MdS challenge 2017

A challenge of the self


April 2016

It’s been a while

Hey folks, apologies for the tardy update. I’ve been resting my knee, mostly but now, I’m back! Not with a vengeance but I’m back.

So, what have I been up to in the past few weeks since my last post? Well, I’ve walked a fair bit, still done my weekly Kendo session, attended a couple of interval sessions and a few wee runs, i.e. nothing more than 8miles long. None of which has made my knee sore, or showing signs of any recurring problems.

One of the most favourite things I’ve done in the three weeks was meet up with a tremendous chap called Michael. Michael is walking from Iona to St Andrews (West to East of Scotland), some 210 miles over some beautiful scenery and covered across 2 weeks. No mean feat for anyone, and an astounding feat for Michael as he is blind and partially deaf, and I’m sure he won’t mind me saying he’s 76 years young. 

Myself and a group of likeminded individuals are guiding Michael along his way at different stages of the walk.

To find out more about Michael and his ambitious task (this is one of many), please visit here and we’d all love it if you would consider a donation too. Having met Mike and spent some time with him, he’s a true gentleman and very humble. I find him a true inspiration.

Michael is the one in the red hat.

An update of the walk will come once I’ve completed my three day walk. I’m doing the stretch down Fife coastal path, Perth – St Andrews.

My last post stated that I’ve signed up for the Great Glen Way. Yup… I was just checking too. An ambitious 71 mile race from Fort William to Inverness all to be covered in less than 22Hrs and has an overall ascent of many, many ft. Most of which come towards the end of the route.

Knowing I’m signed up, and I want to give it my best shot, I’ve started (continued) hill running. I’m lucky to have a series of hills (Ochils) near by and they are a perfect training ground for the GGW. My first outing saw me run (as much as I was able) up Ben Cleuch, the largest hill in the range. Standing at 2,340 ish ft (720 ish meters) it’s a good test for the legs and cardiovascular system too. 

Coming out of the car park at Alva, it’s pretty much uphill all the way and some parts are steep. Those parts I couldn’t run but I ran as much as I could on the way up. The route down is fast and not overly technical, so you can pick up a good pace. I managed a time of 1:20:16 for the 10k route. Two days after it, my legs reminded me I’d worked them hard.

So, as you can see, I’ve been resting… Mostly 😉

Oh, I had my first ever sport massage too! That was an experience. Day two, all of the bits that had been worked on started to ache. I’ll go again for I must be a sadist.

How many of you use a sports massage? And how often do you use it?
Hope you are all well and injury free. Keep keeping on.

Love is a drug…

It’s a great song from my for formative years. And, likewise, running has become a drug.

As soon as you’ve done a race, after the initial pain has subsided, you start to search for another. Unless you’ve already got them planned.

And, I sit here with a slight injury thinking about what other race can I do, foolishly I’ve just signed up for a 71mile self-supported Ultra.

Running from Fort William to Inverness through some of the most scenic parts of Scotland this race follows a route that has been used for hundreds of years by drovers and walkers alike.

It’s tough! Ascending 6300ft across the route it should test my resilience, something I’ll need in a years time too when I’m on the start line of the 31st MdS.

Anyways, it’s good to have something to look forward to 🙂

Are you foolish too?

Knee… What knee?

A week after the EPIC 55miler, I’ve taken the decision to rest the knee as much I can. This week I’ve only done two runs, one on Thursday (a short 5k across ‘the Bridge’ and back) and another today. A 6.4k around my local loch. Both weren’t at any real pace of which I was glad. 

The run on Thursday saw my knee become a bit aggravated towards the end of the run and I knew if I had done anything much longer, it would’ve given me a problem.

Today’s run, which I’ve only just finished, has no signs of soreness on my knee. See what happens during the rest of the day. 

For the rest of the month, my plans aren’t extravagant at all. No real distances are planned but I’ll try increasing things up to 15-20k by end of month so I can get back on track for my distance training.

