were temporary traffic lights to make sure it all ran like clockwork which it did.
We had a great cooked breakfast courtesy of Andrew Scott and his team and set off for St Fillans.
The rain had been falling all morning but started to clear as we headed up the track to the start which left just west of the Four seasons hotel.
We had 10min to kill and then made our way to our start in B class. 26km lay ahead of us, surely that wouldn't take more than 5-6hrs? We heard that one elite team had taken one look at the map and gone home, hard to believe but true.
Off we went on time. Fortunately Sam seemed to know what he was doing and started up a track, not too bad so far. Then it started to rain and didn't stop for the next 7 hrs. We headed west, took in check 1 and then 2 with had John King marshalling and doing sterling work in torrential rain. All the marshals were awesome, what a job they had !
Then our 1st long stretch of the day across tussocky moorland. I fell, cramped, fel cramped then did it all again. Then our 1st significant burn crossing, Chucked the bag across and went for it, got wet, laughed as another runner went in head 1st, applauded as Sam stayed dry. West over a hill, checkpoint 3, hurrah.
Check 4 manned by a late middle aged woman, where do these amazing people come from? it was horrendous for her and all the other marshals. Down to the pipe and wow, some actual running for a bit. So far we had been mainly walking albeit quickly.
Next the long stretch east over the corbett, but which way? We spent an age checking, checking getting cold. Made in to Glen Finn and up,up,up. Sam did start to struggle with cold, and uncertainty as to where we should be going. Big hill, gale force wind, horizontal heavy, heavy rain so hard it hurt but we have to keep going, no option really. Eventually we get to the top of something in thick mist and find 2 girls, one in shorts!!! Find others also lost. I take a punt and head along a path and there it is, the long awaited trig point we are all looking for. 857m up and its about as bad as it gets, so down we go and find check 5 next to a raging burn. Checkpoints are like honeypots with lots of other runners buzzing around them, then its relative isolation until the next one.
Off we go sniffing the end but its a long way. Heading for Glenalmond and we go down a long way, sometimes on our backsides, then up again. There it is another checkpoint, this one next to a raging torrent we must get across. None of these checkpoints are easy to find. This is tough.
On we go with a real sense of the end in sight. We get into Glenalmond and slowly pick up numbers 8 and 9.Well done Sam you have got us to half way, I am in awe.
We finish in 7.09hrs. How can we have taken so long? That isn't even a decent walking pace for goodness sake! However we finish 55/120 or thereabouts, not bad, we are pleased.
The camp is already full of tents so we pitch ours just as the v brief respite in rain comes to an end.
Strip off and get in the tent and try to get organised and warm. We both opt for lying in our bags and doing nothing, hoping not to have to emerge again.
Phil and Rhian are next door and they have had 2.5 hrs more fun than us, god help them!
We spend the evening eating and warming up.
At 11pm we try to sleep. I toss and turn all night. Do I sleep? Maybe, but I'm not sure.
The hour goes back at 2am, I hear it above the gale outside.
At 6am we hear a deranged piper doing his thing, is that Rob Bolton?
Come on Sam, up you get, more fun today.
We breakfast and get ourselves together for our 8.53 start. It is a lovely morning, it is a beautiful glen, we are very lucky to be here and to be able to do this. We set off and do some running.  More hills, some big ones. We end up on a boggy, peaty, moorland which is good because we can run across this. The mist comes down or do we go up to it? It is dry though and we move along quite well.
Eventually we reach the point when we turn towards Ben Chonzie. We have a fenceline  to follow, no compass required, I bolt and run, passing many people and feeling great. We reach the foot of Chonzie and I bonk big time. Up,up,up following a line of runners up a gully. Where is the checkpoint? We follow the crowds and there it is. Then we make our only real error and head over Chonzie. This involves a big climb and loses us a lot of time. I bonk again and Sam gives me one of his precious gels which helps. This event is all fluctuating energy levels for me.
We find the Invergeldie track and head down and across to check 6. Then down and up along the muddiest track in this race which is saying something.
We make the Carroglen track and run through the farm and down the road. I bonk+++. This is awful, I can barely put 1 foot in front of the other and check 8 is up another hill, will this never end?
Finally we find 8 and Sam feeds me some energy bar which does help after 10min. We are on the TDS, OMG we are actually going to finish this. Check 9 is just above the cattlegrid on the  Balmuick Rd. We turn onto the forestry track above the golf course and run. We pass lots of people and I start to feel quite emotional. Check 10 and then we race along the river to Laggan park and the finish.
There is Elizabeth, Liz, Kath, Kerry and Nicola. We finish.
What an event.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Looking forward to the OMM

A brand new experience awaits me on Saturday/Sunday. I have never done a MM before. It starts and finishes in Comrie so couldn't be more local. My partner for the weekend is Sam who I believe and hope is a better navigator than me.
It should be a challenge and good fun.
The kit is now bought/gathered, wonder what it all weighs?
I think I am reasonably recovered from Liverpool now. I plan to run tomorrow and then that will be it until Saturday at 10.19am when we are off

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Stirling Eastern district X country Oct 15th

Pretty ropey forecast and some gloom still hovering over my head from Liverpool were not ideal preparation. However it was a fine day and I felt wonderfully relaxed prior to the race with no expectations at all except to run quite slowly.
I watched the ladies finish with Rhian pipping Kerry and Emily finishing well and then saw Dom charge off and finish high up.
We had 6 men and a team at last- hurrah!
I headed off on the 5.5m 3 lap race at a v relaxed pace but was still surprised to see Jeff in front. After half a lap or so I had passed Jeff and Doug and had Andy as a handy target. The 1st mile came up in 6.17 which was surprising to say the least. I really enjoyed the 1st lap and had some great encouragement from the other Harriers as the 2nd lap started. Soon into the 2nd lap I passed Andy and enjoyed what I thought was a nice circuit. It was satisfyingly muddy in places with some small climbs that didn't take too much out the legs. The Harriers were still in good voice at he end of the 2nd lap although they did need some encouragement. The 3rd lap was harder work but I was more than happy with 36.32 (ave 6.41).
So all in all a great day with lots of Harrier Juniors as well taking part which is the main thing.
I think I've got my Mojo back now, bring on the OMM.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The Liverpool marathon

