MdS challenge 2017

A challenge of the self


February 2016

Two weeks to go…

As with things, planning seems to help. As this I my first ultra, I’ve had to plan the increase in miles through a training plan. I’ve been using a training plan that focuses on slowly increasing the thre mid-week runs and doing a long run on the Saturday followed by a back to back on the Sunday. Again, these have been managed to increase so the final longest run would be on race day.

However, I knew that the 33miler was always going to be a step in the process towards the daunting 55 mile Glasgow to Edinburh which comes a mere three weeks after the D33. So all in all, a plan was needed. I started the plan ahead of the 20wk schedule as I knew I had more to do that just 20wks of training to complete. So, this should lead me to have a further month of training which I thought would be necessary.

I’ve tried to stick to my weekly planned miles and I believe this has been key to me achieving my targets during hit last 20wks. There have certainly be times I’ve questioned my abilities and asked myself why, but I’m a stubborn sort and if I say I’ll do it, I’ll do it.

So this weekend, saw me on my two week taper before the D33. This would be my last ‘long run’ before the race, a ‘mere’ 20miles along the Fife Coastal path. This part was from Dalgety Bay to Burntisland and back.

The weather was glorious! A balmy 7degrees but it felt warmer in the sun.

I was breaking in my Asics Fujiattack 4 trail shoes and they performed well through the forest sections. A good amount of grip up the hills, even on grass but good with mud too. As some of the route was on Tarmac (the coastal path doubles as the cycle path) the shoes didn’t feel too stiff either on these sections.

   When I reached the 10 mile mark, I stopped and had a 10min break. Took on food and fluid. I also got to enjoy the sunshine and the view. I reached the 10 mile mark in 1Hr 23mins. I would go on to do the same return leg in 1Hr 26mins. 

With another two weeks to go, I’ve cut back my mileage through the week and my next weekend run will be just a 20k. Apart from an interval session, all runs will be on mid to easy scale.

Whatever you got up to, I hope it was a good one.

Ah… Now rest

Another long run in the bag! Sunday saw the last long run before the race on the 12th March. I completed another 33mile run (53k) and managed to do it slighter faster than before. All considered and time adjusted, I was 8min quicker than last week.

Although the run was changeable it was good for the oust part

However, times never tell the real story. I changed my breaks, I had more but over shorter distance so I could take on fluids and food. This seemed to work out ok but again, I’ve note really mastered the right food.
I’m reluctant to rely on gels to fuel my intake and really need to source proper food as distances increase. I’ll not order pizza or dessert en-route like Dean Karnazes (Ultramarathon Man) but would prefer something more solid.

I’m not going to beat myself up just yet about getting the eating plan wrong as I’ve still got a full year before the eventual race but, more research is required.

The run itself saw the same route as last time as it’s an easy planned route. It does cover some road running, i.e. no footpaths and confidence is required when running towards oncoming traffic. It’s not for everyone but wearing ultra-bright running gear does help.
I still haven’t managed to run up the 165m hill on the return leg but I’m adamant that I’ll do that in the near future. That’ll take my time down and give me better experience for hill running.

The major difference from the run from last week was I didn’t feel as tired during the last 10k and managed to run most of it back. This could’ve been down to eating more regularly with more scheduled breaks.

The start and end of my run around Loch Leven Trail (20k)

For the rest of the week I managed a PB on my run into work  on the Wednesday (9.2k in 42:22) so getting quicker and ever looking towards that 40min time. And, took it easy on the run home.
Thursday was a rest day.
Friday saw an easy run into work, a short 3.5mile run with a friend during lunch break (Andy has recently taking up running. Possibly due to all the talk David and myself have done about running) and I just wanted to get out and accompany him on his easy 30min run.
The run home was done at the same pace as the lunchtime run (8:30-8:45 per mile) which was nice and relaxed.

