Red Wine Runner

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RACE REPORT – D33 Ultra marathon 2015

D33 Ultramarathon
14th March 2015

d33 ultra medal 2015

174th of 338 finishers
34th of 110 Females
15th of 39 FSeniors


With 424 entries this year, the starting line at the 2015 D33 Ultra was set to be bursting at the seams. Even after the usual attrition rate brought the starters down to around 350 on the day, it was still a healthy increase from last year and double the size of the first year I first took part, in 2012. On Friday I was delighted to welcome two of the newest additions to the D33 family, Iona and Jemma, to our home in Stonehaven, where we all settled in for a night of carbs, gossip and pre-race planning. Who was running what pace? Would anyone get under 5 hours? What shade of purple nail polish would match my club kit the best? It was lovely to have a house full of friends to diffuse the pre-race nerves, but we all headed off to bed early to get a good night’s rest.

The first alarms in the house went off at 5.15am, and Kynon and Duncan (Jemma’s fiance / Iona’s brother) got up and away to be at the start at Duthie Park by 06:20am. Kynon sadly had to DNS his place in the race due to lingering injury recovery, so instead he was filling the position of ‘Race Bitch’, i.e the Race Director’s right hand man, and would be working hard all day. Since Duncan had come along for the weekend of fun he’d been roped into marshalling as well, and spent much of the day assisting Kynon in his various tasks. I’m delighted to say that Kynon will be writing a guest blog later this week about his experiences as D33 Race Bitch, so I’ll leave all further details for him to describe. Be sure to check back and read it – any story that starts with a horizontal portaloo at 06:20am in the morning will be a good ‘un.

Naturally after Kynon was up I was wide awake as well, and got up and set too my race morning preparations. My kit was laid out and all my drop-bags prepared, so all I needed to do was get dressed and eat my porridge and coffee. Thankfully the weather seemed to be exactly as forecast (dry, overcast, calm) so no last minute kit adjustments were required. We left the house on time and soon were sitting in the front seats of the X7 bus to Aberdeen at 7:10am, which left us right outside the gates of the Duthie Park at around 7:35.

Time flew by after I picked up my number and danced around race HQ saying hello to everyone. We had decided not to go to the pre-race pub session the night before as we were too tired, so I had a lot of hellos and hugs to dish out before the start. I decided a second pre-race portaloo stop was required and stepped into the queue for the two toilets about 25 minutes before the race was due to start. When I was still waiting 20 minutes later I started to get a little anxious, but thankfully I was lucky enough to be one of the last who were able to relieve themselves before quickly rushing to where the runners were gathered at the start. To this end I have no pictures of the start and briefing this year, but I have borrowed a couple from Chen Chee Kong/Running In Scotland to illustrate.

d33 ultramarathon start

d33 ultramarathon start

Picture – Chen Chee Kong

d33 ultramarathon start

Picture – Chen Chee Kong

I shuffled my way into the top quarter of the field in order to avoid being squashed in the first bottle neck of people as the runners squeeze out of the narrow park gates. Randomly of all the people I could have ended up standing next to, I realised I was next to Jack, one of my lecturers and the course director of the MSc I am currently studying. He was lining up for his first ultra and was feeling confident of a 5 hour finish, with the exception that some surgical pins had dislodged in his lower leg and appeared to be making a bid for freedom beneath the skin.  Despite there being few better reasons for worry on the starting line of your first ultra, he was happy enough as it wasn’t hurting! After I boaked a bit in horror at the sight, we wished each other well and I shuffled forward to join Iona as the countdown began.