Completed in 3.27.12
I thought I was in decent shape leading up to this race. I had run 1.24 at Glasgow and 2 weeks ago I ran 38.23 at the Pitlochry 10k. Liverpool was a new course but mainly flat. As described in this blog my training has beeen pretty good up until about 7 weeks before tha marathon. I had 5 20 milers under my belt. September wasn't good however but I still thought I should be capable of under 3.10, maybe even 3 hrs.
The start was delayed by 45 mins because the police hadn't closed a road. This is completely unacceptable. Most runners are ready to go, hydration and nutrition geared to running at a certain time. 5-10mins is acceptable but this wasn't.
We eventually got going but people had reassembled not necessarily in the correct part of the field. Consequently I had lots of slower runners to pass including scooby doo. This does make a difference and the 1st mile took over 7.30. I then did a 6.17 which got me back on track but not a great start.
The race starts in Birkenhead Park, goes north through New Brighton and back again to the Queensway tunnel.
Running north I felt pretty good and got into a 3 hr pace OK. Running south with the wind behind I was working harder to keep that pace and some thoughts were creeping in that 3 hrs might not be on even at the 8 mile point. I went into the tunnel shortly after 11m and ran downhill feeling good and overtaking. Halfway came in 1.30.30 so not bad. After running down into the tunnel you have to run up out of it (obviously). As I emerged into the daylight I was amazed to see big crowds lining the route and a massive drum band blasting music out. I waved to the crowd and felt an embarrasing spasm in a calf which fortunately didn't stop me. It was round about 14-15m that the wheels really started coming off. I did 15M at exactly 7min mile pace and after tackling the only real hill on the course at 16m struggled thro Toxteth to Sefton Pk. Sefton park was ghastly as it went round and round, criss crossing and seemed to go on for ever. Maureen was there at 20m which was nice but life was just getting more painful for me.
By 22m I was in so much discomfort and so lacking in energy I had to start walking. I have never walked in a marathon before, not at all. I really cant put into words how difficult the last few miles were, just horrible.
The finish was great in that the crowds were wonderful, the marshals were fantastic, so lovely but I felt absolutley gutted. How can this happen? I could do better in an average training run!!
After the race I limped along to get my drop bag and made my way back to Maureens. Having an hour or so to myself was good as I quickly put it into perspective. A v v bad day but I finished. I am incredibly lucky to have the physical capability to do a marathon at all and I will have better days, hopefully quite soon,

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

SWCHR 2011

I have always wondered how we would cope with bad weather. Well this year we found out. The few days before the race were spent looking for a decent forecast. We had to settle for a bad one.
I was down in Comrie at 7.30am and had a quick drive up Glenlednock to knock a few signs in and look at the weather. It all looked OK so a decision was made to run the usual course.
I had the marshals tooled up and ready to go in record time and the hour before the race was as calm as I can remember. The catering was to take place at Comrie croft so there wasn’t much to do. All the parking marshals did a great job and Gordon was his usual model of efficiency. At 9.45 I gave the race brief which was too long but it is vital to say certain things, so I did.
All leg 1 runners were sent on their way at 10am dead.
All was going fine until a distress call from Richard who was looking for checkpoint 8 at Invergeldie!? We met up and decided it was Karen’s fault and off he went to sit in his car for the next 4 hours, sensible man.
Leg 1 runners all did well. Colin G ran his usual good leg to hand over to Phil and Digby with a deficit of about 3 mins and in 3rd place. Nicola and Karen had a good race with Nicola coming in shortly before Karen.. Tony ran a steady race and seemed happy enough with his run.
Fiona was checkpoint 2 Marshal and did a great job and after tidying up leg 1 proceeded to start tidying up leg 4 before it was gently pointed out to her that leg 4 was still to happen.
Phil and Digby ran a stormer overhauling Deeside to hand over to Will in 2nd place. Theirs was the fastest leg 2 of the day.
Gordon and Doug a now tried and tested duo ran one of their best leg 2s as did that other regular leg 2 pair Cathy and Ali. Grant and Emily were a last minute pairing. I think Grant found it a tough ru, with Emily keeping ahead of him and his scary shorts.
It was a tough day for all the marshals and I would like to thank each and every one of them for all they did. Liz and Tracey did a fine job at the end of leg 1 and the finish. Alastair spent most of the day getting wet and being a beacon of dayglo like a human lighthouse to guide runners to the Shakey Bridge. George was stoical as ever spending hours at the crossroads on the Maam Rd. He decided not to set off lara off for another leg 2 record this year.
Up on the west ridge we had Colin leading 3 women. Colin knows the hills like the back of his hand and carefully placed Julie and Elaine where they needed to be and marched Kirsty up to the top. Kirsty seemed to be having a fine time judging by the regular cheery radio comms. Apparently she did get a bit wet.
Ali and Beth were at their usual post at the leg2/3 handover. No real dramas here but looking up at Ben Chonzie it was anything but calm for the Marshals on leg 3.
Liz T, Seonaid and Alan marched up at breakneck speed with the consequence that they had to wait ages for the runners to appear. Apparently the weather was really terrible and apologies for sending them up there. Seonaid made the most of things making a nest for herself and falling asleep for 3 hours. Not quite what I had in mind. Liz spent 3 hours marching on the spot and Alan stoically stuck it out at the head of the Carroglen burn.
Will was 1st Harrier to appear and the only one to appear from the correct direction. He gave Liz a cheery greeting and went on his way to record another superb time. Andy appeared from the south, Kerry from the north and Graham from the south but at least they all made checkpoint 6.
Poor Kerry redefined what a rabbit caught in the headlights looks like before she set off. Checkpoint 6 was a low point even though it was the highest point for her but things then got better with the descent. Well done Kerry for putting yourself well outside your comfort zone and putting in a good performance.
Andy had a good run and Graham was reported looking v v unhappy at the top but toughed it out.
Meanwhile in the relatively balmy ambience of the leg3/4 changeover Edward was completely in control ably assisted by Karen. Matt had the parking well under control.
We had an interesting exchange with the leg4 Carnethy runner who was handicapped by visual impairment and no glasses. I realised that I was up against Mr Magoo and Mr M went off with a 3 minute lead on me.
After passing the enviable Richard and Rebecca in their warm car I did my best to make up time on the invisible Mr M up front. After passing Alastair I made my up to El Presidente who had an admiring crowd gathered around him. Up to the Monument and sure enough Mr M was heading down the wrong path. I have to admit to a split second dilemma of should I tell him or not but of course being the decent chap I am I hollered after him and up he came.
George informed me on the descent that I was 90secs behind now. I was happily reeling Mr M in when he sailed past checkpoint 10. I then spent some time hollering after him until he eventually turned around before carrying on in the direction of the A85. Ah well I thought, best push on. The rest of my run was fine and I really enjoyed bringing the Harriers in for our 3rd win.
Deeside came in 2nd after a good run from their leg 4 runner and Mr M eventually brought Carnethey in in 3rd place.
We had 4 teams which is a record for us. Our Men’s team was ably brought home by SWCHR debutante John and Rhian had a fine run to finish off a fine performance by our Ladies. Steph had a good run to bring our mixed team home. Well done to all Harriers and especially those running their 1st SWCHR. It does get easier than this I promise.
After presenting HBT women with their winner’s trophy we headed over to Comrie croft. This turned out to be a great venue and credit for the idea is all Phil m’s. Judith had everything well under control with an army of helpers. The cakes were awesome. Judith does an amazing job and I am enourmously grateful to her and Colin who does help in his own way. Thanks to Colin for organising the radios
Then we presented the prizes and that was it for another year.
Again, many thanks to the committee of Gordon, Phil and Tony.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Glasgow half

