MEMBERS REPORTS 2009
Devils Beef Tub Hill Race - 12th September 2009
EDINBURGH MARATHON 2009
Well it has been and gone and finally I feel I can face writing the outcome of the days events.
Our last training session was over we had all stood at the end of it and made our final arrangements with each other about where we would meet up at the start and finish .Everyone appeared to be pretty ok with the preparation and were just willing the day to arrive and we could finally put all the months of hard training to the test and get our lives back to normal again.
Shirley and Nigel unfortunately had not had the best last few weeks as their injuries had held them back from doing much of the programmed miles however they managed what they could and visits to a wonderful Duncan Ford kept their hopes of completing the run alive for them. Garry who had to do all his training himself down in Warrington was also suffering from lack of miles the last six weeks due to a very sore knee however he had youth on his side and was now resigned to the fact that as long as he was able to complete he would fine. Andrew was cruising in training and it was looking good for him to achieve a good time. Louise and myself had no injury worries and the pair of us had completed our scheduled programme probably the best of any of us the only thing was I had a scare at the beginning of the week when I had picked up the dreaded stomach bug that was doing the rounds in the school where I work however I was feeling better and the short run that we had just completed seemed to confirm that I was over it. Our only major concern now was the weather the forecast was for a heat wave - temperatures of high 70’s were to be expected – far from ideal for running a marathon !! How ever nothing could be done to change the weather.
So we all made our way up to Edinburgh the day before the run Alan, Garry and I were staying in the motor home at the camp site at Musselburgh which is where the race finishes. Andrew and wife Nicola were also staying in Musselburgh at a B & B whilst Louise Shirley and their friend Elizabeth travelled up by train and were staying at an apartment. Nigel and family were booked into Seaton Sands Holiday park and had had travelled up on the Friday evening so we were all there safe and sound. The heat by the way was starting to worry me a bit as Edinburgh is always cool and I don’t think I have ever been there when there was not a wind of some sort . Not today though it was scorching hot way too hot in fact tomorrow was going to be tougher than any of us could have imagined.
As chief coach I thought I would just ring around early evening and check that everyone was settled and that no one was too nervous - I did not need to worry though they seemed to have found their own relaxation methods. Andrew & Nicola had popped onto a bus in the afternoon to meet up with Nigel & wife Jackie at the holiday camp and had somehow found their way to the bar when I phoned Nicola sounded just a bit tipsy and informed me the boys were fine just having a Guinness or two to settle the nerves – hmmm. Next was a phone call to the flat and see how Shirley and Louise were doing -yes we are fine had a nice pasta supper and have just poured our self a wee glass of wine to ease the jitters – would it be only a small glass I wondered hmmm. Well I supposed that at least they would all have a good nights sleep. Garry by the way was very good Alan offered him a cider and he declined – that’s my boy!
After an excellent nights sleep I awoke at 6 ready for the day ahead it was already warm and not a cloud in the sky - yes it was going to be a scorcher . Breakfast over and done with Garry and I changed and vaselined all our bits and bobs and went through the checklist yes we were ready for the off. We waved farewell to Alan who was going to watch the race from the bottom of the road and made our way to the entrance of the site to meet the taxi that was to pick us up. It was already waiting for us, it was way too early Andrew was inside and we had to wait for Nigel before we could set off. What a cheery chap the taxi driver was we actually thought he was a mute as we had tried several times to make conversation while we waited but to no avail he sat reading his newspaper oblivious to the fact we were even in the vehicle. Not to worry Nigel arrived soon and we set off – oh my God it was the scariest 15 minutes that I think I have ever travelled in – oh maybe not the trip to Applecross this summer beats that but that’s another story- I had asked the driver - as I was in the front because I get travel sick !!!!! – before we set off how much the fare would be as no one wanted to carry any more money than we needed to and he said £15 that was fine we had £18 between us so that would be fine. On finally arriving at Regent Road the cab stopped and I asked again how much he turned and said £21 I thought you said £15 had my ears deceived me I turned around and the boys were no where to be seen they had jumped out and were gone leaving little ole me to bundle £18 into the drivers hand and mutter I will drop the rest off at your office Goodbye!
