Scottish Runners

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18/06/2013 at 20:53


WELL DONE TP!!!! Love reading your reports so hope it doesn't too long to materialise ..

MrsMac I have no idea how u did that... or why... awesome running though!!

Lovely day here for cycling too Elspeth.

Bf and I went for a swim this morning in Bardowie Loch... glorious.... finally somewhere to swim before work  Makes a change from fighting for a lane in a 25m pool!! 50m pool swim planned for Thursday after work and Loch Lomond over the weekend!

Run tomorrow morning and Friday and a cycle again tomorrow night while bf is away hill racing.

Will be in Glasgow City centre at the weekend watching the Cycling champs too!! Exciting!!

Hope you enjoy the race on Friday Alison!

Right, shops and a few bits of planning to do before bed....


18/06/2013 at 21:16

I heard a rumour there is a Dounby half marathon this year at the end of June. If this is true do you know if it will be on again next year, as I will be back down to Aberdeenshire the end of June plus not ready for a half yet. I will be back to Orkney for Stromness 10k though.

18/06/2013 at 22:43

Amazing effort TP, a very well done. Look forward to the race report. Some of those climbs are cruel aren't they? Many occur right after an aid station!!!  I found the haul into the finish once you dropped off the top (after I'd negotiated some hideous overgrown path) to be one of the hardest parts ... so near yet so far ...  anyways, wishing you speedy recovery.  I found soaking my compression socks in water and then shoving them in freezer and then wearing them to be fantastically soothing and effective ...

No running today, but a quick dip in the sea. Would have been perfect chance to practice some sea swimming for my Tri in August but was out for walk with a friend so not the time to try it. Tapering for Lairig Ghru - feels weird.  Your swim opportunities sound fabby UTC. 

32 miles on road  OMG

19/06/2013 at 07:56

George - Dounby half is a one off though they did run it 3 years ago so I guess depends how popular it is. Weekend after next.

19/06/2013 at 08:00

morning BM

lovely run this morning along the canal and river... beautiful morning if a little dull. No wind... Tempo pace and felt good. Happy days. Cycle on for tonight hopefully.

19/06/2013 at 12:07

Hello all,

I haven't posted for ages - just been very busy.

I am still running and training for GNR is underway. I have settled into a nice routine for runs (Weds - road run, Fri easy run, Sunday trail run, monday tempo) Weds and Sundays are my longest runs and I am finding it okay. I go to a bootcamp on a Monday and they organise a the group runs I do Weds and Sunday so I am really enjoying running with others again.

I will read back through and try to catch up on all the news.



19/06/2013 at 15:21

Afternoon all

Finally caught up . Lots of racing going on this last couple of weekends!

Well done to MrsMac and Tricia for Strathearn mara, I really enjoyed that one last year. And CC, OH and Elspeth for Dirty 30, 57.5 and the Fay Family Combination at Hoy, and all others out and about . Some good running all around.

My foot swelling has gone down significantly now but the ankle ligaments are still enlarged.

CC - I'm doing a similar thing to what you said, but using frozen flannels then wrapping the feet ! Definitely the constant up and down stressing the ankles.

Off to do the hoovering  then will return with a report soon!

19/06/2013 at 16:36

South Downs Way 2013 Report

It took 8.5hrs to drive from Glasgow to Winchester on a rather too hot Saturday just over a week ago. As it turned out, going the week before was a good idea, as it enabled me to acclimatise myself to the slightly warmer conditions and to recce approx. the first 25m of the course, not to mention finding time to sample some of the rather nice IPA they brew down there!

I registered at Chilcomb, about 1.5m outside Winchester, on the night before the race, leaving drop bags and having a brief kit check and chat, which meant on Saturday I had the luxury of an extra half hour in bed. Back there again Saturday morning for the 5.30am briefing, lots of serious stuff about taking waterproof jackets due to the wind on the higher sections of the Downs and for people not to clog the race phone number just because they were lost!!!

We started promptly at 6am with a 1.5 loop of the sports field, with a load of fast young men totally hairing off like they were doing 10k, and the rest of us plodding and chatting at the back. Nice little warm up before exiting directly onto the South Downs path.