After being a little unsure of how much effort I was willing to invest in a risky flat and fast race early in the season, I had made up my mind that morning that I was going to give it all I had. You see, this race means a lot to a lot of people, and no more than to my good friend and SRC Clubmate George Reid, the D33 Race Director. Unfortunately George has not been well at all this year, and has spent considerable time in hospital after an eventual diagnosis of Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy. This is the chronic version of a syndrome called Guillain-Barre, which is a condition of the peripheral nervous system that can develop after a simple cold/flu virus. It’s a life changing diagnosis, and whilst George is out of hospital and much better than he was, he has a long way to go and he and his partner Karen (both in life and Epic Shit Racing) have had a really tough time of it lately. This was why Kynon was Race Bitch this year – that is usually Karen’s role, but she took over the Race Director role this year whilst George focused on getting better.

So; regardless of what else I had on the horizon, in honour of George and his present struggles, I wasn’t going to phone it in on Saturday. Races are for racing, and to do justice to it I wasn’t going to mess around. I had picked my pace and made my plan and was going to stick to it no matter what – no taking the foot off the gas in the middle if I got tired, no walking just because, no hanging around at check points. My goal was to bring home a big fat PB for George – hopefully around the 5hr 10 minute mark, or maybe even quicker. My only thoughts at the start was a wish to the running gods to give me the courage to stick with my planned pace at the start and not get carried away. I knew I could make or break my race in the first few miles by either being stupid or sensible and in 5 hours time I would be paying for whatever decisions I made in the first 5 miles.

d33 ultramarathon start

Picture – Chen Chee Kong

When the klaxon went, the runners streamed out of the park, through the gates and up the incline on to the railway line. Iona and I cruised off and despite frequent checking of my watch I was going far too quickly. I forced myself to slow down, desperate to keep up with my friends and clubmates but still committed to what I’d promised myself earlier on. After a couple of miles, Amanda and I fell into step and we chatted away for a while until we reached Checkpoint 1. I had a little bag with two gels and a bottle of water/powerade mix waiting for me so I quickly picked them up and almost didn’t break stride. I said hello to the marshals and wanted to stay, but just offloaded my gel wrapper rubbish, drank deeply from my bottle, and pushed on.

d33 ultramarathon

Picture – Chen Chee Kong

Sticking to my 9:30 minute mile pace plan was working well and my splits were wonderfully consistent on the whole way out. I had been mainly alone since leaving check point 1 but spoke to a few other runners here and there. I was blown away to be passed by the lead runner on his way back when I was only at mile 12.8, but it was quite incredible to see Team Scotland Commonweath Games marathoner Ross Houston at work. He was gliding over the earth making it look easy to keep a sub-6 minute mile pace going in an ultra, and still had the energy to smile and reciprocate our “Well Done”‘s. When the rest of the faster athletes started passing, as usual I got a bit too excited and gradually sped up as I high fived and cheered the other runners, which I tried to rein in before I got myself in to trouble, but it was hard when so many of my chums were doing so well.

D33 Ultramarathon
Here illustrates the internal monologue battling on inside my racing head between daft and sensible, good and evil, naughty and nice. It only gets worse as the race goes on…

At half way my Mum was waiting to say hello and cheer me on, alongside a plethora of Scottish Ultramarathon legends who were taking care of everyone at the Checkpoint. Inside the drop bag this time was two gels and a packet of salt n’ vinegar squares, with another bottle of water/powerade. I was in and out of the Checkpoint so quickly that I didn’t really take in much of what was going on or who else was there, but they did have a new one-way system this year which lead us around a tiny loop of trees in order to keep track of who had come in and who had gone out. Once again I forced myself to keep moving quicker than I wanted to, and without stopping for more than a couple of seconds I was back on the road home to Aberdeen.

The next few miles were amongst the toughest in my race. Running over the uneven ground dodging big pitted puddles and other runners on the half mile out of the Check Point meant I struggled to find a rhythm and get back on pace again. I pushed and pushed but reaching the dizzy heights of 9:3X on the average mile pace on my Garmin seemed to suddenly be taking a lot more work. I tried to keep calm and moving as easily as possible (whilst keeping up a steady stream of ‘well done’s to the runners coming the other way) but I knew the time for easy running had passed and it was now time to start working.

