Thursday, 1 September 2011


So it's nearly ten weeks since the WHW race and I haven't been doing a lot of running. I had a few easy weeks after the race, then got out for a good run about Carron Valley with Norry and Robert. After that we were on holiday for two weeks - we were in the Central Highlands for the only good week of weather this summer, which was pretty jammy, and then a week in Northern Ireland. Pretty much the only running I did on holiday was when me and Anna had to be subjects so that my wife Jenny could perfect some sports photography techniques:

The idea was to use a slow shutter speed with a moving subject and track the subject with the camera so that the subject is in focus but the background is blurred to create the sense of movement. It works better when the subject (this time it's Alex) is on a bike since they themselves don't move about as much:

We got the best results using a shutter speed of 1/30 second. It was a hot day so after that wee bit of exercise we had to go and jump in the nearest river.

Over the last couple of weeks I've started running a bit more regularly and so now I'm thinking about keeping myself motivated between now and next year to keep training and hopefully be in better shape for the Highland Fling and whatever other races I end up having a go at.

So I'm setting myself some things to try and achieve before the end of 2011 that will give me something to aim for. In no particular order, they are:

1. Run 30 miles in under 4 and a half hours - I probably could get close to this now if I chose a flat route on tarmac so it'll need to have some tracks and trails and uphill on it. I've entered the Glen Ogle 33 in November so that might give me chance to do this, otherwise there's a good 15 mile loop in Carron Valley I know of which last time I ran it took two and a quarter hours to go round once only (and felt pretty knackered at the end), so twice round in 4 and a half would be a good run for me.

2. Run my 4km 220m ascent uphill time trial in under 20 minutes - I work in Perth and run up Kinnoul Hill at lunchtime quite often. Now and again I time myself from the traffic lights at the bottom of the hill up the road and to the summit. The other week I did my fasted time yet - 21:04 - so getting under 20 should be doable if I keep training.

3. Average under 6 minutes per mile for my 5 x 1 mile intervals - I do 5 times 1 mile with 800m recovery jogs, except I try and keep the recovery bits not to slow (about 8 minute mile pace). This week I averaged 6:37 per mile, which is about 10 seconds per mile faster than a month ago. I'm not a naturally quick runner so I think this one will be tough.

4. Get under 11 and a half stone - when I ran the WHW race I was 12 stone 4 lbs, and I'm a few pounds heavier than that now. There was a couple of times earlier in the year that I got under 12 stone and I was definitely running better. My problem is that Jenny makes very good scones and me and the kids love them.

5. Climb a 6b (French) route at the climbing wall - I've recently started going to the local climbing wall (the Peak in Stirling) with my son Alex and we're both getting into it. At the moment I can get up a 6a after a couple of attempts, but it ain't pretty. If you don't know climbing grades then going from 6a to 6b maybe doesn't sound much, but for me it would be a big step as it is a level I was never able to climb at when I was younger, and it seems that 6a is my natural limit - beyond that it gets too strenuous and technical.

So there you are, that what I'm going to try to do in the next four months to keep myself motivated - I'm not sure how successful I'll be but then I guess that's not really the point. Without something to aim for I would struggle to get out of bed at 5am and get out running with a headtorch, and if I don't do that then I don't get time to run.


  1. Gorgeous pictures, Ali. Anna has got the hang of it.

  2. greats shots by jenny..with practice comes perfection.i used to shoot karen riding showjumping and xc..rubish at first but after time it got better. good luck with your autumn goals ali. no hp40 i see!

  3. Fit young man like you, you'll be cruising 6b in no time! Lot's of races to do for fun also, just to keep your hand (feet) without doing too much training. Have a look (eg)at the Rotherham Round website. Cheers, Andy

  4. Thanks Nick - she is quite quick - she won her race at the school sports day showboating across the line in an Usain Bolt stylee...

    Dave - would love to get down for the HP40 but have family stuff on that weekend.

    Andy - thanks for the encouragement though I'm not so sure. I got two-thirds of the way up a 6b last night, but then the crux move has me stumped. Alex did a 4+ - not bad for a wee 8 year old. You're right there's lots of good races to do but I can't justify the weekends away at the moment with three young kids to do stuff with - though I reckon I can just about get to Helvellyn and back in a day...

  5. lovely pics :o) good to have targets to aim for. See you at Geln Ogle