Monday, 15 February 2010

Valentine's Weekend

At the finish on a hill above the hotel

We finally got to use a Christmas present from 2008 (!), a DB&B voucher for the Holly Tree Hotel in Kentallen near Ballachulish. And what a nice place it is!
Our plan was to do a circular run from Kentallen along the new cycle path towards South Ballachulish, then on to Ballachulish and up into Glen Duror, to Duror village and back to the hotel. It was fantastic. We took about 3.5hrs with a lot of photo stops. It was 25.5KM and quite a bit up and down. Thomas had done this run years ago when I wasn't running at all so I was really keen to do it myself. And the new cycle path is great. To my surprise it is in fact tarmaced so it will be worth taking my rollerblades next time for a wee run along there.
We then relaxed in the hotel pool and sauna and then had the most delicious dinner.

Next morning after a good breakfast we set out to meet up with Sharon and John at Kingshouse. Thomas was going to run with them from there. I would join them at the bottom of the staircase. That would give me a chance to keep up with them I figured! It is amazing how fast Sharon is even on the uphills, my longer legs not giving me a big advantage. On the downhill she was just storming down. I kept up with Tim though and his dog who tried to trip us by running between our legs all the time. I was giving my new Roclites their first run and they felt quite good. Thomas stopped just before the very steep downhill into KLL started and we returned up the staircase. He waited for me at the top and took a few photos. That was my chance. I ran ahead and opened a slight gap. We then stormed down the staircase and he did not catch me! Luckily he did not fall then but later when he was running back on his own to the ski centre. Off to the Green Welly afterwards for some soup.

So this was my first "back to back", well sort of though the distances were not that long. But I was very pleased with my running over the weekend and really enjoyed it. It will bring my weekly mileage up nicely.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Half a glee outing

Yesterday I joined the glee club run from Drymen to Rowardennan. I was only going to do the 1st half and the plan was for Thomas to pick me up at Rowardennan. Well, I was a bit nervous as this was going to be my 1st outing with them "on my own", but Thomas reassured me that I would "easily" be able to keep up with their pace! Well, little did he know! So we gathered in Drymen, about 10 or even 12 of us, I only knew Ellen, Pauline and Fiona and Ian King. Thomas was meeting Marco to run to Balmaha and back for a speedier session and a slightly diverted route and then drive the car to Rowardennan. I was a bit concerned about my right knee but that was holding up, but needs a rest today so no Renfrewshire Road Race for me.
After a picture we set off. Well, setting off?! Speeding off into the distance was more like it. There were 2 girls at the front (I had not met either of them before) who were setting a pace that left me gasping for breath. I was talking to Ellen, or rather she was talking to me and asking me about Nepal, but all I could do was give short answers and hiss the question: Is this your usual pace? After the 1st gate I just had to let them go and fell back until I met Fiona who was also finding it a bit too fast. So I settled into a much more relaxed pace and we chatted. In fact our chat would last nearly 4 hours until we got to Rowardennan with photo stops and a toilet break in Balmaha. In Balmaha Ellen, Pauline, Janet and Don were waiting on us, apparently they had also slowed down and had only waited a few minutes? We had met Thomas and Marco coming up Conic Hill again and stopped for a quick photo.

Fiona is obviously a very experienced WHW Runner so I got a few tips and tasted Ginger Crystals and Rice Crispy Squares that I will test out myself next time. I had gels and fruit pastilles but started to eat them a bit late (90min into the run) so I really have to stick to my orders of eating a gel every 30min or so. But I drank regularly.

Thomas met us about 3K out from Rowardennan and ran back with us, telling us that Ellen & Co were only a few min ahead but that the other half of the group had been there for at least 25min! We arrived and the bar was full of runners! To our surprise Karen and George and their running friends were there having run from Beinglas to Rowardennan and stocking up on food and drinks. They are all training for the Fling. I got changed and was pleased with my 4 hour run. We then headed to Glasgow to buy new (old) Trabuccos. I was keen to get my old model (Trabucco 12) but all they had was the new Goretex version in a pink that was too hard to bear. Luckily she offered to order the non Goretex version in purple - Perfect. And we met some more WHW Family members, Tim Downie, Muriel and their daughter were shopping for new running gear. Good luck to Muriel in her 1st HM in Bath!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Beinglas to Tyndrum

While Thomas, Marco and Richie were running from Drymen to Beinglas I parked the car at the Drover's and ran to Tyndrum. I had planned to also run back but decided against it as I was not only feeling completely exhausted when I reached Auchtertyre but felt my right knee getting sorer on the downhills.
In my excuse we had only just returned from our skiing trip the night before and I had noticed my right knee towards the end of the skiing week. There was no particular injury but maybe just too much pressure on the knee from all the skiing. It is my ITB I think.
Anyway, I had a great run in crisp cold sunshine. This was the only part of the Way I had not ran on, and from our walking a few years ago I had forgotten how many uphill sections there are. And how long the path winds through the forest above Crianlarich. I was so glad I had read Ian's blog about how to approach cows as of course they were all waiting for me on the mud-frozen path. I approached giving myself a pep talk on looking confident enough, until a small calf got scared and started to run all over the place. I was expecting the other cows to go mad as well but luckily they just stood still and I quickly disappeared up the path.

I reached Tyndrum after 2:45min. I then joined a long queue at the Green Welly where a bus-load of people had just arrived. The soup was delicious and after getting warmed up I started to eye up potential lifts. I did not have to wait long when 2 girls arrived at the petrol station and agreed to give me a lift to Beinglas. They were on their way back to Manchester from Skye and were planning to stop at the Drover's for lunch. Perfect. So after more chatting in the pub and some coffees it was time to look out for the boys. They arrived at 15.15 and we were back in the pub for more soup and chips.

This was probably our last skiing trip for a few years as downhill skiing and running don't go together so well. I was keeping my fingers crossed the whole week that Thomas would not pick up any injury. He also feels that the skiing does not fit into his training regime at all. So while this has been an annual trip with friends it looks as if we are pulling out. So here are a few pictures from our last trip, snow conditions were perfect by the way!