19/06/2013 at 16:49

The first few miles passed uneventfully, with everyone just sorting themselves out, and we quickly spread out more on the first climb up to Cheesefoot Head (a rather appropriate name given the state of some peoples feet at the finish !!). Up and down we went in a rather nice undulating fashion  until the first CP at Beacon Hill at roughly 10m. It was very windy here so I just passed straight through without stopping, still had loads of electrolyte in my bottle. Took a gel and headed for the next climb up Winchester Hill, where you pass through the ramparts of an Iron Age hillfort. It was all very huge and impressive and 'Southern English' in form (ie you don't get hillforts that big in Scotland!), and had two Bronze Age barrows at the centre, which we also had to run over. I reminded myself I was not here to admire the stratigraphy and continued on a nice trot to the next CP .

There was a hideous steep climb along a path gauged out of the chalk, before emerging onto a road which took us to the top of Butser Hill (270metres).  Here I met a dark haired chap and a female I would see quite a bit of later on. A quad jangling grassy decent of Butser left the legs in jellied bits, requiring a walk into Queen Elizabeth Country Park. Here the marked route took us away from the toilets where I had been planning my ahem 'morning constitutional' , so I diverted slightly off path and availed of the facilities and a good sit down .

Feeling much better after that I continued on to check in at the CP at 22.6m, in about 5hrs I think . A refill of the water bottle and another gel and I was off again. Snacked on some Kendal mint cake and walked the way out of the park.

19/06/2013 at 17:01

The next bit was quite a nice series of undulations but nothing too bad, before hitting Harting Down at 27m, where I noticed for the first time that I was maintaining a good 2hrs ahead of the cut off. This was the same at 35m. I kept eating and drinking and refilling the bottle with water and nuun tabs whenever the CP's came along. It was all going quite nicely and I met the dark haired chap again this time with another woman called 'K' on a rather rough chalk climb, which seemed to be hammering all of our feet, no matter whether in Hokas, Inov's or roadies. There didn't seem to be any shoe to fit these paths, so hard in places and with big chunks of flint sticking up, murder on the feet no matter what you wore. I left them behind on the steep decent and now had the 50m in my sights

I reached the 50m in 12.5hrs, still 2hrs ahead of the cut and feeling good and happy with my time. I chatted to a nice Irish chap and we discussed what hot food we would be having at the 54m Washington aid point (the first indoor CP) and then with a nice Morrocan chap who was looking forward to a hot drink as not surprisingly he was finding the wind up on the tops to be quite chilling. In the meantime I was now finding the temperature to be perfect for the blood of someone who lives in Glasgow, after the hotter mid-morning part, and was still running in just shirt sleeves with a base layer beneath.

19/06/2013 at 17:12

I was quite surprised to see a few people already in their jackets and woolly hats, as I was finding the 10-12degree and slight breeze to be perfect conditions. All this talk of dinner was making me absolutely starving so I was glad to arrive at Washington where I would have quite happily snapped the leg off a dead horse, but as it was two lovely women were offering up meat chilli or vegetarian bolognase with pasta. I went for the vege pasta and absolutely wolfed it down, so much so that I nearly forgot I had a drop bag here!!! A quick refill of gels, cola and my own pre-mixed water/nuun from here and I was ready for the off again.

Just before I left the woman I met back at Butser came in looking rather frazzled and upset and said she was quiting, I tried to convince her to carry on as it is natural for everyone to have peaks and troughs, you just have to get through it, but she had had enough, so I thought I had better shut up before I upset her even more. Out of Washington was a ridiculously steep chalk climb, that had me puffing with hands on thighs, so I took this slowly whilst I digested the previous food. A guy went speeding past me, promptly grabbed his leg in agony then decided to go the mile back down the hill to DNF, rather than carrying on the 6m to the next CP. I remember thinking, my God, they are dropping like flies here, best push onward!!!