Phew now to find the rest yep found them all having a little titter to themselves. Never mind our minds now had to be set on the task in hand we all had our water with us yes all nicely hydrated right now the cue for the loos yes all that done by the way Andrew & Nigel how many pints did you have last night I asked them -only seven was the reply – were they joking yes of course they were weren’t they? - I later found out they were not !
Anyhow we all found our way to our pens- oh we met a familiar face by the way Jim Buchanan was running the first leg of the Haggis Relay which was incorporated into the marathon he was looking fit and well. There was not too long to wait and the start was underway it is a great feeling to be finally setting off to complete what is the finale of six months of mental and physical training. I set off first mile underway not too fresh but I often feel like that for a few miles until I get going. The second mile did not feel much better , the third mile I was asking myself what on earth is wrong with my legs COME ON MOVE ! by mile four I was really worried and by mile five I had to give in and walk I struggled on walking and jogging thinking my legs would get some life in them but it did not happen by the time I met Alan at eleven miles I knew in my heart there was no way that I could complete this today I had nothing more to give my legs were wobbly bits of jelly and I feared that if I carried on I would end up in a heap by the side of the road so I stepped off the road at eleven miles and sobbed all the way back to the van.
After a shower and a change of clothes we walked back down to watch the finish of the race my legs were still wobbly so we decided to watch from the bottom of the road which was 2miles from the finish. I sat on the grass verge and applauded the rest of the team it was incredibly hot but Andrew sailed by and I knew he was going to record a good time for himself – could have been even better without the pre booze Andrew – he crossed in 3.38. Garry passed next walking but in good spirits he had ran too fast and had hit the wall at 17 miles but soldiered on and completed in 4.18. Shirley passed next she was still smiling and jogging she completed in 4 hours 17 (Garry had started before her because he was in a higher pen that is why his time was slower although he was ahead of her) well done to her as she was the least confident of us all about completing. I didn’t see Louise she had run incognito, a visor, dark sunglasses – did she have more wine than she had let on? Well done Louise she was a victim of the water shortage no water at the 17 mile mark it had been stolen through the night and they had ran out so she had walked a good deal after that and completed in 4.31 and finally I spotted Nigel- despite having a dose of the trots at the six mile mark and crashing through the doors of a ladies yoga class into a male shower room where a poor man having a shower nearly had a heart attack at the speed at which he raced into the adjoining toilet (that was proof of the guinness consumption) - plodding on but he was going to finish – my hero after all his injuries he was going to make it and he did 4.37.
So that’s it folks 20 years I have been running and never ever had to pull out of a race but I guess that’s the way it goes it took me a few weeks to face running with anyone again but at the end of the day It is one run and it is over so onwards I go. I did say that would be my last marathon but as I did not finish it I will have to have another attempt but not for a few years yet. It has been a journey but if anyone of us failed to finish I am so glad it was me I am so proud of the rest of ‘my gang’ well done to you all.
CarolineAyr Open Water Sprint Triathlon
For some, Father's Day means a lie in and a fry-up for breakfast. Or maybe treated to a pub lunch and a few beers.
For some bizarre reason I decided to put my winters swimming training to the test in an open water sprint triathlon near Ayr.
Dan Watson and I have been up at the crack of dawn once or twice a week over the winter and spring, travelling to Annan pool in an attempt to master the art of distance swimming, having been bitten by the tri-bug after the event at St Mary's Loch last summer. Had it all been worth while? I was hoping to find out.
While zooming up to Ayr in the early morning I was becoming quite nervous about the event. The swim section, is in a tidal stretch of the River Doon and was an unknown quantity. I regularly swim in open water at the loch now, but trying to swim while surrounded by 90 other competitors all jostling and whacking each other in the froth is a totally different experience. Also, I have done plenty of mountain bike races now but this was my first ever attempt at bike racing on open roads.
When I got there I felt like the new boy at school, like we all do at our first ever race. Everyone looked fitter, slimmer, stronger, younger, had better bikes and fancier wetsuits!
What was I doing here?
I registered then began preparing my "transition area". Bike all set up and serviced, check what gear I have it set up in...yup. Helmet, bike shoes, juice bottle filled...yup.
Running shoes open, laces loose...yup, must have forgotten something....
Amongst all the gleaming carbon fibre racing bikes I heard a voice shouting my name. It turned out to be Brian Elliot from Annan with family in tow, also competing in the tri. Chatting to him about the event, as he has done it before, did not help to calm my nerves!
