MdS challenge 2017

A challenge of the self


November 2015

Weather weather everywhere

It’s Saturday! I need to go out…. in THAT.
Weather has turned a bit nasty, very windy, lots of cold rain which is turning to sleet & snow.

After standing around in a heated building for three hours presenting one of my other passions (I’m building a climbing wall in our local area) to the public, I know I need to get a run in.

So, 14:15 I set off to meet Stefan nearby in Scotlandwell and we have a plan to do some mileage across, and through the hills.

It had already been wet for a few days prior and it was still raining by the time we met at the RVP. After a change change into running gear, we set off, straight up to the top of, or heading towards Bishop Hill.

Sat run Bishophill
12 miles of wet, windy & cold adventure

We had packed all the essential gear, and food knowing we’d be out for a couple of hours. Then, a half mile away from car, I’d remembered… I’d forgot to pack the head torch! Meh! We didn’t turn back. Maybe that was a bad decision.

Although the day was wet, windy and just generally miserable, Stefan & I forgot (mostly) about the weather. Good chat can cheer you up despite the external feelings being forced upon you.
Obviously, going straight up the hill has an effect on pace, as well as tiring you out. however, we were greeted with a nice break in the clouds, and a great view over Loch Leven below.

It was my first time running in these parts, although these hills are relatively closeby. Now, I’ve done it once, I’ll definitely be back.
Heading West we went on the search for the ‘golf ball’ and a good path that Stefan knew.
Sticking to the path, we made good pace and forced ourselves through the weather and headed North as our thinking initially was to head up the back side of the West Lomond. upon reaching the highest point, we could see our goal, just about, through the closing in weather, and low cloud.

Holding my ears in! They were getting cold!!

We decided, after a stop for refreshments not to go up the West and headed of towards Ballo reservoir. Scenery was lovely, well, as much as we could see through the now, driving rain.
Despite the weather we making good pace, albeit, a few muddy patches we did end up rather mud splattered due to a fall here and there. On reaching the reservoir, it was getting dark. Ah! I’ll put on my head torch! Doh.. if only I packed it.
We were now running along by Stefans’ head torch, lighting the way for two, side by side.

The weather got worse. Temperature dropped and it started to snow on the way back to our starting position. We were four miles out. Great!
Both of us, although still running, felt a little miserable.
Our goal, to find our way back down through the forest.

On reaching the turning point back to our initial route we decided that due to weather and time, it was now 17:00(ish) that a ‘quick’ detour through the forest was the best bet, even with one head torch.
Maybe not the best idea, but no real option. So, we continued along a track, hopefully heading Southwards, towards the cars.
I was reasonably confident we were going in the right direction, Stefan maybe not so. However, we continued on that bearing and reach the bottom of the tree line, headed West and then South again. All changes in direction dictated by the ‘orange glow’ of the nearest town lights. At least it was a bearing we knew would take us towards the cars.

Sure enough, after a 10/15min walk through the forest, we were greeted by the main ‘path’ that led up the hill. We were a little relieved to have found it.

We continued down the path and through someone’s back garden (sorry for that), toward the main road. Headed left, and back to the cars.

Our adventure saw us cover twelve miles. It had taken us just over two hours but we were safe. Albeit, very muddy, cold and wet.

Thanks Stefan for joining the run.

Back to back

I’m now on my 3rd week of my 50 mile training plan. This has seen a marked increase (of course) in the amount of miles I’m doing each week, and, the length of runs I’m going out to do.

My training week goes something like:

Mon & Fri – Rest days (albeit I do 3 x Interval training each month which equates to 3 x 45 hard sessions of sprints, stair climbs and hill sprints. All told, the overall distance covered is 5k )

Tues/Wed/Thurs – 8k’s (3 x 8 = 24k)

Sat – Long run (presently 31k) & Sun – Medium run (presently 11k)Saturday 31k run Sunday 7mile run

Happily, I’m pretty much injury free. Other than the general aches from constant training, I feel fine.

However, I’m still finding my way with ‘eating on the run’. I totally ‘bonked’ on my long run when I returned home. I had to lay down for fear of fainting and I definitely felt like being sick when I tried to replenish fluids.

I still haven’t found the right food to eat. However, I think i have the solution. Homemade flapjacks! Energy goodness in bitesize chunks which I’m hopeful I can chew/swallow as I run.

Skin3The long run was cold. 3deg C here and i was, in parts, running in snow/ice. However, I was kept warm with my new running vest.
I decided that the backpack I was using was causing too much grief. I had to stop to get anything from it and it became a chore.
Therefore, I settled to buying an S-Lab Skin3 5set vest which holds everything I need (hopefully) for my longer runs. I packed it with a rain proof top, snood, gloves, food and filled the 2No. 500ml soft water bottles.
it did the job really well and, crucially, allowed me to rehydrate on the move. Something my last solution didn’t allow. however, that said, I am finding the position of the rear ‘pouch’ a tad high and removing things on the go from there, is, so far, not the easiest of tasks. A bit more practise required.
This is one of the reasons I bonked after the run. Didn’t eat properly and became single-minded about getting the run finished, rather than stop for 2mins and get food. I certainly learned the hard way!

So… onward & forward.
Thanks for popping by.

Training plan…

I guess, with everything, there has to be some form of plan. So, with that in mind I’ve (we) had a look at race events to enter to gauge training etc. David and I have concluded that a ‘sensible’ goal would be to complete the Glasgow to Edinburgh. A ‘race’ of some 55miles. More info here on the event.

This 50mile ultra was chosen as it will gauge performance on what will be the ‘long day’ of the MdS. If it can be done now, just a few other things to overcome too. Always a good thing to know you can actually run the distance you need, or at least that is my thinking.

So.. with that in mind, I am now on a 50mile training plan which should culminate in running the race distance in approx 20-24wks.

I’ve just completed my first week on the schedule and covered some 63k this week! A big undertaking, knowing where I’ve come from. Wk1 training plan
This has had an impact on social time and of course fitting the running in during working hours. Dedication is what is going to be key, of that I already know.

To further gauge running ability before the 55miles, we are also thinking about entering a 33mile race a month prior to the G2E. All being well, I should be on target for the distance, so really just seeing how the times will be.

I’ve also noticed that my Ascis Gel Cumulus 16’s are now getting, 1) very dirty what with our Scottish weather, and 2) to the point where they prob now need replaced. I have no idea if the distance markers for shoes are conservative or ‘just a guide’.
However, I’m looking at other shoes anyways and likely to plum for a Gortex top shoe to help deal with the ‘wet feet issue’.

However, onwards and onwards…..

Blog at

Up ↑