Did this race last Sunday the 4th in 1.24.23 and came 132nd.
Had felt a bit off colour for a couple of days before but 4 miles on Saturday seemed OK.
I felt fine in the race although tired at the end. The start was like a video game trying to pass the 100s who had lined up in front. After a couple of miles it got easier but I was passing people for the 1st 8 miles or so.
It has become apparent that I was brewing a cold so I guess that makes my performance a bit better than it seemed. I also lost 15secs but won't go into that.
So a good day with 11 Harriers taking part.
Gr8 performance by George McGregor who doesn't seem to age!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

50 mile week

Last week I did 51 miles which is the 1st time I've managed that this year. Nothing compared to ultra types but a big deal for me. I also did my 4th 20+ miler amongst that 51. It was 21.4M from Dalchonzie to Loch Earn, around and back. My time was 2.45 which is average but I'm OK with that at the moment.
This week I've run 3 times and am due a 2 day rest before travelling to Norfolk for a week. Apart from feeling gen a bit sore and tired I feel OK.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Helensburgh half

Much as expected I didn't run that well. 1h 26.15 or thereabouts.
Its not that I ran badly but was disappointed that I dont seem to be improving with what has been a pretty decent 2 months training. Perhaps its just age catching up!
I was simply running slower than I felt, its frustrating.
Even though I raced on Thursday, I have done this before and been almost 2 mins faster.
Anyway, on the plus side I am hitting all my targets so its just a case of believing in the training and waiting for all to come right, I hope.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Comrie fortnight race

This Thursday saw about 40 racers and 20 Harriers lined up in Laggan Park. It was a muddy, slippery course.
Patrick was in a different class from the rest of us and blasted around in 32.18. I was 2nd in 35.28. IO felt fine the whole way round but seem to be lacking sharpness. Kerry did enough to win the women's champs so well done to her, a great effort
I ran 7m yesterday woefully slowly and didn't do much today, certainly no running. Its the Helensburgh half tomorrow which I don't feel v well prepared for but you never know.

Monday, 1 August 2011


I managed 44m last week inc a 20 and a 13. Felt v v tired on Saturday and yesterday. Didn't run yesterday and felt better for it, just went to the gym briefly and had a short swim.
I always seem to go thro a spell like this when marathon training and I think the best thing is to take a break.I have done 185m in July which is easily the most this year so no surprise I'm a bit fatigued.
This week I have 2 races. The comrie fortnight run on Thursday and the Helensburgh half on Sunday.
I would certainly rather be tired than injured!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Long, hot run

Yesterday was time for another long run. I set off at 7.40am partly because it was due to be warm and partly because there was a group of Harriers running from Crieff at 9.15 and I hoped to meet them and finish my run with them.
I went down to Bairinroar, left to W Meiggar then down to Cultybraggan. I then made a mistake by taking the riverside path to Rob Bolton's house which was thick with grass and weeds. At this point I knew I was late and pushed on to Comrie, did the Aberuchill loop and back to laggan park.
It was 9.30 so I changed shoes and headed off on the fortnight run. At Shakey bridge I caught them by cutting across the field then we did the Maam Rd as leg 4 in the swchr. It was great to have a focus and something to chase. Also great to run with people for the last bit.I felt fine in the last few miles, better than I did at the beginning.
I covered just over 20m in 2.42.

Monday, 25 July 2011

5x5 relay

This Saturday I organised the 3rd 5x5 for the Harriers.
We had a record 40 people running and hence 8 teams. We also had a great day for it.
My leg was 6m from laggan park to the Turret dam. Its a steep haul up there of some 1000' and some sig undulations in between.
I felt I ran OK and did 51.58 to hold my team's position.
We had a great day overall and I think eveyone enjoyed it.
Yesterday I had a stunning run around Glen Artney which is my favourote run here and 9.3m.
Today I had a 5.5m run around the Crieff 10K from Taylor Park in 41.36 which was reasonable.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A good run

Had a decent run yesterday for the 1st time in a long time. It could be a long time before I have another so thought it should go in here.
I did a hilly 13.5m from Comrie. Felt slow at 1st but once I got on the hill going up to the Langside I felt really strong and maintained that feeling until the last mile or 2.
Finished at an ave 7.15/mile pace.
Prob back to slow discomfort today but nice to know there is some form there lurking beneath the surface.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

clydestride Relay

Strathearn Stags triumphant at Clydestride.
Yesterday 8 of us from the Harriers went over for the 2nd Clydestride race on an unpromising day. Liz was doing the whole thing.
We all made it over through some miserable weather but as we approached the 1st of many Morrisons supermarkets the rain dried up.
We said hello to Allan who was doing his 1st ultra and sadly didn't make it to the end.
I was doing the 1st leg as was Elizabeth for the Sirens.
We headed off at 9am in warm and humid conditions . The going was pretty flat and on tarmac. We set off at a hell of a pace with Grant Jeans doing about 6 minute mile pace, how do the top guys do it?
After a mile or so I was in 3rd but the 2 in front were doing he whole thing.
I overtook Paul after 2m but was aware I wasnt't feeling great. Paul settled in behind me happy to have someone to pace him no doubt.After a while we got chatting a bit. This was his 1st real ultra.
After 6m of riverside running we headed inland through the diversion, the lowlight of the race.
Back on the river and I was struggling and really struggled to the end. I lost Paul after a pitstop and couldn't catch him which was disappointing. It was however very interesting to see what life at the front of an ultra is like and let me tell you its incredibly fast.
I finished my 10M in 67min and handed over to Al giving him an 8 min lead in the relay.
The 2nd leg was a 1.5M longer than advertised and Al undoubtedly suffered a bit.
Tony had a great time passing people on the 3rd leg and Phil had the glory leg to bring us home in about 5.10.
It was a great place to finish the race. I had never been to New Lanark and it is definitely worth a look.
The Sirens also had a great time and were 1st ladies.
Liz did really well to do her race in 8.08
So it was a great day out and definitely worth repeating.
The organisation was superb and the route excellent.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Long, hot run