So, the next two weeks will see me pairing the mileage back with the longest run being a 20mile this weekend and then maybe a 20k the following weekend.
I’ll still be running in to, and back from work three times a week but at a more relaxed pace.
I’ll be adding interval training back into Monday evenings for the next three weeks just to aid the stamina and add the ‘explosiveness’ back in. Hill runs, steps and sprints should see me suitably challenged.

Whatever you guys & gals get up to, enjoy it. Take care.

I’m a Marathon runner… I’m addicted…

Hey all… Pardon the profanity in this but it’s worth the watch. It’s VERY funny.

I’m sure a few of you will recognise some of the facts in the video.

I’m a marathon runner… I’m addicted

Marathon runners


Level up!

Hey guys & gals,

Hope you are well and things are good for you.

My last week has had a few ups and down (no pun intended), what with new shoes and getting some sponsorship from the company, I’ve gotta say I’m happy overall.

What topped the icing on the cake, I did my first (proper) 50k (and a little bit more)!

The run itself was good, I felt good (until 3miles from the end) and the scenery was awesome. This was a test for the 33mile race on the 12th March (Aberdeen to Banchory & back). I no expectations, other than to finish.

My route saw me set off at 10:00am in a cold wind. I knew it has snowed the previous day but didn’t know what to expect on the way over Loch Glow (highest part of run). I’m so glad the sun was out. It made the day a fabulous one.
Hands were a little cold (even with gloves on) for the first few miles but as I turned North East (4miles in), the sun warmed them up.

As I turned off the main road toward Loch glow I could see that the snow had turned to ice and conditions weren’t … ideal. I had my road shoes on and I was sliding about a bit and a few windmills happened to keep upright. the next 4miles were done at a steady pace. On going through the forest section, I had to stop and get a few photos. It was glorious.

Heading towards Loch Leven Trail I was greeted with a spectacular view across Fife and North, towards Perth. Snow covered hills sitting under a blue sky. What more could you ask for?

Loch Leven Trial is a 20k trail that runs through an RSPB nature reserve. There were a lot of walkers out and about, and quite a few cyclists. underfoot was very icy and where the ice had broken through, puddles as deep as ankles. So, for the first 12miles my feet were dry. A few puddles later (running through on top toes as no other option) my feet got cold but soon drained and became warm again.
During the run around the trail I was running at approx 8:30min mile pace which was stable. AVG heart rate was around 140, so a good training run pace.

I knew I had to have a break at some point to take in food (still haven’t gotten used to eating and running), so I decided to walk at the 22mile mark and refuel. Take in food (banana & some fudge along with fluids). I walked for mile and then set off running again, homeward bound.

The next three miles saw me reach the hill again. Great…right after marathon distance a hill that extends over a mile and rises 165m, I decided to walk it. Although once on the top, I started running again. Legs felt a bit tired and I ran as much as I could, walked where necessary.

I was determined to finish the 50k distance in under 5Hrs, and i did. All good.
The finish came when my watch hit that magic 33mile distance.
Distance covered in 5Hrs and 20mins.
Take into account weather factors and stopping for photos, etc. I’m reasonably confident that I can get the whole route down near 4Hrs 45mins.

All in all, 7 weeks to go before the real tester… the 55mile Glasgow to Edinburgh race.
I’m already thinking about upping my distance in the next three weeks so it’s closer to 60-65k in one go. But, we shall see.

For now, I’m happy I’ve achieved what I have so far.

Remember that all of my effort is for charity, please consider adding to anything you can to the cause by visiting the Donations & Sponsorship page or my Justgiving page.

Thanks for your support & reading.


Now, that’s a weight off…

Yee ha!

I’ve managed to secure a substantial amount from my workplace to assist in the purchase of the essential kit I’ll need for the 2017 MdS. I’m a happy man!

I had an initial chat with our commercial director before Christmas break and we left it in the company’s hands. Last week I was approached by him again to convey the good news.

The news has taken a lot of ‘stress’ off the shoulders, for as you can imagine, there is a whole bunch of kit you HAVE to take with you on a self supported race, across the Sahara desert over 6 days.

