Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The GOOD The BAD and The UGLY

As a relative newcomer to the blogosphere,trying to come up with a catchy title for a post and content that is worth more than a second glance can be challenging. This week was the exception, the title just seemed to fit so well.


After last weeks solo Saturday 22 miler, normality was restored as the troika of Caroline, Andy and Keith hit the trails of Mabie Forest once again. Once again my "bright idea" gene kicked in and my suggestion of running the Purple route with a detour up Lotus Hill, whilst not enthusiastically received was accepted as the day's plan.
It's pretty much a steady uphill 2 mile start to this route gaining around 250 feet (although it always feels more) on good metalled forest roads. A low clagging, clammy mist refused to lift and our usual stunning views were denied us, but I was happy as once again I had company (see previous post) on my long Saturday run.

Enjoying the view
The mist persistently refused to lift and as we left the confines of Mabie at mile 8 and headed towards Lotus Hill, my colleagues couldn't see what they'd let themselves in for! Lotus Hill tops out at a modest 1050 feet, with about 750 feet of climb from the road. In fact its pretty similar in height gain to Conic Hill on the WHW race route, with a similarly slippy down hill leg too, hence the reason for including it in the route, proper realistic WHW race training!

Andy & Caroline, not enjoying the view
The first mile uphill is pretty gentle and run able, followed by a fairly brutal straight up section before the summit plateau and the trig pillar on top. Foot for foot the views are usually pretty stunning across the Solway estuary, the Lake District hills and on a clear day the Isle of Man.

Saturday was not a clear day, with much cursing and colourful agricultural language from Caroline we reached the trig point, even the reward of a jelly baby didn't raise a smile.
The colourful language increased in volume and intensity as we hit the treeline on the descent and the path turned to glutinous unavoidable muddy gloop, again its all good practise for the West Highland Way race.
With a 4 mile detour round the Lotus, just over half way point and we're heading back into Mabie. I'm practising my nutrition too so it was time for a strawberry Ambrosia rice and a chocolate chip CLIF bar, both went down really well. Since I made a complete Rollicks of my hydration on last weeks 22 miler, once my bottles were empty I started re-filling them from the numerous streams which cross under the forest roads, I reckon I took on board about 2 litres over the run, twice last week's intake. The second half of the run went well, a good steady pace, running the slopes and walking the steeper climbs albeit avoiding our usual downhill, red route finish.
Total time 4 hours 15 minutes with just over 3000 feet of ascent and descent, company on my run with all the usual running banter and a new cook at The Bike shed, who can actually fry an egg and leave it with a runny yoke. I felt great at the end, I could easily have run on, everything seemed to have clicked for this run! Oh and I didn't get Cholera from drinking stream water as my family predicted.
Definitely The GOOD.


As we were heading out for a family meal to celebrate Andrew's 21st birthday, I'd decided to grab an hours kip in the afternoon in a vain attempt to push back my normal bedtime beyond 9pm. Just as I was slipping off to the land of nod, Ian G phoned with the news that the cramp he'd suffered on our Thursday evening run had in fact turned out to be a ripped calf muscle, he was now on crutches and was likely to be off running for the foreseeable future. We've pretty much run every Saturday since we decided to train for our first marathon in autumn 2010 and this is the first major injury any of our little group has suffered. Its particularly bad luck as Ian had not long signed up to attempt his first Iron Man in the summer, so definitely The BAD.


Since I was lucky enough to get through the ballot for the WHW race, I've struggled a bit to get my head round a training plan for a 95 mile race. I was always planning to run the D33, so was delighted to discover George's D33 plan and immediately adopted it. Similarly the Highland Fling was always on the radar, so the gap between D33 and Fling was easy to bridge, but what to do after that was a big grey area.
A lunchtime trawl through various Ultra running websites found an abundance of purported specialists willing to share, write or otherwise devise a custom plan for me, for a modest $300.... not happening.
Then I chanced across a free detailed plan for a hilly 100 miler and when I sat that alongside my outline plan up to the Fling, lo and behold its a good match. OK its American, its for a woman and the midweek distances are a bit rubbish (3 mile, 5 miles etc) but at least its a plan.
The downside....................... May has back to back runs totalling 50 miles on weekend 1; 50 miles on weekend 2 and 70 miles on weekend 3, its going to be UGLY, very, very UGLY


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