On Saturday I had 20 miles in the plan. I had a Harriers hill session planned also so decided to combine the 2. I also had a v tight hamstring and sore calf, oh dear!
The hill reps just confirmed the soreness in my hamstring and I wasn't up for them at all but went thro the motions.
After that I set off along Lady Mary's and out up Glascorrie/Blairinroar and back to Crieff vis Balloch. Once i set off things felt alot better, so much of this stuff is in the head! My hamstring was fine and didn't really bother me, odd isn't it.
I really quite enjoyed the run although it became clear it was going to be longer than planned and turned out to be 21.6m. The last 2-3 miles were tough but I did it.
Yesterday was the Crieff 10K which attracted over 300 entrants and all went off pretty well. I didn't run yesterday and will see how the legs are today.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Brig Bash 5

This was the 2nd year I have done this 5 miler.
It was also the 1st time I have raced since the Cape Wrath marathon.
It was a wretched evening, v wet but turned out to be a good evening for racing.
9 Harriers were there and a strong field of some 230.
I had a wee warm up and set off at what felt like a jog as everyone around me tried to break the 4 min mile.
I felt quite comfortable apart from my right hamstring which eased off eventually. After a couple of miles i was feeling quite good but felt a real lack of pace which is no surprise. I passed a couple at the end but was only passed once in the whole race after the 1t 1/2m or so which would suggest decent pacing.
I finished in 31.20 and 36th. Not bad and 10secs faster than last yaer when i had run the Lairig Ghru 10/7 before.
There was a lovely supper after and I would say this is a quality event.
I had a sore hamstring yesterday which benefitted from a swim

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Training update

I set myself some goals for June and much to my amazement I have achieved them so I'm happy with that.
I had 2 13milers, a 16 miler and an 18 miler. In fact the 18 miler yesterday was 20 because I couldn't think of an 18 miler.
I've had calf and hamstring probs ongoing but a massage on Sunday has helped and the 20 miler was only troubled by intermittent calf discomfort. Yesterday was a great TDS with Kerry although pretty warm
I have also had 2 long days on the hills and a shorter day.
So thats the 1st part of the training done. July has 3 races in it so I am looking forward to them and hopefully these niggles will disappear.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Its all abit of a struggle

Since my last post I have been pushing on with the training but its hard work.
Last week I did 31m and on Sunday went up to do the 3 munros at the west end of Glendessary. Had a superb day with Aidan which took just over 9hrs. Followed that with a good meal and refreshment at the Old Station in Spean bridge.
This week I did do 16m on Tue which went OK, nice and slow and followed that with 8 on Wed, a horrible run last night and a tough speed session this morning. On the days I haven't run I have swum and thats another story but hopefully now getting better.
Wed I woke with a hamstring strain!!
I think if I can come through the next couple of weeks OK things will start to feel better.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Let the training begin

This year (like last year) I feel that I have done a bit of running in between injuries. So it is with some optimism that I entered the Mersey marathon a few weeks ago. This happens on the 9th of October. Both my sister, Liz and my Father, Jim have also entered.
Back in 1982 I trained up for the Mersey marathon along with my Father but literally the day before had to withdraw with glandular fever. Jim went on to complete it in a creditable 3.38 and I didn't do much running for the next 18 years. Jim reckons I would have run well under 3 hours but I suspect I would have run a fast 18 miles and fallen apart. We will never know. Anyway the race was discontinued in 1992 so it was with some interest that I heard about it being resurrected this year. It is a quite different course with half of being run on the Wirral.
I have decided to try and train properly for this but have low expectations of it all going smoothly.
This is the 1st week and the development of an urti at the Harriers weekend away was not a good start. I felt dreadful yesteday and couldn't have run a bath but this morning felt improved. I am aware that if you are going to these things well then you need to stick to the plan and my plan says 13 miles today. I thought it was worth being careful so set off on my 10.5 mile loop from Auchengarrich. My calf is still tight so I made my way round carefully and did the 10.5 feeling not too bad. Lets stick to the plan then so I did an extra 1,25 miles out and back and then my watch 13 miles in 1.38.38.
So 1 run down and lots to go but its a start and I feel a bit more optimistic about the next 16 weeks

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Cape Wrath marathon

Two days after entering this race I tore my calf. That was 4 weeks last Friday and apart from a 26 mile week the week before last I hadn't done any running since. I have done a lot of gym work, and swimming has been great.
Last Monday Liz and I drove up to Altnahara, a one horse town if ever there was one. The day after we climbed Ben Klibreck and headed over to Kinlochbervie to stay at the lovely Old Schoolhouse for a couple of nights. Whilst there we walked in to the stunning Sandwood bay in the teeth of a gale. However we still enjoyed it although having your ankles sandblasted is a novel way to spend a holiday.
After that we travelled over to Tongue and I took in the most northerly Munro Ben Hope. That was Thursday and Liz did a low level walk saving herself for the marathon. I had no intention of running and surprised myself by doing the walk in 2.5 hours without a complaint from the calf.
Friday I woke and thought why not? I'm entered for the race and here.
The whole week in Durness is given over to running and they put on a remarkable show. There are races every day except Friday which is registration.
We have had windy squally weather all week and it was no surprise when the official run to the Cape was canceled in favour of a road run on the road to Kinlochbervie. It was a real shame but as the race involves a ferry ride there was no other choice.
So, we got up early and made our way to Durness for the 8am start. There are also some relay races that were starting at 9.
It was raining when we set off and a 40mph southerly blowing straight at us. Only 86 started, clearly a few thought better of it as 106 were entered for the race.
It was immediately apparent that this was going to be tough.
I had a bag of fudge with me and set off in my gore running jacket which Liz had had the foresight to pack. She wore her full goretex jacket.
The race takes a couple of miles to get out of Durness but even they are hilly and mainly downhill. In fact the 1st 4 miles to the Kyle is predominantly downhill so the return was going to be up. I suggested to a couple I was runing with that we got into cycle formation and take turns into the wind. The chap and I did this whilst the woman elected to tuck in!. Usually in these conditions I like to run behind Phil but he wasn't there so I made do.
Between 4 and 7 miles the route undulates along the Kyle. After that it starts going up. At about this time I was running with a woman fron Kendal. We made a god team and shared the front all the way to halfway. 7 to 9 miles goes up steadily then between 9 and 12 it's up all the way. It really was v tough running up into the wind but in a way I enjoyed the challenge of it. I was fully expecting my calf to start hurting at any time now. I had run 9 miles last weekend and was glad to finish. It did niggle but came to nothing.
About 12 miles we came to he top of the Guinol as it is called and ran down to the halfway point and turnaround. What a relief to have the wind behind. I enjoyed the run down up until about 18miles. From then on it was a real grind. I did the 1st half in 1.52 and finished in 3.38. The last 10k was as tough a run as I have done in a long time especially as most of it was uphill.
The finish at the village hall was most welcome. Shame all the hot water was gone but cold is good after a long run or so I am told.
Liz finished a very creditable race in 5.06 just 3 weeks after the Fling.
We went to the evening do which was amazing. Over 200 people in the hall and an incredible spread including langoustines, lobster, and so much more. Superb puddings as well.
So well done Durness, we will be back to hopefully to he Cape run next year.

