Did you know that the D33 route is only a portion of The Deeside Way? I certainly didn’t until today when I researched The Deeside Way for inclusion in the routes section of the website.
The Deeside Way is an, as yet, incomplete route of 45 miles, stretching from Aberdeen all the way to Ballater. The majority of the route exists but there are, unfortunately, sections which have yet to be completed. A 45 mile ultramarathon from Aberdeen to Ballater certainly sounds interesting!
The next D33 is scheduled for 16th March 2013 with entry opening on 1st January. At 33 miles, it is an excellent stepping stone from marathon to ultramarathon distance and, as such, is a highly popular first ultra for many people, myself included. It was my first ultra back in March 2010 and I have to be thankful that it was ‘only’ 33 miles. I still remember crossing the line feeling as if there was a huge hole where my stomach once was. Nutrition was not my strong point on my first ultra.
The D33 is the first race of the Scottish Ultra Marathon Series and, if training has been lacking, serves as a timely reminder in time for longer SUMS races such as the Fling, Cateran and West Highland Way Race.
Another addition to the new routes section of the website – The Speyside Way, including the Speyside Way Race. This has been a regular race for me since 2010 when I ran the newly resurrected 36.5 mile Speyside Way Race for the first time. It was my 3rd ultramarathon and, after the disappointment of a D.N.F. at the Montane Highland Fling that year, it was the perfect way to end my first year running ultras.
One of my favourite race moments came approximately 30 miles into the race when I came across a fence covered in personalised A4 sized messages. There was a message for every runner, arranged secretly between the race organisers and friends and family of the runners. It was a great touch and gave me the boost I needed to help me along the way to the finish line in Buckie.
Running hasn’t been going all that smoothly for me of late and, in all honesty, I think completing 7 ultras in a relatively short period of time (March to August) has taken a toll on both the body and the running mojo. In some respects, seeing the mileage slipping these past few months has been quite depressing and it feels like each and every run has involved a degree of toiling that just wasn’t evident earlier in the year.
I do an element of treadmill training and this has proven to be a bit of a lifeline, especially for shorter runs. However, even these have been beset with issues from general fatigue to overly tight calf muscles and even, on occasion, numbness in the feet!
The other week I just accepted that the run was going to involve a degree of pain and even went so far as to embrace and invite the pain, ramping the incline up to 10%. As mad as it sounds, I had the best run that I have had in a long time. By the end of it, I looked like I had been for a dip in the pool and, stopping to catch my breath, I could hear the drops of sweat as they landed around me on the floor (nice!).
Since that day, I can’t recall actually doing a ‘normal’ treadmill run. It has either been an interval session or a hills session, and my running has benefited as a result.
While out running this weekend I had a terrible start to the run, until a playlist selection left me feeling considerably more energised, and I actually found myself running an average of approx. 1 minute quicker than my normal mile pace.
I hadn’t done THAT many interval sessions. And then it dawned on me. I recalled seeing a treadmill pace conversion chart and, after a quick Google, it shed some light on my new found speed. Whilst my running speed on the treadmill was far from fast, the 10% equivalent pace by incline was actually a good bit faster than my normal mile pace.
So, looks like I will be continuing to up the incline for treadmill sessions. Given that there are no great hill training opportunities in close proximity, this might just have a doubly positive effect!
“Because of lack of wind resistance while running on a treadmill, the effort of running on a treadmill at 0% incline is less than that of running on a level road at the same pace. Below is a chart that you can use to get approximate equivalent efforts between running on a treadmill at different paces and inclines and running outdoors on a level surface.”
The long awaited Ultimate Direction Signature Series, including the SJ (Scott Jurek) Race Vest, the AK (Anton Krupicka) Race Vest, and the PB (Peter Bakwin) Adventure Vest are now available to buy and stocks are, by all accounts, flying out the door in the US. Limited stock is expected here in the UK in December but you had better be quick if you want to get your hands on one of these packs. Initial stock is expected to sell out very quickly. All of the packs look great but, in particular, the PB Adventure Vest appeals to me with its slightly larger capacity.
Having just checked the entry list I see that there are only 4 places left on The Cateran Trail Ultramarathon, one of the absolute gems of the Scottish Ultra Marathon Series. For many, at 55 miles, it is the final long run of their pre West Highland Way Race training and this is the approach that I took last year. Unfortunately I managed to pick up an Achilles injury in the first 6 miles of the route but a combination of stubbornness and stupidity saw me grind out a finish! As a result, I didn’t actually get much running done before the West Highland Way Race, an enforced ‘taper’ of sorts.
Due to some great news and the logistics involved, I will unfortunately not be on the start line of the 2013 Cateran Trail Ultramarathon but will hopefully be back soon.
I was lucky enough to try the Inov8 Trailroc 235 back at the inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run and I loved the combination of spacious toebox with super grippy sole. I would love to try the Trailroc 255 with a view to finding the perfect shoe for next year’s ultramarathons.
“Specifically designed for running loose, on rugged and eroded trails. Includes the most under foot protection and cushioning of the trailroc™ range so is suitable for high mileage training and racing. Includes Meta-Shank™ gen3 for increased underfoot protection.”
You may already have read the recent Trailroc review at ultra168.com which highly rated the Trailrocs. Now there’s yet more praise coming their way, this time courtesy of www.irunfar.com. Looks like the Trailrocs are destined for great things!
Feeling below par and somewhat sorry for myself, my day took a turn for the better with the arrival of the mail which included a pair of Vibram Five Fingers Spyridon LS. These are the first trail running specific VFFs and have a suitably aggressive tread complete with a protective rock plate.
“Our first trail running–specific model, the Spyridon LS provides the perfect balance of ‘foot feel’ and protection on rugged surfaces. A minimalist 3.5mm Vibram rubber sole provides impact protection from stones and debris, while better allowing proper barefoot dynamics. The aggressive tread design delivers sure-footed grip in all directions, molded nylon mesh in midsole adds a ‘rock block’ effect, dispersing impact over a wider area. The Coconut Active Carbon upper offers natural breathability and an adjustable hook-and-loop closure ensures a secure fit. 3M reflective applications for safety after dark. Machine Washable. Air Dry.”
Covering 127km in 3 stages in temperatures of up to 35 degrees, the race offers a great opportunity for people to step up to ultra distance and/or to step up to multi day events, the latter of which being something that I myself have yet to do.
The race starts near the old Moorish capital of the Algarve, summits the highest point in the Algarve (2970ft) and then finishes at Europe’s most South Westerly point.
Sounds like I really need to convince The Running Bug that they need to send one of their bloggers on an all expenses paid trip to participate in and cover the event. I wonder who that should be – ahem!