This week will see interval training back on the agenda too. We vary the sessions and tomorrow evening will be no exception. As we’ve been doing similar things for a few months, tomorrow will see how these sessions have benefitted our overall cardio levels.

In a different story, the 31st running of the MdS has begun. This now sees me a year away from standing on the start line too. I wish all the very best to those who are competing this year as I can fully appreciate the hard work that has gone into your quest this year. Ganbatte!


So.. Whatever you are planning or running, hope it all goes well. Take care and keep, keeping on.

The day I ran a Marathon and walked an Ultra

So… Post race day. 55miles under my feet later with a time of… Well, I finished in a time I hadn’t hoped would reach. The Main thing, I finished.

The whole thinking of doing a double marathon (and a bit) was to give me a better head space when I reach day 4 on the MdS as it’s also a double.

Of course there will be many more things to cope with at that time but the mind should know the body is capable to cover the distance. So, that’s one thing ticked off the list.

Race day:

Arrived with David at 08:10 and registered. BTW: Many thanks to Kevin who drove us through to Glasgow. I had a few hellos to say to some new found running friends.  I also had to greet a friend who was running with us, that I hadn’t seen in 8yrs. How time passes.


There was a good level of excitement and anticipation at the race briefing and then we, 155 of us, set off.

As stated in previous post David and I had discussed speed and we tried to keep to that. This proved too quick for Ben’s plans and he dropped back after a few miles. Tun was holding his own with us until a ‘break’ was required. David & I kept to the dictated pace (08:30 per mile). CP1 came and went and we headed towards CP2 (Falkirk Wheel) which was some 22.5 miles in. At mile 19/20 my old problem reoccurred. Yup, my knee was telling me it wasn’t happy again. Maybe three weeks wasn’t enough recovery time. However, we made the CP with a few seconds between us.

I need a toilet break and headed up the hill towards the Falkirk Wheel. I found David wandering around outside looking for me but I needed to fill my water bottles. In doing so, Ben appeared and not too long after, Tun rocked up. They both weren’t too far behind. Tun was saying he was a bit broken as he hadn’t run this kind of distance for over a year.

David & I decided to keep on going but not before I put on a knee brace. I thought it might be a problem so had packed it into my running vest. We set off up the hill and though the tunnel. I knew that my knee was now having problems… Poop!

I tried to run as much as I could to marathon distance as I knew, the faster I got there the better my chances if I had to walk, ie. Average splits across the double. And, so it came to pass. I reached marathon distance in a shade over 4Hrs and commenced walking. My walking isn’t’ your typical walking. I was doing the army tab marching and kept a good pace. So much so two army guys noticed what I was doing and remarked that I was keeping good pace. We would go on and exchange place over the next 18miles or so.

Although I knew my estimated time of 9Hr finish was now blown, I was trying hard not to drop too much time. When CP3 came around I was also interested in knowing where David had come. He went through 30mins before me, in 21st place! An awesome pace and result thus far.I knew I couldn’t make up the trim and did a quick mental call and I knew I’d be approx over an hour later than him by the time we finished. Ah well… On I pushed.

The route was very pretty in places, especially coming out of Glasgow and it was good to see places on a new trail. This is what I love about this new running thing. It literally takes you places. Mentally, yes. Physically, of course but you get to explore new places and take in the sights.

Between CP3 and CP4 I got passed by another three people which did surprise me. I actually thought it would be more. However, people passing me weren’t going too quickly and it did take a mile or so for them to disappear. As I said, my walking pace was at times, as quick as others running pace. I would’ve given anything to pick up my pace and put in 11min miles but alas, no.

CP4 cam on the horizon (42miles in) and I knew then that I had this in the bag. Only another 5 miles to go the next check point. I was always, at my new found walking pace, concerned about the cut off time (19:30) but in reality I was well inside that. I made it to CP5 with a two hour window. I was pleased. I even managed to pass the two army guys twice along the last few miles but ultimately, they were still able to run and I didn’t see them again after mile 48/49.

