Friday, 25 October 2013


Apologies for the delay in putting up a new post here but major laptop issues and a ton of running , climbing and driving about Scotland has left me with no time at all.

I arrived back in Scotland 2 weeks ago and was greeted to some cracking weather straight away so just had to head out. I went up to Arrochar and went a little hill run up Ben Donich. I have never been up this Corbett before and I am so glad I finally went. It has a brilliant runnable trail all the way to the top with only a couple of small steep sections that are fine. I was greeted with stunning views of the west coast although it was a tad chilly with a very brisk wind. The ascent took well under an hour and the very very slippy descent took me under 30 minutes. Cracking little day.
Great Trail to Summit
One of best view I have ever seen in Scotland
I then managed some of my local hill runs around Largs the next couple of days , some in the mornings and one fantastic night run. So after 4 10k runs in 4 days next up was my first 10k race in many years. I don't really like short fast races because to be honest I ain't really that fast but I just love to enter races and thought this would be a good way to improve my flat running speed. The race was in a place called Benmore Gardens not far from Largs, There was around 80 runners at the start line for two laps of a 5km circuit through the Botanical Gardens. 3 , 2 , 1 and off. I was a bit taken back by the speed of the start , totally not used to it. I was never going to properly compete in a race like this(or any for that matter) but once I started and realised this was all out or nothing then I just went for it. The course had a couple of little brutal climbs in it which definitely added a couple of minutes over a flat 10k but overall the course was really really nice and I loved it but my legs and lungs did struggle with the fast pace. I finished in 5th place with a time of 40 minutes.

Largs Night Run
After the 10k
The next few days were spent with Lauren and Fleur who travelled up to Scotland so I could show them around the highlands and do some running. I managed my usual little Glencoe scramble up North Buttress a few hours before meeting up with them and then the next day returned to do it again. The weather was not that great to us( it poured every day) but we got out for some cracking runs.

Glencoe - Beautiful
Glencoe next day - Wet and Cold
Showing Lauren the sights of Largs during a Trail/Field Run
Lauren , Fleur and Me
I knew where I was going all along
Next up was a trip to the Lake District in England to catch up with loads of friends , some of whom I hadn't seen for years. The first night and the cottage was a rather sober one for Lauren and myself as the next day was the Ennerdale Trail Race. I was doing the 50k and Lauren the 25k , her longest race yet and first trail race. It was a proper miserable morning , pouring down with rain. I set off feeling pretty good just plodding my way up the forestry road for about 12km to the Black Sail Youth Hostel then it was across the river and back down the other side of Lake Ennerdale on some brilliant trails. One lap was the 25k and 2 laps was the 50k. Coming into 25k at 2hrs 16mins I was feeling okay but not great. I didn't seem to have the usual spring in my step and my hip was hurting a little. I grabbed some more gels from Fleur and James and set off again. I did not enjoy the road section at all this time. I totally hate long roads , it bores the life out of me. Plus I was feeling pretty sore all down my left side , left foot , left knee , left hip. It was not going too great and my pace really really dropped. It started to totally pour down when I got to the hut this time but the weather didn't really bother me , I actually quite enjoy running in foul weather. Once I got past the hut and across the bridge it was now 12km to the finish. I was still not great but managed to keep up a decent jog. About 4 people passed me here and I was just waiting on hordes of others to do the same. Then somehow I started to feel really really good. I looked at my watch and I was at 42km! A marathon and now I was finally in my stride. Sounds crazy I know but I guess this is just what my legs are used to now. From 42km to the finish I really had a great pace going and once I hit the final 4km very technical and wet part on the lakes edge I was actually flying along it. I could see everyone who had passed me what seemed like ages ago and I was gaining on them fast. Now I was still well back in the pack but I just wanted to pass these people and I did. I managed to overtake all of the 4 in the last 4km and still finish over 3 mins ahead of them all. I finished in 5hrs 10mins , 26th/96. I am happy with my 2hr 16min first lap but pretty disappointed with the second loop of 2hrs 54mins. This was totally down to the second road section which was 12km long. It totally drained me. If I was better on the flat road and was feeling a bit better then I am sure this could be cut down to 2hrs 30mins or less if I ever do it again. I do think as well though that the past few weeks of being very ill was not the best prep for this race. Small things just didn't work for me. My eating was not right over the whole course and stupid little things like forgetting my water bottle and not having my usual electrolyte drink and more importantly forgetting my vaseline all played with my head a little. I just didn't seem well organised going into this but I still can't complain. I enjoyed most of the race and still finished. Big shout out to James and Fleur for coming along to support for the day in the miserable weather as usual it does mean a lot to have people come help out. I am super happy with my pace on the final section as I was loving it and really had great speed on a part most people were down to a walk to try and negotiate the techy parts. These people were well faster than me on the roads but to be honest they didn't stand a chance once I got to the bits I love and train on all the time. So over to Lauren. First 25k , First trail race and how did she do?? well she only went and got 1st place female didn't she. Totally amazing stuff from her and I was so happy for her as I knew she was a bag of nerves before the race. She came through at 2hrs 18mins. Pretty much spot on my first lap time. All this training together must do some good as we were running the race at the same pace. Her race started 15 mins after the 50k so we never managed to run any of it together. I had a feeling she could totally get a top 3 place as I usually come in around the same time as first female on my races and Lauren on distances up to Half Marathons is well on pace with me. I must admit I didn't quite expect her to get first! Amazing stuff from her and really inspiring. Watch out all other female trail runners , Woody has arrived.
Km 35 , Horrible Road but still happy. Just!
So I have rested for the past 5 days and have my final race of the year on Sunday. The Culloden 17k. Oddly enough a 10 mile road race. There are no other trail runs around at moment and this is organised by CHSS who I raised money for in the summer so it will be nice to finally meet some of these people and try and enjoy running on a road best I can. This is also going down as speed work. Will stick up a report for that next week.
What a little legend. Award given by fell running god Joss Naylor

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