19/06/2013 at 17:23

A group of 4 women passed me shortly before the 61m CP, one of whom was K, they had all decided to join together to run into the night, but I wasn't too bothered about this, and at this point they were going a bit too fast for me anyway. I stopped and changed to woolly hat as we entered dusk and the light was dropping quickly. The headtorch fits better with a woolster than a cap, although I didn't really need the extra warmth despite the wind gaining strength over the tops. I quickly sped up and gained ground, catching the 4 women at the 61m CP, where one of them said they were concerned I didn't have my jacket on yet and it was rather cold  LOL...I explained I was fine and this was perfect Glasgow temperature, indeed the light level was about the same (it was after 10pm and dark!!). They looked at me rather dubiously and all set straight off, whereas I decided to sit for 5mins and have a cup of tea and rather delicious piece of walnut cake (well, I hadn't had dessert yet!! ). Here, finally, I did put my jacket on, and left at 10,20pm, still 2hrs ahead.

19/06/2013 at 17:32

One of the marshalls escorted me out across the very busy A283 and onto the next stretch of the Downs. He was really chatty and said he would be seeing me later during the night as he was moving along CP's as they shut. Rather conspiratorally he leaned in and said, see that group up the hill, I bet you can catch them, your pace is really good. Spurred on with confidence I was off, determined to keep a good trot going, our next CP was Saddlescombe at 66.6m, so not that far between check points.

It was quite a long big climb, but I was getting into this whole, slog up/trot down thing, so I found it quite easy, and now we were well into the night I was in my element. The track and fields were dark and as I climbed upwards, the lights of a nearby town sparkled below me, the temperature was still good, the strong cross winds slightly annoying, but generally when you were behind hedgerows and trees it was okay, it was only on the exposed bits it got a bit wild. I was glad of all the times spent on Eaglesham moor battling the wind on my bike, because I wasn't finding this wind particularly bad or strong at all, whereas others, it seemed were.

19/06/2013 at 17:46

Now a rather bizzare thing happened somewhere around the top of the next hill at 217metres, which I now see on my map is called Devil's Dyke Farm . The mind can play tricks during the night, and you see things that aren't there, trees become people, inanimate objects take on lives of their own etc, but I'm generally used to all that. This was different.

I reached a section of track that passed through some farm buildings and had high hedgerows on one side, but it was quite a wide gravel track. I was crunching along through the gravel when I had this really strange feeling of being watched, or something following me. I told myself not to be so stupid, and concentrate on the head torches of the 4 women who were about 10mins ahead of me. Anyway, it was probably just another runner coming up behind me. I took a quick glance for a head torch.....nothing there for miles.....but still that feeling....and the bas**** thing was getting closer. it was hideous and the hairs were standing up on my neck.....I told myself it was only Death looking over my why did you go and think that you fecking idiot !!!

Okay, enough, I stopped in my tracks, determined to see what the hell this was. And at that precise moment a single footstep crunched to a halt about 50yards behind me in the gravel. I stared into the darkness, scanning all around with the head torch, absolutely nothing. I turned and trotted / ran, I was going bloody fast now I can tell you , determined to catch the women was still there, still following me. Then I crossed a double hedgerow, through one gate, then another....and just as quickly as the feeling had come, it was now gone.....whatever it was had not crossed the field boundary.

19/06/2013 at 17:57

Needless to say I caught the four women at the top of the hill  and we did the next section together. They were all lovely and friendly, and from the local area, so they knew the course, but I think one of them was starting to get early hypothermic and we kept slowing down to allow her and her friend to catch up. I decided to go ahead about a mile before Saddlescombe as she had plenty of folks around to look after her and I hadn't really wanted to get into that whole running with a group thing, because I need to run at my own pace if I'm going to have any chance of finishing.

At Saddlescombe I had the most wonderful smiley welcome from the women at the CP, they knew the local women behind me so were relieved to hear they were coming in safely. Here I had tea and half a blueberry muffin. I was almost sorry to spoil their lovely cake display, but too starving to stop myself . The four women came in just as I was leaving and I said we would probably all see each other again later on. I was on a bit of roll now, so it was all systems go to Clayton Windmills at 70m where the next drop bag was located. Not before some more long massive steep climbs though!!

19/06/2013 at 18:09

Up and down over Ditchling Beacon at 248metres, very open, windy and exposed, grassy fields and tracks mostly, so I was finding the going underfoot a lot easier than earlier, less of that hideous chalk / flint combination. Lights from some unknown town glowed below and ahead of me. I saw some low lumpy shapes across the field and edge of the path ahead, which turned out to be a flock of sheep, some standing and some sitting down. I scanned my head torch across the field and a thousand pairs of glassy eyes starred back at me, motionless and unblinking. Very weird, but not as weird as least I could see they were all sheep...I hope !