Monday, 2 May 2011


10 days ago I did something v nasty to my R calf.
Was running down to Braco with my 5 fingers on (which I hadn't worn for weeks). After about 2 miles I felt what felt like a biy of cramp in the calf and thought I would run it off. I turned around at 2.5m nad headed back up finding it difficult to keep going. After 3m in total my calf felt as if it exploded and that was it, I couldn't even walk. Luckily I was outside a neighbours house and she gave me a lift home. I really wasn't walking anywhere.
I iced and iced for 3/7 and swam every day for a week. I couldn't walk properly for 5/7 but in the last 2-3/7 things have got significantly better. I did some powerwalking on the treadmill today and even did some short jogs. Its all v encouraging and surprising.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


20 miles in 2h 55min.
This route always has a tough bit somewhere and today it was the 3rd quarter.
It was a warm day with a haze rather than sun for most of the time. I started in Taylor Park
I was keen not to push to hard but I always run as I an able to and probably ran a bit fast for the 1st half from Crieff to Comrie.
I found the section from Comrie to Turrett dam really hard and was v pleased to have some gels. However on the plus side I finished well and ended up with a good time.
Colin and Judith were there at the end so I was able to have a chat to them before heading off to lunch at the lounge.
A slight L calf twinge which hopefully won't develop into anything

Monday, 18 April 2011

Newtyle hill race

I popped into Ninewells on the 7th of April for a wee op which was more cosmetic than anything and remarkably straightforward. However I was banned from running for at least a week. Six days post op the 3rd championship race loomed into view and I decided to take a chance. Unlike previous years when this race attracted 20 runners there were 50 this year. 7 Harriers took part and the ladies did really well. I enjoyed the race although the hill was pretty dull, it was very runnable. I felt I did OK but no more which taking everything into account was a good result. I came 13/50 in a time of 34.56 which is pretty meaningless. On the following Saturday we had a great training session with 11 turning up. Again I felt slow but a calf scare had cleared up after resting Friday (sensible or what!) Yesterday we had a club Easter orienteering event in glorious sunshine. I was utterly useless but enjoyed the running. This evening I entered 2 marathons, the Cape Wrath in May and the Mersey in October

Monday, 4 April 2011


After a decidedly average week we had a 5 mile time trial Sat am. I was 32.32 which is about 20secs off a pb so not bad. Felt pretty knackered the whole way round though.
Yesterday Phil, Rhian and I did a slightly modified TDS. Exactly 20m in 3.18.
I am so pleased to get that one under my belt. Felt reasonable all way round tho happy to finish.
I'd forgotten that seized up feeling in the hips!!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Slow recovery

Only managed 20m last week. I had a bit of a hamstring niggle in the race but it wasn't until later in the week that it showed itself again. I just did a couple of short runs over the weekend but at the end of the Sunday run whilst running down a steep hill it suddenly gave me a sharp pain. "Thats torn it" I thought but i fact it didn't seem too bad and I ran yesterday with minimal discomfort. I think if I nurse it then it should be OK.
I have an enforced rest coming up in a week for about 10 days so that might be a good thing

Monday, 21 March 2011

Alloa 1/2 M

Yesterday, I ran the Alloa half for the 3rd time. It was a great day for running and a field of maybe a 1000. After a month of training I was pretty relaxed about how it might go and had sub 1.30 in mind. I didnt have my GPS watch so was quite surprised when the 1st mile went by at 6.15. I felt good, really good. I had had cereal and then toast and honey for brekkers and a finger of fudge and a go gel just before the race. I also took a gel with me for halfway.
After the 1st mile I settled into the race and decided to run as I felt (always a good policy in my view). Between 4 and 5 miles a woman runner collapsed just in front of me. I was surprised to see a decent runner go down so early in the race and stopped to help. She recovered quickly and sent me on my way. As a true runner I had stopped my watch before stopping and restarted it as I set off.
5 miles came up in 31.45. At this point I was expecting to start struggling and soon after I did have a dip. I took my gel a bit earlier than planned and hey presto I was soon feeling good again.
10 miles came up in 64 min. At this point I started to get excited at the prospect of a really good time. I had picked up a mars bar off some spectators which I had at 9 miles just before the hill and think that I would have struggled in the last 5k without it.
The last 3miles is fairly flat with a long easy hill at 11 miles. The last mile was tough but then its supposed to be. I overtook a couple of runners in the last 5k so felt my form held up pretty well.
I was astonished to finish in 84.32 and 77th.
This was my fastest half since 2003 when I set my PB.
I have pondered why it went so well yesterday.
I think the speed training helped and low expectations as well. Also it was just one of those days when I felt good. They dont come along that often so I'm not going to overanalyse. I also ate during the race and I think that was a factor.
I felt my right hamstring tighten over the 2nd half of the race but it didnt develop in to much. However I do have a minor calf strain on the left which only made itself apparent after finishing which is strange.
Something else that I have been working on is my running style. I am purposefully landing on the forefoot and extending through the stride so I have quite a high backlift. I am also working on taking short strides which means a higher cadence. This is all supposed to reduce injuries-hmmm.
What I did notice towards the end yesterday was a confidence in my technique and that felt good.
An easy week now to hopefully allow any niggles to sort themselves out. I don't think I will be racing for over a month now, it looks like Kinross 10k is the next race.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Another good week

