Friday, 23 March 2012

Fizzy Pop, P.B.'s and a BIG slap

Run to and from work.
I decided to best fit in a decent number of miles into a weekend working day would be to run to and from work, rather than try and cram in a wee run before or after an eight hour shift. So a couple of weeks ago I did just that. Both the outward and return legs were on a mixture of pavement, road and 'off road' muddy surfaces, on different routes. The combined mileage came to just over 11 miles in a combined time of 1 hour 40 minutes.
It was on the 'couldn't be arsed with it' return leg after work that I had another bottle malfunction. Mmmmm, no hang on, it was more of a brain malfunction and a temporary loss of common sense. Normally on a run my bottle would contain either water or lucozade sport, but on the return run decided to try out the new Powerade 'energy' drink. A carbonated, fizzy, drink. Yes, fizzy in a running bottle isn't, as it would turn out, not the best of bedfellows! Not a clever combination. Sometimes I'm a bit of a ejit! Within seconds my ass and legs were wet and sticky from the pressure of the 'fizziness' exploding the top off my bottle like an champagne bottle going off! So, a lesson learned. However, despite the stickiness I enjoyed the two runs and will try and do again when I'm working on a Sunday.

The latest bits of kit to deplete my bank balance are these:
All were on 'sale' so the purchase of each were 'justifiable'! So that's all I should need now for the WHWR.

In the lead up to the D33 I ate a fair amount of rice and pasta based meals, sticking to the wholemeal varieties. They hit the spot and topped up my glycogen reserves, which I suppose was the point. I'm no Raymond Blanc and prefer quick, easy and uncomplicated, phaff free meals leading up to an event.
During the D33 after race 'rave' Karen Donoghue gave me 'pep' talk, although I felt like a misbehaving child in the naughty seat. She gave me good advice from her previous experiences, which I will implement between now and the WHWR. Its great someone with Karen's knowledge and experience is taking the time to watch out for numpties like me. More on this in my D33 report below.

2nd Podcast.
Met up with JK for another interview about my preparations for this years WHWR. More gibbering ensued, epic stuff.

D33 Ultramaration Race mutterings.
This was my 3rd Deeside Way Ultramarathon and was the first event since the GO33 Ultra in November 2011. It was also the first of this years Scottish Ultramarathon Series (SUMS) and hopefully 1 of 7 (maybe 8) I'll be doing from the series this year. In 2010 I finished in 6 hours 24 minutes 41 seconds and in 2011 I improved to finish in 5 hours 56 minutes 7 seconds. A week or so before the race I had opened my big gob on facebook and proclaimed that I would finish this year in 5 hours 30 minutes, therefore knocking off nearly 30 minutes from my previous course PB. Sometimes I should really think before I let the words leave my mouth. JK brought this up during my latest podcast interview so I really had to try and deliver. I felt I had prepared well for this years race, but I felt this same way in both 2010 and 2011 and during both these years events I sustained injuries which substanially slowed me down. I was hoping history wouldn't repeat itself for a third year. As with previous years I drove up in the early hours of the morning to arrive at Duthie Park in Aberdeen just after 7.30am. I joined the queue and got my race number. I said a quick hello to George and Karen who were busy doing 'stuff' to prepare for the day ahead.
I was tired from the drive up so went back to my car, put the seat back and closed my eyes. I dozed off quickly in the warm sun shining through the windscreen, but woke with a start about 15 minutes later. I knew I couldn't and shouldn't do that again. So I got ready and went for a 'jog' up to the toilets in the big green house. I met a few more people I knew on the way, including Dr. Andrew Murray who looked a little 'rough'! I say rough, more like he had been hit by a sledge hammer. It turns out it wasn't a sledge hammer but a Taxi! Hopefully he recovers soon. I met Dave Morrow on his way for a pee, he finished in a stonking 4 hours 40 minutes. I saw more familiar faces in the carpark getting ready but decided to wait until we were all up at the start to say hello. Met up with Ray McCurdy who was running his 99th Ultra today. Respect. He hopes to finish his 100th at the Glasgow to Edinburgh Ultra next week, but a few of us had commented it would have good to reach this landmark at the Fling where most of the 'regular' ultra runners would be to cheer him on. The G2E (formly GEDM) strikes me as an event that attracts mainly road marathoners, rather than trail ultra runners. But I suppose to reach 100 ultras is the landmark and not the race you do it in. I then met a few of the 'Grumpies' including Fiona, Victoria, Julie, Andy and Karen. After a quick chat I met Bill Heirs. When I had stated my PB intention Bill had done similar by claiming he could knock 40minutes off his. Once all the runners were in the start area George did a quick welcome and good luck chat and then we were off. It was a very warm sunny day, even though we had a headwind for much of the outward leg, I knew the conditions would play a part in today's performance. Within 5 minutes my hat was off and then I had to roll down my arm warmers. For the first couple of miles I ran with Bill towards the back of the pack at an easy pace which suited me in the early stages. We passed Rhona Mitchell, said a quick hello. Rhona ran her first Ultra today and did so in a fantastic time, just under 6hours. I'm sure the next Ultra for her won't be far off.
 (Photos above were taken by Rhona's father, Stewart Mitchell, thanks to Rhona for letting me use these)

