Hills of Edinburgh
First weekend back into it was actually a sneaky getaway in Paris, which featured a few leisurely runs around Luxemburg Gardens to test the ankle - in which I was regularly overtaken by groups of fit-looking pensioners - but training that was not. I got back with the programme in Edinburgh a few days later with some hill repeats, specifically a couple of predictably-painful sessions from the lawns of Holyrood Palace up the steepest paths to the top of Arthur's Seat to trash the quads running back down - repetitive but effective. I then ran another 7 Hills of Edinburgh route where I managed to go off piste and get lost in some residential streets, after running that same route, hmm 10 times? Note to self to stay present in all training runs and particularly races. Towards the end of these sessions, which lasted not longer than 3 hours, the foot had started to complain - but thankfully now 4 weeks later I've had no more pain at all.
West Highland Way
|Loch Lomond from the top of Conic Hill - stunning day|
|Saturday spent in the bluebells :-)|
window in the heat - but again this was a great learning experience for the WS. Salty snacks will be king. After Inversnaid we were all getting a bit fatigued and looking forward to finishing - Fionna had kindly parked at the Drovers Inn to ferry us back to Tyndrum after, but few miles short of Beinglas I fell flat on my face on one of the wooden board walks and split my knee. After a quick dip in a burn to clean it up we kept moving and picked up the pace to arrive at the Drovers for some much-needed food...a recurring theme of the weekend.
Sunday we ran 30 miles from Tyndrum to Ba Bridge on Rannoch Moor and back, rather than running to Fort William, which I felt would be overkill in terms of mileage. I was tired and a bit irritated with my knee, which was slightly messy. But after dressing it up we got underway and after 5km or so got into the stride. Then water from the bladder of my UltrAspire pack started pouring down my back and I had this mechanical for about half an hour before I decided to ditch the water completely. Partly my fault for forgetting the correct fastening for it but I couldn't be doing with the leakage so managed by refilling a bottle of water from the Bridge of Orchy Hotel for the reat of the day. For WS I will definitely be using a double bottle pack.
Glenshee and the Cateran Trail
|From the summit of Mount Blair|
|The heathered legs look - staying away from dresses for now|
Later on with knee strapped up we bagged another 10 or so miles on the nearby Cateran Trail, heading backwards along the race route from the Spittal to tackle the long hill. I had even less energy and power than the morning and it was bloody hard work. A total of 16 miles that took 3.5 hours, but a good, tough-it-out adventure, and great to run on the Cateran Trail at last.
The last few weeks have felt like treading a very fine line between training at my peak to make sure I am ready to run 100 miles but without getting injured, overtrained or too fatigued - an interesting learning curve in what I can push to in terms of weekly training.
So the taper begins at the end of next week, after two final long sessions in the heat chamber, and between now and 19th I'll be on a manic mission to sort out the rest of the logistics for the trip, the race and the 10 days after that I'll be in Chicago and New York for work. Lets just hope I can still walk when I have to go into meetings!
A final huge thank you to Likeys for sponsoring some of my sunshine kit for the States, and also to Buff UK, who have provided some clothing and a fabulous selection of Buffs for my year of racing. I will be excitedly greeting Mr Postie this week :-)