So… an Email has been sent to myracekit to request the items I’ve got on my list. I’ll await a response and hopefully, in a short time, I should have most of the kit I’ll require for my quest. A whole year before the event.

I do like being prepared 🙂

So, many thanks to Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) for their generosity thus far.

FCBC2015-large  A pic will follow in time to come.

Find out about the project I’m working on here

Ahh, that’s better

That new shoe feeling! Is there anything better?
Having now run on my Asics (Nimbus 15’s) for the last 7months, I needed to replace them, or at least give them a rest. So, off to my favourite shop.
Next day delivery… a brand spanking new pair of Asic Gel Cumulus 17’s are now pounding the streets.
I have really enjoyed the last pair of Asics and the new ‘bounce’ feel to the Cumulus 17’s is, almost heavenly.

As I got a bargain on these, I also plumped for a trial shoes at the same time, as I was using my road shoe on my more ‘adventurous runs across the hills. Not the best but, at the time I didn’t contemplate the fact I ‘needed’ a trail shoe. I now enjoy running through the hills and off road so, why not.

As I like the fit of the Asics, I went for their Fujiattacks.
Yet to try them on a run but that’ll not last long. I’ll try and get them out at the weekend.

Ooh, shiny!

If you want to see what they’re about… Asics Cumulus 17’s & Asics fujiattack

For now… I’m enjoying the new shoe feel 🙂

those early mornings

Hey folks,

Another week passed 🙂 50miles (80k) covered and feeling pretty good.
Sadly I missed my Wednesday runs, hence the lack of 20k. I had to wait in for a gas meter to be installed at my home. Troubles was, after 4Hrs of waiting in the afternoon, they didn’t show up. I could’ve been out running!! Ah well… s**t happens.

Managing to do my morning run & back to work without too much trouble. In fact, I managed to hit a PB on Friday morning. I had already decided on Thursday evening after a chat with a fellow runner to go out strong and see what time I got.
I was a tad warm when I stopped my watch and walked into work but happy when I found out that a sub 43min (4:40m per k) had been recorded.
This has now got me thinking about a sub 40min, 10k time. Something I plan to hit later in the year, I hope!

I’ve been thinking about my runs into work and back, and with the realisation of doing 3 half marathons during the week, then adding a long run (20-40k+) onto the back of that, I can’t hit a PB every-time I go out. The sensible head has been switched on and I do try and use some of the runs as recovery runs, especially the runs home! Although I do try and do a progression 1.6k finish over an elevation gain of 65m.

After sitting in the office all day, and with the weather we have at present (blowy, rainy and just yuck) it’s sometimes difficult to keep the enthusiasm high to run home. However, I keep thinking… Spring is coming!

Today I had the pleasure of company on my long run (half marathon) and it was good to have that company. The 06:15 start during the week doesn’t afford a running partner, nor does the run back.

Today was all about keeping in ‘the zone’. I had set my watch to remind me as to my running pace. It was set at 8m per mile – 8:30m per mile pace. And looking at the splits, we hit an average of 8:27 per mile (5:17 per k). Happy with the finish too. We hit an elevation of 0m at our lowest point (running next to the coastline) at 10k and the rest was pretty much all up hill. The last 3k see an elevation gain of 85m and the finish is at 121m elevation, so happy that we managed to keep the split times I was looking for.
This bodes well I hope for the 33mile race in a months time. Which is along a river and tow path, therefore, relatively flat.

Hlaf marathon Sunday

So, what’s coming up?
My first true 50k effort will happen next weekend. I plan to do a circuit that covers the race distance, albeit, over a more hilly route. Can’t get away from hills where I live.
I’m not planning for a time, I’m just going to see what happens and take it from there. If I have to walk, I’ll walk, but I want to cover the whole 50k.
This means that my weekly runs will all be done with recovery in mind, i.e. slow 🙂

I shall report on my efforts next week.

Hope your training is all going well.

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