With 10 minutes to go before the start, we all squeezed ourselves into our wetsuits, and listened to the pre-race briefing. The transition rules and the road bike rules sounded very complicated.
After this, we donned our swim caps and goggles and made our way into the river for a "warm-up". Swim caps are colour coded according to ability and the start is slightly staggered to let the faster swimmers away first, this avoids them drowning the slower ones in the stamped when the gun goes off!
The water was colder than I had expected, but once I had been in a few minutes it felt quite comfortable. The swim is in the tidal mouth of the river Doon. They hold it at high tide, just as the incoming sea water causes the river water coming down stream to bake up and for a short period the current all but stops and the fresh river water deepens considerably.
Arranged into our colour co-ordinated groups at the start, the gun went off exactly on time. The deep water start of a triathlon is worth seeing.....absolute mayhem!
It is a wonder no one is drowned. Goggles get knocked off, huge mouthfuls of water are swallowed, almost everyone gets kicked or elbowed.
Thankfully it all sorts itself out very quickly as swimmers find space and get into a steady race rhythm.
As we swam along the first straight together, gently bumping and jostling each other, I though this must be what it's like being a fish in a shoal. It felt strangely comforting being in close company, as I normally swim alone or separately in the loch and the deep, dark below is always unsettling.
As the swim went on, 750 metres to be exact, I settled into a comfortable stroke. Not having done much of this I had no real idea of how to pace the race, I decided to opt for the safe option and go stead, saving plenty for the next two legs.
The two laps sailed by without major incident, the hardest part is keeping in a straight line between the buoys. Lots of time and effort are saved if you can stay on a direct line. It felt a bit like trying to run two laps of the track with your eyes closed, as the water was so dark.!!
Emerging after the swim is always very disorientating and many folks stagger about and even fall over when they first leave the water.
I was quite steady this time, which I took as a good sign, then it was a short run up the path towards the bike, cap and goggles off and wetsuit half off as I ran.
Transition was busy as we struggled out of out tight tri wetsuits and donned our bike gear as quickly as we could. I wore my running and bike clothes under my wetsuit to save extra seconds.
Once clear of transition I jumped on my bike and headed of into the unknown.... a 20km road race down the coast to a little village called Dunure and back. Seeing anyone up ahead always brings the racer out in me and I pedalled off in pursuit, not really knowing if I was pacing this very well!!
I started to reel in some of the cyclists who had obviously been much stronger swimmers.
One of the nice things I'm finding out about triathlons is that everyone has their strong sections. As swimming wasn't one of mine, it was now my turn to gain a few places. There was a nice light drizzle helping to keep us cool as we belted down the hills, catching up and "draughting" behind the cars! One very strict rule of triathlon road cycling is that you are not allowed to "draught" or sit in the slipstream behind other competitors, doing so can lead to disqualification, but I hadn't seen anything in the rules about draughting behind the traffic!!
Steadily through the cycle I picked up a few more places. Another interesting thing I found on my first road race was how quickly long distances between you and riders ahead can be closed. There were riders so far ahead that if it was a running race you'd never dream of even trying to catch them up, but here, whizzing along on the bike it seemed like you were on them in no time.
The final 6k or so is downhill back to the transition area, so it was head down and spinning a big gear, nipping past a couple more, and opening up a gap just in case the run was their strong leg.
I got back to transition, having emptied my juice bottle of energy drink on the cycle, feeling not too bad. It seemed to take an age to get my bike stuff off and my running shoes on. Lost places I had gained on the cycle again. Elastic laces and no socks were their secret. Remember that for next time.
Maybe not surprisingly my legs felt like lead setting off on the run section of 5k. I hoped the rest around me were feeling the same or this was going to be torture. I settled in behind the two competitors I lost ground to during the final transition and hoped my legs would liven up soon. The run involves quite a climb off-road to the half way point, followed by a gradual drop back down again to the finish. This seemed to suit me as I caught up on runners fading on the hill climb. I just hoped I could keep them behind me on the finishing section through the houses on the flat.
Gradually my legs cam back to life and I was able to stretch out a bit more of a stride, feeling more comfortable and looking ahead for any more runners. It was at this point I was passed by a guy almost at a sprint! No guessing what his strongest event was.