36 miles and feeling OK. Ran 5 times
It snowed alot yesterday but we managed a good 8x3min session with 5 harriers.
I was feeling under the weather on Friday and it was a real slog to do 10miles but I struggled round OK in the end.
Its a bit of a taper now to the Alloa half in a week which I am looking forward to.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

A good week

V happy with a total of 43 miles this week.
Had another go with 5 fingers on Monday and did 4 miles which went OK. However 5 miles on Friday with some rubbly paths to contend with left me with v sore heels. I will have to stick to tarmac or grass for the foreseeable future.
Yesterday was a 1-4-1 pyramid which went OK and today I went to help with the junior harriers which I enjoyed. We did another pyramid 1-3-1 which was quite full on. After that Phil and I ran the south section of the TDS and back via strowan and lady mary's for a total of 14m. I was v v tired at the end but delighted to be ale to do that.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Barefoot wannabee

Did my 1st significant run in the 5 fingers last Friday. I did 5 miles on trails on paths which was probably a mistake in retrospect as there was a lot of gravelly stuff and I ended up with pretty sore heels. I did however quite enjoy it especially when I hit some grass but it is going to take some perseverance.
Yesterday we had a hill reps session at Harriers. I felt I did OK and really enjoyed it especially as 11 turned up.
Today I had really sore lateral calves. Not strains as such just really sore which must be down to the barefoot run. So that suggests I am running differently. whether I am unning differently in a god way remains to be see.
Today was my long(ish) run of the week. I did a 10.5m circuit south of Comrie on the roads taking in Glascorrie and Glen Artney. Its a stunning route and today was a lovely day again. I used to do this run a lot when we lived in Comrie. Today I had a great run surprising myself by averaging 7.10/mile. Thats not bad for this route and way better than I was expecting. Hope this positive run continues.

Monday, 21 February 2011

National X country champs

Didn't really feel up for this at all!
However as I had pre-entered I went and after a v unenthusiastic warm up set off near the back of the field.
After about 1/2 a mile I lost a shoe in the v v muddy conditions and after a brief contemplation as to whether I should undo the laces or just pull it on again I heaved it back on and spent a few mins catching people who had already passed me.
The course was v muddy and heavy and I decided to take things easy. After a while Ian came into view and near the end of the 1st lap I passed him. I think his 30m run the week before was more responsible than anything I was doing. However after that I started to enjoy things a bit more and got into a rhythm which took me to the end.
I was 269th out of 451 finishers in 53 min.
In the end I was really glad I did this race. I think my v low expectations for the day meant that any pluses were big ones.
Next race is the Alloa 1/2 M so I need to get some decent training between now and then.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Back to the clag

A few last words about NZ. We had a great night out wih our B&B hosts, Geoff and Chris. We went to the local cinema/restaurant. Saw Winters bone. V gloomy film but good and had a good meal after. Boys were great fun.
Saturday we drove down to Auckland and dropped car off. No probs with it despite it being covered in tar!
We were in the same apartment block which was good.
Sat eve we were booked into the orbit restaurant in the skytower. What a fab experience. You get great views as the resaurant rotates around taking a full hour to go the whole way round. The food and wine was really good and not too expensive.
Sunday was our last day.
We went to see the "King's speech" at 10.30am. Sl surreal time but it filled a gap and what a fantastic film.
We came out to wonderful blue skies, had lunch and wandered around before it was time to go to the airport.
Got the bus and basically sat on various planes for 30 hours.
In fairness it was all on time and couldnt have been easier. Its just such a long way.
Got home Monday at 2pm. Went for a 4 mile stagger and crashed at 8pm.

Since then I've really struggled with jetlag. Worst ever. I was awake at 4am today but did get a couple of hours from 6.30 as I had the morning off.
I did the circulat footpath this morning which I found tough but it was good to get a run in before tomorrow's X country

Thursday, 10 February 2011

NZ ctd

Mon 7th

Last day in N Plymouth and an absolute washout that was predicted never appeared. We didnt get a view of Mt Taranaki but we did have a good day. We had a really nice visit to Pukekara Park which has to be one of the loveliest Parks anywhere.
Had a great run along the front late afternoon. Did 1m in the 5 fingers then 5m in normal shoes at 6.50 pace. V happy with that.
We ate again at Marinovich's which was just as good despite Liz's reservations about eating fish on a Monday. I had scallops followed by John Dory.

Tue 8th

A long drive today up north to Kerikeri. In fact a v v long drive. Almost 9 hours in fact.
Arrived at a lovely B&B run by Geoff and Chris (both boys). This place is immaculate.
We went to the local pub just round the corner and had a great meal. In fact we havent had a disappointing meal in NZ. I had green lipped mussels followed by a Moroccan lamb salad.

Wed 9th

We have a great room here dominated by a massive image of Gail Tilsley!
We woke to really dreich day. Headed off to Waitangi which is NZs most historic spot where the treaty was signed giving the Maori rights. That was in 1840.
We took the tour which was superb, conducted by a nice Maori girl who could trace her ancestry back 26 generations. We had a group with us on the tour that had 2 elderly folk in wheelchairs.
The tour went down a pretty steep hill to see a truly massive canoe.
I felt it was a bit unfair to let one of he ladies in the group push her Father up the hill so I offered. It was quite a push and they seemed grateful. We got chatting and it turned out Sally knew Alan Murray who is my predecessor in Comrie and works with her husband. She phoned him up and we had a chat. We got chatting and before we knew where we were we had an invitation to dinner that evening.
The rain continued so after some lunch we headed home and after a 5m run we headed to Sally's which is a short distance away.
Their house is quite southfork like and we were dining in a kind of room without the outer walls and a massive fire in the end gable. We were invited to some sort of extended family dinner with the 5 from the tour, sister and family. We had a great evening. Terry is from Zimbabwe and was a selector for the national cricket team. Seems they left Zimbabwe in a hurry like a lot of people.

Thurs 10th

We had booked ourselves a day on a tall ship to go around the bay of islands today. Fortunately it was a much better day and we got the ferry from Pahia (worth a miss) to Russell to board our ship.
We had a loony as our captain, definitely on the "spectrum" but he did seem to know how to sail the boat. There were 2 glamourous assistants who did all the hard work.
We had a lovely day sailing around the area.
went ashore to climb a hill for the view before having a barbeque lunch on board.
A really memorable day.
In the evening we went to an Israeli restaurant (a 1st for me) called Jerusalem. Another great meal!