Then we passed Soph who has been on her comeback after having had a difficult winter. Respect to Soph to show commitment, mental strength and courage to battle on all day and finish. I don't think I could have done the same if I had been through the same. I'm sure it won't take long before she is back on top. She showed everyone today how a proper ultra runner does it when it gets tough. So I ran with Bill until he started to phaff with his pack. I thought he was just behind me and only when he didn't answer me did I notice he was a bit behind. I was finding my stride now so pushed on, sorry Bill! I saw him again on the return leg and then at the finish where he finished with a massive 30 minute PB. Top man. Most people I spoke to today at the finish has achieved course PB's and almost everyone was smiling and delighted with how they had got on. Well, almost everyone! (I won't name names). I caught up with a group containing the 'Chief', Victoria O, Victoria S, Ian S (who was 40 today) and Jonathan MacKintosh. I was feeling good, but then had to pull up and stop after my left lace came undone. I had to play catch up again. Soon I had caught up and decided to push on past them. I felt ok at the road crossing at the Fetch feed station and then the next checkpoint.
(Photo taken by Lee MacLean, with Dave waterman)

Somewhere near to Crathes visitor centre Jonathan caught up with me. I had slowed a bit as I had become aware that the first 10 or so miles had been at a much higher pace than I would be able to sustain. I nearly shit myself when he silently appeared at my shoulder! His Hokas must have been on stealth mode! Jonathan rates his Hokas highly and they certainly attracted interest from other runners during the day. I've still to be convinced. From here until the finish, we ran together. I was grateful for the company and the chat which made the time pass a lot quicker. The eventual winner had passed not long before and then 2nd placed Grant Jeans. Now, nearing the turning point, runners began to pass on their return leg with increasing regularity. Everyone acknowledged one another on passing. This is one of the great things about these events, even if you don't know someone everyone will say hello. There are a few miserable grumpy gits out there, but probably around 95% will wink, wave, smile, thumbs up or say 'how you doin'. Andy Johns passed looking very fresh, followed my Mike Raffan and soon after Dave Morrow. On the final approach to the turning point runners came thick and fast. Jonathan and I decided to not hang about, and get a quick drink, refill or bottles and walk out of the check point while trying to eat something. I felt I had covered the first half too quick but I've since checked and I was a minute faster to the halfway point last year. On the outward leg my fastest mile was 8.16 and slowest 10.13, on the return leg the fastest was 9.03 and slowest being 14.05, which was due to walking out from the halfway point.  The days average was 10.15 minute per mile. Enough of the statistical nonsense.
(Photo taken by Julie Clarke, approaching the Fetch Checkpoint)

The sun was still beating down and even though we had a slight breeze I felt like I was being slow roasted. I drank every few minutes and early on knew I would be hard pushed to get 5 hours 30 minutes. If I had been on my todd on the return leg I would have probably finished closer to 6 hours. So running with Jonathan was great for keeping the momentum going, hopefully he didn't loose any time off his own PB today. So thanks Jonathan. We noticed that hardly anyone passed us on the return leg. I checked later, only 10 runners passed us on the second 16.5miles so we did quite well at maintaining the pace. I hate all thing tech but between my phone app and Jonathans Garmin it helped keep an eye on our progress. As we entered Duthie Park we agreed to finish together which was a great way to finish off todays wee run. So I managed to knock 19 minutes and 56 seconds off my previous time to finish in 5 hours 36 minutes 11 seconds.
A great new course PB, and a great start to this years SUMS. I hung around and talked to lots of folk including Donald, Dave, Terry, Ada, Ray, Bill, Andy, Ross, Grant and the grumpies. I could ramble on about who else I saw, met and talked to but if you're still reading this, you wouldn't be for long!
I had a room (cupboard) in the Queens Hotel in Stonehaven booked for that night (great view from the window) so I could meet up with other runners that night for a drink or two.
After a shower and my dinner I headed up to meet them at the Station Hotel. I said a quick hi to my brother-in-law who's band 'Shooter' were playing in the hotels country and western club. Back in the bar a lot of runners had gather and I stayed for a bout an hour and a half chatting and having a laugh. I also got a telling off! Karen had a chat to me about my crap nutrition during runs and gave me some very sensible advice for the WHWR. She then asked George to give me some advice and his opinion. BANG!! a slap on the back of the heid was his input, followed by 'Listen to Karen'. The concussion is just wearing off! By around 10.30pm I was knackered. It was good to chat to folk but I wanted my bed.
After breakfast the next morning I wanted to stretch my legs before the drive home. I walked along the beach and then up the hill to Dunotter Castle and back. It did the job of loosening up the muscles.
So another D33 has passed. Well done and thanks to George and Karen and to all the happy helpful smiling and cheery marshalls for working so hard all day to make it a great day. I'm happy with how it went and my PB.

 Fling Prep.
Now my attention turns to the Fling in 6 weeks. I'm avoiding the G2E in 2 weeks. I'd rather have a bout of diarrhoea than run that again. Talking of diarrhoea, the D33 went off without any stomach or bowel complaints. I know one runner who took 10 imodium throughout the day to stop their backside from falling out. 2 are normally enough for me so I count myself lucky I don't suffer from IBS. So between now and the Fling any WHW route runs will be on the Fling route sections. I'll run the dreaded Inversnaid to Drovers section again and basically work on my pacing. I feel another bout of 'foot in mouth' coming on. My target would be to knock 30 minutes off my course PB, but after last years nightmare, finishing might just do! I get an extra hour this year because I'm in the 'getting on a bit' category (vet), so that's a safety net in case it goes awry again. Bring it!!


  1. Well done on a massive PB Colin. Good yabbering to you. Some lovely pics there as well. See you at Milngavie in just over a month..

  2. Great run and report - you should write a blog post about what you eat during long runs and I am sure you will get lots of comments from others on what works for them, and maybe a few ideas to try out.

  3. great report and race Colin. I'd be curious about what upset Karen on your nutrition plan.

  4. Really nice photos, Colin. Well done on your PB, and good luck with the running to come. See you in Milngavie.