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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!!