Fri 11th

A lazy today today. Headed up the road to see some Kauri trees. They really are impressive. massive and dead straight.
After that we went into Kerikeri which is a lovely town that we have really taken to.
The day turned out well despite another duff forecast.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

NZ ctd

Thursday 3rd

One of our aims for this holiday was to do a walk called the Tongariro Crossing. The usual was doing this is to use a company that buses you to the start of the walk and picks you up at the other end. Unfortunately due to a forecast of high winds they weren't going yesterday or today. So after a lot of thought we decided to drive to the start and walk the 1st half and retrace our steps. We did this and thoroughly enjoyed the volcanic mountain landscape that was a setting for some of the lord of the rings scenes. The walk starts at 1100m and rises to 1850m
We did intend to ascend Mt Tongarario directly but it was in clag so commonsense prevailed.
After a good walk up you come to the south crater.
All v moonlike. I liked it.
As we went up it got v windy indeed. It became clearer why the tour companies weren't going that day. We got to the highest point and on to a view of the emerald lakes
After lunch we returned in ever worsening rain and wind. Amazingly we came across a chap I had met at a petrol station in Whitianga a week before.
After a damp descent we arrived back at the car. All in all a great day but a touch Scottish at the end.

Fri 4th

Today was a bit of a mixed bag especially being our last day in Taupo.
I did a great run north from Spa lane up to Huka falls and beyond. I did give the 5 fingers a trial for 10min. Standing on a stone is a great reminder to stay on your toes. THe track follows the river Waikato and undulates a fair bit. It was v muggy but I did enjoy a 10 miler with a right hamstring strain to keep me company.
We had a fairly lazy afternoon and enjoyed a meal with Gail and Robert along with 2 other guests. She was a kiwi he a Brit who sailed over in the 50s for £10 and paid £190 to sail his morris minor. Quote of the night came from Robert when I was commenting on Helen Clark's deep voice and he suggested she probably had a pair of bollocks. Hillary in a deep voice of her own thought she probably had a n allergy like herself which would account for it!

Sat 5th

On we went to New Plymouth via Waitomo caves. At one point we had 3 things wrong with the car. We had driven through some road repairs the other day and got a fine spray of tar. This made it almost impossible to see when it was raining. Then we acquired a knocking noise under the car and when I had a look saw a dripping from a pipe. The dripping was the a/c and a vigorous scrub eventually cleared the windscreen. We still have the knocking but the general consensus is that it is the shockabsorbers so we'll be OK.
The caves are a major attraction because they are so beautiful and the glow worms that live within. We did a tour of the caves, all stalactites and mites followed by a boat ride with the glow worms above us giving an appearance like a bright night sky. Quite magical. The idea is to be absolutely quiet for the boat ride but most people find it quite impossible to do this.
New Plymouth is a 2 hour drive south and for the most part was a lovely drive through 1st gorges then coastal scenery. N plymouth was in a dense mist when we arrived and stayed like that until halfway through the next day.
Our B&B is literally a stones throw from the sea and all v nice. We have the smallest bathroom but its so well designed it is fine.
We went out for dinner to a place called Marinovich's which is a seafood restaurant. We both had seafood chowder followed by flounder. In fact we both had 2 fish on our plates when 1 would have been OK. It was the nicest meal I have had in a long time.

Sun 6th

Went for a 8m run along the walkway which has recently been constructed along the front here. It is 10k long. That gave me 30m for the week which is good but the hamstring is not any better and my Achilles is niggling away.
Next we went up Pareto rock which is on the south of the harbour. I did this in my 5 fingers
This is a walk up until halfway and then becomes a full on scramble. Quite entertaining. Decent misty views from the top.
In the afternoon we walked along the front to watch the surfers then headed along the Te Henui walkway which follows a river. All v nice.
In the evening we cooked for ourselves.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

NZ ctd

1st Feb

Probably a little too much of the hospitality the night before and slept v badly. This place is truly stunning though. We have a luxurious room with views to mountains to die for.
I got up for a run and did just over 6m on undulating roads. Its high here, about 500m above sea level so v fresh in the morning. We had a nice brekky and then headed out to Taupo to explore. It was a hot day and we did the tourist trail of volcanic stuff. One attraction the "craters of the moon" was v dull but everything else was v attractive and interesting inc the Huka falls which is along the Waikato river.
After lunch we did a jet boat ride with "Rapids Jets". This goes through the Aratiatia rapids and is superb. I had the seat next to the skipper and had great views. Everyone got v wet and scared but that is the point of it all.
In the evening we met up with Fred for dinner in Taupo at a place called the Ploughmans. We had a great meal (Fish and chips after superb Kumara soup for me) and it was lovely to catch up with Fred.

Feb 2nd

Slept well with the aid of codeine for my high altitude cough.
Another stunning, sunny day.
Today was Rotaruara day. Its 80km north of here. A great thermal park with the highest geyser in the world apparently called pohuto.
I loved it.
In the afternoon I ended up in a running shop to get some sandals having doused my old ones with petrol the day before. I couldn't resist the vibram 5 fingers. Its hard to know how things will work out with them but I am determined to give them a good try.
We ate in a Thai restaurant which was v nice.
Great home baking in this B&B btw. We had lemon sponge topped with lemon and passiofruit icing today with our afternoon tea.

Monday, 31 January 2011

NZ ctd

Sat 29th.

So today was the day after the storm. In fact we just had a lot of v v heavy rain overnight. We awoke to alot of water everywhere. However it was a pretty nice day so we had got all the bad weather out the way whilst asleep, well in bed anyway as sleep was difficult with the v heavy rain all night.
I went for a run (7m at 7.20 pace) which was good. The firebrigade were out pumping a couple of houses out on the seafront. We were wondering what the air raid siren was that we heard the other morning and it turns out it is to summon the volunteer firebrigade. It goes off quite a bit. Apparently if it is a continuous tone that is a warning of a tsunami and you have to head for the hills.
The rest of the day v lazy.I went for a walk along Buffalo beach. The sea was a sort of dark mustard colour because of the cyclone but people were still out enjoying themselves.

Sunday 29th.

Our last day in Whitianga.
I went out for an early run and did 6m at 7.17 pace.
We wanted to see Cathedral cove but the steps had been washed out by a landslide so we couldnt access it. We headed over to Hahei which was lovely and then over to Cook's beach which was stunning and virtually empty.
The rest of the day we sorted the house out for Dave and Emma's return.
Some neighbours, Leslie and Lois had offered to put us up so we headed over there for the night.
It was a really kind thing for 2 people who didnt know us to put us up in their house.