Running between Crathes and Drumoak a ‘new for Spring 2015′ pain started to feature in my general discomfort. My left piriformis has been giving me bother after long (+20 mile) runs this year so far, and popped up just as I was expecting it, alongside some general glute stiffness. Yes, running at pace on a flat route for hours can be a test, but this year it was literally becoming a pain in the ass.

20 miles came and went and my splits got slower and slower. I could feel the PB slipping away; I would need to somehow come back from this period of discomfort and slowness in order to come home with a decent chunk off my best time. I didn’t want a repeat of last year where I shaved off a minute; I wanted a proper slice off which would represent a really hard effort. The devil on my shoulder started writing imaginary apologetic Facebook statuses in my head: “Well; I gave it as good as I could today guys, but my best wasn’t good enough…”, “I fought hard but a re-occurring pain got the better of me and I had to slow down”, “The West Highland Way Race is my number one priority so I had to be sensible”… it would have been so easy to mentally click ‘POST’ and ease in to an easy finish.

Whatever the negative voices in my head were saying, in the end it was me that had to cross the finish line and me that would be telling George about my race that day. Anyone that knows George knows that he is tough. The man eats nails on toast for breakfast. Oh, you ran the West Highland Way Race? He completed that race after a wee run to the start of that once. From Fort William. The question here was ‘What Would Loon Dod Do?’ The answer? H.T.F.U.

I grinded my way through the miles until the final Check Point, never taking my foot off the gas and pushing as hard as I could in an attempt to keep a steady 9:30 pace. Passing through it, I grabbed my drink and kept on pushing, knowing that in just a few miles I could almost relax and enjoy the slight downhill finish. My glutes and piriformis were still aching terribly but I just had to ignore it as there was no other choice. Passing through marathon distance in 4hrs 11m, I kept a vision of the reward of running through Duthie Park to the finish at the forefront of my mind. I don’t know why this was such a motivation this year as it’s not a terribly spectacular finish and there’s usually a risk of running over a stray child, tripping over an old lady or being clothes-lined by a dog leash on your way in, but I just craved that feeling of being in the last 200 meters so badly. Passing though the gates, engaging the sprint finish and running towards cheering friends and loved ones after a long day out – there is no greater feeling.

After marathon distance I was obsessively checking my watch to see if it had reached 28 miles. At this distance I had promised myself I could listen to my iPod and to a specially prepared playlist designed to power me through the last 45 minutes of the run. I was delighted to finally plug myself in and dance my way down the railway line whilst gathering my resources to try and speed up a little. I had calculated that a PB was still possible, especially now I was out of the dark third quarter of the race and the finish was within reach. I also had a wave from my Grandad to look forward to, as he would be waiting on the Auchinyell Bridge for me to pass at about 31.5 miles. Last year he did the same but I was later than I had planned – as a man of the Navy this was not acceptable to him: you show up on time or you don’t bother to show up at all. Thankfully he did stick around for me, but this year I was determined to not make him wait any longer than he ought to and I passed right on time. With a celebratory shake of his walking stick and an obvious tap on his watch he smiled and sent me on my way into the final mile and towards my finish line reward.

D33 ultra finish

Picture – Chen Chee Kong (who finished just after me!)

I floated towards the end of the railway line as the park gates came in to view. Julie was on duty here and gave me a big cheer, whilst Kynon was running across the park just ahead of me from his marshalling position in an attempt to get to the finish before me. I was gaining on him and for a brief moment I thought it might be amusing to try and beat him, even after 33 miles, but then I thought better of it as it would probably result in a finish line vomit and nobody really wanted to see that. Instead I just ran in as hard as I could and enjoyed the cheers all around me as I passed under the arch. Everything got a bit blurry as I caught my breath and steadied myself after the big effort, but I was able to glance down and see 5hrs and 15 minutes – a 10 minute PB!