I scanned behind.....I could see the lights from the 4 women approaching. Then ahead of me a single light at waist height moving erratically. How very odd I thought, maybe it is a farmer out doing night rounds, as it is too low for a head torch. I descended toward Clayton Mills and as I went through a bit of a farm, the torch light suddenly verred off through a field. I found out later this was a guy called 'D'. who I would be seeing much more of again later, but in the meantime he had missed the route markers and was off taking himself on a detour that would cost him an hour in time !!!

Into Clayton Mills, drop bag, 70m done, still 2hrs ahead, wolfed my tablet, got a bit of a sugar shake, wolfed some tea and more electrolyte and off I went again.

More soon, off to put the dinner on now .

19/06/2013 at 18:48

Okay, so I left the 70m and I was still doing pretty good time, then over another climb and descent down to Housedown farm CP at 76.6m the track got steeper and narrower on the down parts and I seemed to be slowing significantly. Maybe the terrain or generally the worst part of the night between about 2 and 3am when I think I was actually asleep on my feet. My head torch flashed 3 times to warn of low batteries and that woke me up! I stopped and had to change them on the track as I didn't think I would make it to Housedown without being plunged into darkness, and once off again it was WayHey brilliant bright light, I can see where I'm going. I spooked a large black shape out of a field, which turned out to be a deer, almost scared the crap out of me (more so than before). And eventually saw another couple of lights ahead of me picking their way down the hill.

I reached Housedown and had lost about 20mins off my 2hr lead, but not too bad and was still good and positive. Here I met the dark haired chap I had ran a bit with the day before and an older man I hadn't seen before, The older chap was wrapped up in a blanket and a bit hypothermic but preparing to carry on. And also here was my marshall pal from back at the 61m . He was all cheery and chatty and fed me two delicious cheese and ham wraps and a cup of tea, then set me off on my way to the next CP which was at 83m.

Actually I could have gone a fish supper, or maybe a burger and chips, or something, but was going to have to content myself with the ham wraps for now.

19/06/2013 at 19:01

oooh I'm enjoying this TP - bringing back so many memories of when I was doing it last year . It IS pretty creepy up on those Downs in places, memories of wintertime trips to places like Chanctonbury Ring for starters.  And I totally agree about the terrain, much kinder underfoot in the second half, although not so the undulations!

I'm definitely adapting to the Northern idea of Summer - no need for temperatures above 20 odd degrees, well definitely not for running in, I would just melt in that kind of stuff now.

19/06/2013 at 19:06

Another one enjoying your report immensely TP! Though I can't imagine doing anything so long sounds quite creepy in the middle of the night

, still feeling my little HM from Sunday in the legs. They didn't want to take me up Wideford this afternoon so a bit of a walk break midway. Ah well

Looking forward to the rest!


19/06/2013 at 19:06

Just out of Housedown the route crosses a bridge over the very busy A27, the main road to Brighton, even at 3am it was buzzing with speeding traffic and I briefly wondered what so many people were doing out at this time of the night, before hitting the next ridiculously steep climb through some very dark woods. This climb had me puffing again, and I was really just grinding it out, until things evened out and I started the long sweep down to Rodmell village. At about 3.30am the skylarks started singing on the tops of the Downs (its still bloody dark you stupid birds!), and by 4am amid this cacophony of a bird-racket, I turned briefly to see D and the dark haired chap approaching on the hillside behind me, with the sky seemingly on fire.

I have never seen anything like it, the night was alight with flame as it turned to day, the sky one huge mass of red with the Downs a black band beneath it. An incredible sight. Then, as quickly as that glorious sunrise came, it was light, no gradual change, just light, that was it. I took off the head torch, changed back to my cap and headed to the 83m.

Rodmell village is where Virginia Woolf used to live and her house is still there and kept open to the public. I had a quick scan round but wasn't sure which house it was, and the CP was just a bit further round at Southease church so I headed down to there. Somehow D had managed to get here first, I must have been asleep when he passed me, or not remembered, but anyhow I had a cup of tea here. I saw I was a bit more down on time so decided not to dawdle further and set out with D not long behind me.

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