I did manage to pick up a new friend, who like me, had a physical problem. His IT band was giving him trouble sometime ago and he had to resolve himself to walking. Also, he was very happy of a bit of camaraderie as he said his spirit had left him a bit. No matter. We walked for the next 6.5 miles together. Thank you Danny for the company, it was welcomed. I had pretty much been on my own for 4.5 Hrs or more at that point. Another problems one folks can’t dealt with in Ultra running/distances. The loneliness of it.

The next 6 miles seemed to take forever and I even questioned the route but a quick check of the map, we were still on the right route. Only another 3miles to go! Still keeping the pace we charged on but sadly, as we were both getting tired, the chat had left us. I apologised to Danny but he was feeling the same.

We got passed by three guys at approx 2k to go but 100yrds up the road they were walking again. Our fast walking pace saw us retake our places and the we could see the lights towards the end. 1k to go! Three new chaps passed u, sadly they were still running. Something both of us would’ve longed to have been able to do.

Then, we heard the cheers at a 500m to go marker. We were given a crescendo of applause and cheering which was nice to get. It lifted the spirits.

The the 100m mark appeared. I picked up my sore knees and ran the last 100m. I couldn’t bring myself to walk across the line. I arrived just in front of Danny. I was elated. Danny crossed the line. We hugged and thanked each other for the combined spirit to get across the line. That was the hardest 6 miles I’ve EVER done so far.

So, a double marathon has been ticked off the list. A new Tshirt to add to the wardrobe with that all important 2016 Ultramarathon finisher on it. And of course, a medal. This one I will cherish.

At times, I felt emotional along the way. Doubted my self but ultimately, I was never going to let myself not finish it. I can understand why folks pull out of a race like this if they’ve succumbed to walking. They feel they’ve not done it justice. I’m of the other opinion. Pushing on and finishing it, in my opinion is better for the soul.

Running = a test of the self. This certainly came true during the race.

My time? I came in approx 10.5Hrs. Some 1.5Hrs after my scheduled finish. David did great. With no injury, he pushed on through his own pain and came in 17th place! An AWESOME result. I didn’t ask about my finishing place when I crossed the line. I will find out when the official results come out later today. No matter, double marathon = DONE!!

Pre race nerves…

So, it’s the day before the BIG one, the Glasgow – Edinburgh 55 miler.
David & I have discussed tactics, and the, oh so not so hot topic of “what happens if you’re faster than me?”
So, what did we discuss?

1. Aim for a nice steady pace which should see us running the whole way. Rather than going out too fast and slowing towards the end. Knowing how the knees were after the 33, we shall see what happens.
2. Get to the end earlier than later.
3. Food. We are both taking running vests with food and hydration system of some sort or another. There are many check points (5) along the course so we can always fill up as needed.
I’m using Tailwind as my main hydration as it performed really well on the D33.

TN logoFINAL450

4. “Should I be struggling…” We have also decided that we should go on and finish as we intended, ‘leaving’ the other person behind.
5. Getting back home. As we both live outside of Edinburgh, we have called in a favour from David’s wife to meet us at the end and drive us back. Dropping me off where I left my car in the morning.

Nothing more can be done now. No point in worrying about it… as the famous slogan says “JUST DO IT!”

So, into the breach my friends. Tomorrow will be an awesome day! Maybe even EPIC.


Report will be forthcoming on Sunday. If I’m still alive and able.
Whatever you get up to across the weekend, have fun. Keep, keeping on.

PS: Thanks to all those who have given to Warchild already. Obviously the more the merrier and I would really appreciate the support that your contribution brings to my adventure. I’m not doing this for me! Anyways, thanks!
Also, thanks to all those who have put up with my running stories and banter whilst out on the trails/roads thus far. It’s been a pleasure.

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