d33 ultramarathon 2015

Karen came over to give me a hug and Neil put a medal around my neck. I was delighted to see George in the finishing chute sitting on a high stool, where he was still able to cheer in every runner like he always does each year. I was very happy to go over and give him a hug and report that a decent PB had been achieved.

d33 ultra

Kynon still had lots of work to do so I wobbled off with my Mum to go and see about getting a massage to loosen off my glutes and piriformis. Thankfully some guys from the SPEAR clinic at Aberdeen Sports Village were on hand, and for the princely sum of £5 I was able to get my pain in the ass sorted out quickly. I then moved to the food tent to fill my face with a delightful selection of Indian snacks (an inspired post-race choice), flapjacks and cake, and caught up with everyone else who had completed the race. Iona did a great job in 5hrs 4m, and Jemma sneaked under the 6 hour mark in 5hrs 59m. We gathered our things and headed back to Stonehaven on the 3.30pm bus and were back with plenty of time for showers before cracking open some beers for the Scotland V England rugby game. Saturday was a great day for running, but the less said about the rugby the better, I think.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 17.20.51

The after-party in the Station Hotel later on was great fun, and the perfect way to catch up with everyone’s races. There was a quiz, a bottle slide, and an auction, all to raise funds for GAIN – Guillain-Barre and Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies. As you can imagine this Charity is close to the hearts of all involved with the D33 Ultra this year; organisers, runners, marshals, and supporters. So far we’ve managed to raise £1,850 of the £2,500 target set by Mike a few weeks ago. So if you ran the race and missed the donation buckets, or didn’t have any money on you, or missed the news about this completely, or if you just enjoy my blogs and have a spare tenner in your bank account to support this – then you can make an online donation via JustGiving by clicking HERE.

d33 ultra _001

So all in all another epic day out from Epic Shit racing. The next morning I was up and out to do 7 miles in the sun after our guests left, and then after that I indulged my runger with a macaroni pie supper – an extremely rare treat only earned on the most rare of occasions. Huge thanks to Karen and George and all the Epic Shit team for all their hard work in the challenging circumstances. See you next year for D33 Ultra #5!

d33 recovery

WHW Race Training Update and D33 Ultra preview

West Highland Way Race Training Update
Weeks 5, 6 and 7

west highland way race red wine runner

The last couple of weeks of training haven’t been very interesting, hence my lack of regular updates. I couldn’t bring myself to write a couple of boring posts about running around Stonehaven every other day, so I figured that if I didn’t want to write it then there’s no way anyone would want to read it! So here’s a brief run-down of what I’ve been doing, and a more interesting look ahead to the first race of the Scottish Ultra season, the D33 Ultra, which is this weekend!

Week 5 – Week Beginning 23rd Feb.
First week of D33 ‘Taper’

Mon – Unscheduled rest due to University work
Tue – Unscheduled rest due to University work
Wed – 6.1 mile easy run around Stonehaven, missed Body Pump due to University work
Thur – 9.5 mile medium effort run.
Fri – 9 mile ‘8 Hills of Stonehaven’ route – I was supposed to do 20 miles this morning but woke up lacking in any desire or mojo whatsoever. I bargained myself down to 9 mile of hard effort up and down every hill in Stonehaven – for some reason this seemed preferable. It was fun!

8 hills of stonehaven 8 hills of stonehavenSat – 6.5 mile walk around Edinburgh
Sun – 1hr 30m of Bikram Yoga in Edinburgh. I loved being back in the hot room!

Total – 31.2 miles

Week 6 – Week Beginning 2nd March

Mon – 1hr Power Yoga
Tue – Rest – attended Placebo gig in Aberdeen with fellow ex-teen angsters Rachel and Laura.
Wed – 6.2 miles easy on the D33 route
Thur – 4.2 mile easy PM, 7.5 mile hilly trail club session
Fri – Rest
Sat – 13.2 mile long slow run with Saturday gang
Sun – Rest

Total – 30.3 miles

Week 7 – Week Beginning 9th March

Mon – Unscheduled Rest. Caught a case of the Mondays
Tue – Rest
Wed – 4.1 miles ‘easy’ battling gales
Thur – Club session
Fri – Rest
Sat – 33 mile RACE!
Sun – 5 mile recovery toddle with our house guests Jemma and Iona.

