Friday, 1 November 2013

Time up in Scotland

So it is the end of my trip back to Scotland and overall it was alright. The 17k Race in Culloden actually went rather well. I was not expecting much from this race at all. It was all on tarmac and to be honest I have actually ran loads in the past month and ran pretty much every day(10k minimum) I have been back in Scotland so I was not particularly fresh. It was a bigger race than I first thought with 275 people starting. From the off it went fine , I started way at the back and just moved on up the pack keeping an eye on my watch and my pace. I hit the 10k mark at 42 mins and was feeling great , I actually wished I had gone out faster as I easily could have. I was way too cautious. It was a really nice road race and had some cracking views out over Inverness. I was surprised the whole way how good I felt. Around the 14km mark I managed to gain on a guy in front of me and as usual decided I wanted to pass him. Now I thought in all honesty that I was around 20-30th in the race. So no chance of a great finish but for some reason when you see someone in front near the end you just want to pass them. I got past him at km 15 , he stayed with me for the next km and a half and I quite liked the fact that he too did not want to loose his place so it was a bit of a sprint finish for the last half km and thankfully I came out on top and finished 30 seconds ahead of my fellow sprinter in 1hr 13mins and was pretty shocked I had finished 13th.

A rare serious picture during Culloden
Maybe I should start going all out at smaller distance just to see how I get on because on this race I felt great the whole time and when I was passing people who were clearly beasting themselves I was still cruising along fine and having a little look and enjoying the views as everyone else was staring into the tarmac. Now I would never win this kind of distance as the winner was 1hr 2mins but looking at the results if I had knocked off 5 or 6 mins off my time I would have been close to a top 3 finish. I do admit I totally underestimate myself sometimes. I do believe there are some races out there I have finished well but could have been a top 3 if I knew my limits on shorter stuff. I am never ever going to get a top finish in an Ultra. As much as I would love to it just wont happen , I enjoy Ultras too much to destroy myself for 20 odd hours and feel like hell for most if it. I have done that before on my first couple of 70kms and yeah I did enjoy the races but enjoyed it at the end. Nowadays in my Ultras I can genuinely say I enjoy them from start to finish as I seem to have a good idea of my pacing but don't get me wrong here I do feel the pain but it is manageable. Now I am no Ultra Running guru and to be honest have not ran a great amount of long long stuff but that will all be changing in the next few years I guess. I just love to run races and take part. All three I have done whilst back have been great. Well except that 12km road section in Ennerdale but on the whole I have enjoyed the varying distances but it is damn hard to get pacing right when changing distances every week.

Looking back to the start of the Greenock Cut loop
Since Culloden the weather has been pretty terrible and I have been spending most of my time running around areas near my home town. I don't know if I could ever face living near here again. Yes it is lovely when the weathers good but the weather on a whole is terrible a lot of the time. I think in Chamonix this summer we had maybe a handful of days of bad weather. I never once had a day off work that was raining or I didn't want to go a run , it was blue skies every day I was off. The past week and a half in Scotland I have been thinking to myself thank god this was not my days off work. I have had my fair share of bad weather in the past , ran in near monsoons , climbed in horrendous white outs with gale force winds(which I do miss) but having spent all the years in France with great weather then I cannot see me leaving to live back in Scotland. Little trips back are fine and I will continue to enjoy them. I must admit my time in France feels like it is nearing an end. I am super excited about this winter and a little rest from running but next summer is looking more and more like it is going to be a long long trip to Colorado and I so hope this all goes to plan.

Lovely Trail on the Cut
I have been a few cracking local runs the past few days but nothing more than 12kms. I ran around the Greenock Cut not far from my house. A great trail loop of 11.5km then I drove home and done my usual 10km run along the shore as I was feeling fresh. Other than that it has just been little cruisy runs along beside the sea and it has been really nice. I love these local runs when I am home. There are so many little hills and trails all around Largs that I guess nobody every bothers about as I never see anyone else on them. Not that I am complaining I am happy to have them to myself.

See ya in a while Scotland
Back to France on Sunday and getting ready for what is hopefully going to be an epic winter. I will still be out running for the next month around the Chamonix trails then when snow hits town I will be trying to force myself out the door two nights a week to run in the snow and the freezing temperatures. Excited!

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