Coming back through the houses and onto the promenade for the home straight I caught one more runner and dug in to hold off a guy who I'd been tussling with since the beginning of the bike ride.
Through the finish line...job done...still in one piece. A smile and a shake of the hand to the guy behind me, just pipping him by 4 seconds, then it was off to the tea tent for a brew and some buns.
I met Brian Elliot there who looked like he'd been finished for ages, he'd come an excellent 10th place.
I have to compliment the organisers for a great wee event, well marshalled, no hassles and a home baking tent almost in the same league of the famous Durisdeer Fell Race bakery.
I had gained a lot of experience here and had picked up lots of little tips for the next one and even squeeked into the top 20 as well, even after a moderate swim coming out the water in 35th place!!
For the record
Position Total Time Swim Pos. Bike Pos. Run position
18th/85 1:16:240:15:24 35th 0:40:59 24 th 0:20:01 13th
Sometimes our members get involved with other things and one of our astute members noticed the following headline in the Scotsman this week
Well it seems that Joe is moving to higher plains than ADAC Championships so this will give some of our other contenders hope in the club events.......good luck Joe, we'll be watching your progress.
Also in a magazine widely circulated throughout Scotland and abroad, we find Dan showing off one of his running medals to a group of enthralled youngsters
EDINBURGH MARATHON PROGRESS REPORT 31.03.2009
Well it doesn’t seem like long since I was writing a report on the 2008 Edinburgh Marathon and saying NEVER AGAIN! And here I am back training for this years run.
Over Christmas when spirits were high and the red wine (amongst the others I might add as being the true athlete that I am I am t – total) was flowing freely I talked a few others into entering as well. Our Garry, Louise, Shirley, and Nigel Hall - our body guard who keeps us safe when we are out running in the dark on winter nights- were the silly people who listened to me! So with 9 weeks to go before D Day we are all working hard .Poor Shirley has had a slight twinge in her calf and missed a few days running however she is back on track and along with the rest of us plodding away on target – we hope for M Day!!
At the beginning of March Garry and I travelled to Shap to take part in the Haweswater half marathon at Bampton Village. We both competed in last years run and enjoyed it so much (hmm hmm) we returned to face those lovely hills for the second time. The temperature seems to drop a good few degrees there and although the sun was out it didn’t feel much like a spring day however its only to be expected when you are out in the middle of nowhere I guess but the cold is more than made up for by the glorious scenes on the very undulating route.
The race was won by James Bulman of North Yorkshire Moors AC in a time of 74.11 and there were 511 finishers. The race has a limit of 600 entries and as they had reached their target a month before the closing date my other training buddies had missed the boat – any excuse I say.
Garry ran really well bettering his time of last year by a good 5 minutes to set himself a PB of 93.38. I was not so good I completed but was 8 minutes slower than last year – tut tut – kick up the backside now needed! My time was 2 hrs 2 minutes and 48 seconds my worst ever for that distance – I do seem to be setting a lot of personal worst these days.
With some stern words to myself and a few nice long miles of 2 plus hours under my belt I felt I was now ready to give the Coniston 14-which took place this past weekend a go - I must add that it must be one of the most scenic road races in the country and you should try and find room in your calendar for it. Anyhow Alan and I and the boys ( my wee snarley Jack Russell’s , they do say dogs take after their owners don’t they ) set off in Ellie our mobile home on Friday afternoon to stay over at Coppice Park the campsite on the outskirts of the village. The heavens opened as we were travelling along the motorway and when we arrived the wind was howling not ideal conditions for running I commented to Alan. However when we awoke and peeped out of the van window on Saturday morning there was no rain although the wind was still blowing it was a bit less forceful but it was bitterly cold . On the walk into the village for the start of the run the snow could be viewed on the peaks of the Old Man of Coniston making it picture card stuff. The race had again been fully subscribed by the beginning of January and 1473 runners made it across the finishing line. Victory went to Nick Leigh of Altrincham AC in a time of 75.57 Runner up was Steve Littler of Wesham Road Runners (76.52) and third was Donald Naylor of Hunters Bog Trotters in 78.35.
I completed the 13.875 miles in 2 hours 6 minutes and 32 seconds which was just over a minute slower than last year so the kick up the backside was working. So please everyone keep your fingers crossed for us all that we can all make it to Edinburgh on May 31st and complete that 26.2 Miles with flying colours