Total – 50ish miles.


D33 Ultramarathon 2015 Preview!

d33 ultra logo
This will be my fourth time at the D33, after having my first taste of ultra-distance racing in 2012 (5hr 56m). A big PB followed in 2013 (5hr 26m – the year of the awful weather) and a further sliver of a PB followed again in 2014 (5hr 25m). Last year I maybe started a bit too quickly or ambitiously;  I started to feel really sick after about 8 miles and then just couldn’t maintain my goal pace. I still finished strongly, but my splits were all over the place which was in direct contrast to the metronomic effort of 2012. This year I don’t feel as though I’m as fit as last year so I’ve been heavily debating what to set out to achieve on Saturday. I could just run it by feel and get a good long run in, I could deliberately run a slow run/walk race for maximum time on feet, or I could pick a goal time or pace to achieve. I’m not really interested in the first two options – races are for racing after all, so I need to decide on a sensible time to aim for. Last year I went out at 9 minute miles in order to try and achieve around a 5 hour finishing time, but that didn’t quite work. I’m not confident that I’m capable of maintaining that pace for 33 miles currently, so I am going to start at 9:30 minute miles with a view of achieving around a 5hr 10 minute finishing time. If all goes well I will be able to be quicker in the final down hill miles and execute my usual strong finish for a solid PB.

For once, the weather actually looks perfect. Dry, thick cloud, a light breeze and temperatures between 3 and 5 degrees. Weather can be so changeable at this time of year so it is hard to dress for a long run – in 2012 and 2014 I wore far too much and as the day went on I struggled to be comfortable in the ‘heat’. Layers will be key as usual, so I will be looking out a flexible outfit – long socks, arm-warmers, gloves, buff, etc.

Like last year I am going to fuel it just like a marathon with a gel every 5 miles, but with a snack at half way of hula hoops and a flap jack. I won’t wear a rucksack and will rely on bottles in my drop bags to drink from with a mix of Powerade and water in them, and will keep my gels in a waist pouch. Pre-race dinner will be a lovely serving of tortellini and garlic bread, with some cake for good measure. Breakfast will be peanut butter porridge with a banana, and cereal bar.

The D33 Ultra is also the first race in the Stonehaven Running Club Championship series, so for the 29 of us signed up we will be ‘battling’ it out for the best allocation of Championship points. The first home of each gender gets 21 points, with second getting 19, third getting 18…and so on. As well as my local pals I’m looking forward to seeing the Scottish Ultra Marathon Series crowd and all the associated banter which comes with it. Kynon and I will have a full house as Iona, Jemma and her fiance will be staying with us on Friday and Saturday so it is shaping up to be a very social weekend indeed!

So; safe travels and good luck to everyone traveling up to Aberdeen or Stonehaven for the D33 this weekend, especially if it’s your first ultramarathon. It’s a super race and can lead to some incredible things if you want it to. I’ll be posting my race report as soon as I can after the race, so do leave a comment and let me know how you get on!

My Ultramarathon Kit List

If you have a spare day, you could sit around a table with a bunch of ultramarathoners to talk about the best kit to use and you would still never reach any conclusions. The debate around shoes, hydration packs and jackets rages on in the forums and Facebook groups of the running world and won’t ever conclude, but it has been a while since I’ve talked about the ultramarathon kit that I’m using these days so I thought it was time to talk about my current favourites. I use a lot of the same stuff as I have for years, as it just WORKS, so here’s a top-to-bottom audit of what I like to wear when I’m going long.