Monday 31st

After breakfast with the ladies we went back nextdoor to catch up with Dave and Emma.
Again it was incredibly kind of them to let us have their home, especially as we barely knew them. They have had a great time out here and it was good to hear their experiences.
We had a drive down to Taupo today which took about 4-5 hrs. Lots of evidence of mudslides.
We stopped off just south of Rotarua to see some boiling mud!.
A sign of things to come.
We are now at Kauri point our home for the next 5 nights. It seems v nice. We have had a great evening having dinner with our hosts, Gail and Robert and family and some other guests.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

NZ ctd

Wed 26th

Once we got settled into the house we were ready for sleep. Unfortunately the jetlag kicked in in a big way. I dont think I slept much at all and about 4.30 we gave up and read, had brekky etc. However it was a stunning day once dawn broke about 6.30 and we went out for our runs. I can honestly say that it was worth the effort of coming to NZ just for the experience of running along the beach with the sun coming up along buffalo beach. There is a real clarity at that time of the morning. There were lots of other runners as well. This climate just lends itself to outdoor activity. I ran 7m for the record but the distance was completely unimportant.
We had a max of 27 deg so even at 8am I was somewhat warm after running.
I went into Whitianga which is a 5min walk and got some bread and had a scout around.Its a popular summer destination but very unspoilt. No kiss me quick hats or amusement arcades here.
In the afternoon we got he ferry over to ferry landing which is only 1-2min. There we did a walk to a cliff top called Shakespeare's point. It was a lovely walk along beaches and coves.
We past the smallest library have ever seen and a Tsunami civic plan which was unexpected.
Onwards we made a beach called lonely bay
There I played in the surf. Great fun.
Back home we caught up with our favourite weatherman Jim Hickey who talks to NZ as if he knows everyone personally. Its a big country but a population the size of Scotland so maybe he does. He always give Dunedin a big hello, dont know why.
After that they had the NZ equivalent of watchdog, whinge of the week. You've got to love their turn of phrase. The big story was that a takeaway was doing deep fried oysters with chips but only putting half an oyster in each serving!! After some investigation he guilty proprietor was happy enough to talk to the disaffected customer so everyone was happy. As you can tell NZ is not into big news but I love these low key what are local stories that get reported nationally.
Thurs 26th

Slept poorly again Wed night. We had plans to get up early to go to hotwater beach. You have to get there for low tide which was 7.40am on Thursday. Why is called hotwater beach? Well its because there are some spots where you can dig yourself a hole in the sand and create a wee hot bath for yourself. I presume there is some thermal activity going on under this beach. Anyway we turned up with spade and joined a happy group doing the same as us
It was a another gorgeous way to see the morning in.
In fact the sand was way too hot to stand on in places.
After that we cavorted in the surf getting beaten up by the breakers. Brilliant.
We were home by 11 with a sense of having had a full day already.
The rest of the day we relaxed as it was pretty hot. We did go for a walk along buffalo beach.
I slept better last night but Liz is still on UK time.

Fri 27th

This morning we were off early to travel to the very north of the Coromandel peninsula to do a walk called the Coromandel walkway. They do call it as they see it here.
We headed off at 6.30. The forecast was not so good today with a tropical cyclone forecast later.
We headed over to Coromandel town (50min) then up through Colville and north to leave the sealed road on our way to Fletcher bay. There was 35km of gravel road to negotiate and negotiate we did. Wouldn't have been too happy if it was our car!
We eventually arrived at Fletcher bay which is lovely and set out for Stony bay
(yes it was stony) 11k away
We got great views the 1st half of the walk and saw no one.
The 2nd half was basically bush. Overall a really nice walk and quite challenging. We had lunch at stony bay and did a quick turnaround as it was starting to rain. It did rain quite alot on the way back but viz remained OK.
Of course we had 35k on unsealed road again. By the time we got home it was belting down with rain with alot worse forecast so we will see what transpires overnight.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

New Zealand

At present am in Whitianga, N Island NZ.
Our journey over couldn't have gone any better. We flew with emirates and everything was on time and luggage arrived with us. We got the bus from the airport into Auckland and after a 20min walk got to our hotel. In fact its catered apartments. I have to say it was superb, really plush and incredibly comfortable bed. We managed to stay up after a run along the seafront. Its been v stormy over the weekend and was still windy. Great to be running in shorts in the warmth though.
After an OK italien meal we hit the sack about 8.30pm. I woke up for about 30min at 4 but then slept on until 8. Result.
We got our car after being picked up and headed off south to the Coromandel peninsula.
We drove to Thames then headed up the east coast to Coromandel town. All v pretty. Again a v lovely drive to Whitianga and we then found our house for the next 6 days. A friend is over here doing a 6 month locum and is away at the moment so we are lucky enough to be able to have his house. Its in a great spot and is a 3 bed bungalow. All v suburban but nice.
After some supermarket shopping we went out for a walk. This is a bit of paradise, so pretty. Below is were my morning run is.
This is the place we are staying in.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Born to run

Just finished this book. Its well written and full of interesting ideas.
I intend to try and modify my running style to a definite forefoot strike with shorter stride length and see if it helps prevent injury. I did this on Sunday and fairly whizzed down to Comrie but slightly strained my R hamstring which isnt a promising start. Managed a 6 miler in Perth yesterday and although I could feel the ham it doesnt seem to have done any harm.
What about barefoot running?? I am seriously considering this when the weather gets warmer.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Rain and mud!

Drove over to Crieff for a quick swim (could have saved time and swam up the A822) and Harriers speed session.
We did a 1-4-1 pyramid in heavy rain. It was great!!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Things are on the up

The great thaw has started. It was a tropical 5deg when I got home this evening. We could actually drive down to our house for the 1st time since November if this keeps up.
As the roads were free of ice I did a 6miler from home with my headtorch. Great!
This week has gone as follows.
Mon swim
Tue swim am, run 6m pm
Wed 30min on turbo trainer
Today swim am and run as above.
Consequently I feel great!!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

A slow start to 2011

Tweaked a calf on the 2nd, picked up an urti on the 3rd. Great!
Havent done anything all week but did 30min on turbotrainer yest and today and did 2m in the snow yesterday.
It snowed several inches again last night but a thaw is forecast for wed.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Hello 2011

Not a great start. Went out for a 6 miler on the 2nd and tweaked the calf. Not bad but as i have a bit of a cold its time to be sensible yet again.
I had a fab run on he 31st feeling good and moving as well as I have for months so it is disappointing but nothing to be gained from pushing on.