Early disclaimer: all of this kit has been bought off my own dime and chosen on its own merit. No affiliate links or brand partnerships here, as per usual.


buff headwear


I’m not a fan of caps or hats as I find they keep too much heat in, and peaked caps make me feel claustrophobic. I stick with what I’ve used for years and make a selection from my collection of Buffs. If the weather is dreadful I wear one folded around my ears and one around my neck as well – they really are excellent for plugging up gaps where cold air or rain can get in. I also have a polar buff which has a thick fleece section for sub-zero runs. You can get these at all outdoor shops and plenty of races give them away in goody bags


I don’t wear anything special on my upper body, and reply on my ever expanding collection of race t-shirts and vests to see my through my training weeks freshly. In winter, I usually layer up with a combination of vest, t-shirt, and long-sleeve top, with my favourite Pearl Izumi Aurora Thermal Top on top. This is a thick pullover with thermal fleece on the inside and a high neck to keep the wind out.

Pearl Izumi Thermal Top


I have two jackets to choose from; a basic Ronhill showerproof thing which stuffs into a zipped elasticated pocket which can be worn around the waist or clipped onto a rucksack, or my more heavy duty Montane Minimus. This compacts down to a tiny pouch but offers much more resistance against the rain. These vary in price online up to £160 but I got mine for a deep discount at the ever reliable It was this item that kept me mostly dry at the washout Glenmore 24 12 hour race, until it eventually gave up after hours of rain (unlike me!).

Glenmore 12 hour race



My preference is always to run in shorts or a skirt whenever I can, even if the weather is horrid. My favourite shorts for training in are Nike Rival 4″ shorts. I love the wide waist band and the fabric is really light so dries easily.

nike 10cm rival shorts

I had my reservations about running skirts at first as they seemed rather too stereotypically girly for how I usually like to look and feel whilst running, but when all things are considered they are supremely comfortable and you just cannot argue with that logic. I have two – I usually race in my my black Nike Set Point Tennis Skirt (seen above) as it goes with my club kit, but I also have a fushia/purple Nike Rival Stretch Woven Skirt which is very, very short and more suited to summer running.

Nike Set Point tennis skirtNike rival womens running skirt

nike rival fushia running skirt

In the worst of weather though, I will be persuaded to cover up and stick some running tights on. This winter I have been loving my latest purchase, a pair of Nike Legend 2.0 tights. I’m sorry that this is starting to sound like a Nike commercial, but they make really great products which not only survive ultras themselves, but the 100s of miles of training which go into getting to the start, which says a lot.

nike legend tight tiger

You may have noticed my rather ostentatious leg wear in a picture in last week’s training round-up. They may look a little ridiculous to some, but I love them. They are so comfortable and grip the leg lightly from top to bottom – no falling down whilst running and no baggy backside area. They have a high waist which grips well without the need for a drawstring, and the fabric is thick and soft. I’ve never really been a running tight fan, but these have me totally converted.

compressport calf guards

I’ve long been a fan of calf guards, especially Compressport. I switched to these from 2XU after trying them on at the Paris Marathon Expo and being impressed by their seamless comfort. I make no claims to any belief in the validity of the science claimed behind them, but my legs feel good in them during and after a run. I wear them inside out though, to avoid the big branding.


injinji toe socks

I started wearing Injinji toe socks last year after more horror between-toe blisters at the D33. I’ve not had any blisters like that since I started wearing them, so I will anxiously tread the start line this year in a pair and hope for the best. These are now the only socks I will run in.

hoka one one stinson evo

Shoes….the big one! Since my return from Texas I have been doing my long runs in my new Hoka One One Stinson Evos. You all know about my ongoing foot issues, especially in longer ultras, so going down the Hoka route was pretty much my last resort. I was reluctant to get on the bandwagon without trying other things first – minimal trail shoes, Altras etc. but since these were on sale and I had room in my suitcase, they were purchased. I’m very happy with them! I’ve ran on road and trail and found the comfort underfoot to be supreme. 28 miles on Sunday was pain-free in my feet which is remarkable, so maybe I’ve found the answer to my problems. Time will tell of course; if the same thing happens at the Highland Fling then I will be buying shares in the company. I really like the colours of mine as they are a lot more subtle than some of the other designs. It helps that none of the women’s shoes fit me so I am wearing a men’s UK10.5.


camelbak octane xct

I  still use the same Camelbak Octane XCT which I got 3 years ago. It’s now been discontinued, but a similar model is HERE. It serves all my needs and I especially like the side pockets which have very easy access. I know the style these days is for race vests with removable bottles on the front, but I am yet to find a designer which has made one designed for women with a larger chest. I know there are female-specific designs out there, but when anything is designed for women, it is automatically assumed that everyone is the same petite size, both in height and girth. Spoiler alert: we’re not. This one is totally adjustable and has never caused me any problems, so I will use it until it falls apart.

I think that’s just about it – that is my ultra kit from top to toe and what I’ll be wearing out on the trails this Spring. Did I miss anything? What do you think? I’m happy to answer any and all questions – except for suggestions for what you should wear! I got this list together by trial and error and figuring it out for myself, and you should do the same. If anything, it gives you a cracking excuse to buy lots of kit… :)


West Highland Way Race Training Week 4

West Highland Way Race Training, Week 4
Week Beginning 16th February

west highland way race red wine runner

Tempo-ish run – 6 miles
Power Yoga – 1 hour
I came home with a real need to go for a run, so decided to run 3 hard miles out, take two minutes recovery and then try to run the 3 miles back quicker. The two times were 25:41 and 24:18 which I was pleased with.

I had to attend a meeting which took all evening and prevented me from attending running club.

8 miles – Around Aberdeen
I was visiting a friend in hospital so decided to take advantage of being in a different place. I enjoyed running around my old favourite trails near Hazelhead and on the roads around the West End before coming home and going straight to BodyPump. 

8.8 miles – Club run including 5k tempo

Unplanned rest – I had a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in. A planned short run had to be sacraficed!

Rest day
1.5 hours standing in the cold by the side of a rugby pitch and then 3 hours standing at a gig was not the perfect rest before a long run, but as they say, it’s all about ‘time on feet’…

28.2 mile long run
My training friends and I rescheduled our usual Saturday long run to Sunday due to a Beer Festival on the Friday night which we were all keen to attend.This was a great idea in theory, however the beautiful weather we saw on Saturday morning was replaced by a forecast on Sunday for, well, locusts. A yellow snow warning, 100% chance of rain and 20-30mph winds from the South. There wasn’t much choice but to get on with it so we wrapped up well and headed out. I ran with Mike for the most part and we didn’t need to put our rain jackets on until 20 miles, when the precipitation and wind got really harsh. The last 8 miles were horrible, with us battling face first into sideways icy rain on the exposed back roads. Unfortunately not all of our group made it to the finish with two having to be picked up on the way by kindly drivers and the rest taking somewhat of an accidental scenic route. The cup of tea and bowl of soup at Balmakewan Cafe after 28.2 miles were the best I’ve ever had.

Total: 50.8 miles


red wine runner 28 mile runPicture: Vikki Shanks

So in theory this is my training for the D33 ‘done’ and it is time for taper. My plan between now and the race is to do one more 20 mile run and a 15 mile run, and take it easy the week of the race. My decision whether to race or run the race is not yet made, but I’ve been encouraged by my training so far so unless anything goes wrong I will be going out for a new personal best at the D33.

This weekend I’m in Edinburgh for the rugby so will be doing my 20 miles solo on Friday morning and am hoping to fit in a Bikram or Hot Yoga session at some point over the weekend, as well as a run around Arthur’s Seat. I also have some coursework due in at University so am juggling the important things in life like mad as usual…