Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Running Man (Days 14, 15 & 16)

Day 14 (Monday):  "Some days are good.  Some days are awful. Today was a good day. 

We started from Strathclyde Park at the Scottish National Rowing Centre and continued down the Clyde Walkway.  I never seen the river with so much water in it, very muddy water, and there were one or two fishermen along the route fishing for trout and salmon.

The weather was good, despite the forecast.  David ran/walked with me for the first 14 miles.  Part of the route was across fields with cows in and the going was very slow in very muddy areas, sometimes as slow as only 1 mile per hour.

At about 10 miles I was taken aback to see our great friends Clive and Linda who had travelled up from the Lake District on a surprise visit to run and cycle with me.  It was a huge boost and I was absolutely delighted.  Running with company makes it so much easier.

After 18 miles we reached New Lanark, a World Heritage site, where my brother Bill and his wife Gillie live.  I met up with them for only about 5 minutes as I had to keep going but it was lovely to see them.

All the team walked up to the Falls of Clyde.  There had just been a shower, but the sun came out as we reached the Falls and they looked incredible.  Lots of photos to follow when we can work the IT.

I was interviewed by Channel TV (Local ITV in Channel Islands) as I was running along this afternoon.  I hope that might be on TV tomorrow.

We completed 27 ½ miles today.  Because it was a slow day, we finished at 6.30 – 6.45pm and after we got to the hotel, I had my foot session with the Doc (1/2 hour each morning and evening) and massage session it was 8.15.  That’s really late for me as I try to have a kip before having dinner at 6.30- 7pm!

However, my feet are improving.  The route was all flat today so nothing to aggravate the quads.  Other aches and pains also seem to be improving.

David left today after his stint as physio.  I am very grateful to him for all his support.  Also Alan left to explore Edinburgh and then return home, but he will be rejoining us for the last week from Exeter.  Alan has been great and has accompanied me through some very difficult times on this trip.  We are now down to a team of 5 – Doc, Frances, Sue, Raj and me.

So I am now 5 miles south of Glasgow, over 300 miles completed, 1/3rd of the way to Lands End.  Tomorrow we will be in the Borders – Moffat tomorrow night – so I am getting close to being able to say I have run/walked through Scotland.


If you know of anyone along the rest of the route who might be interested in running with me, please let them know about my run and direct them to the website which provides all the details of the route."

Day 15 (Tuesday): "I’m now in the Borders, at the Buccleuch Arms Hotel in Moffat having run over Beattock Summit today.

I did 26.4 miles today (slightly more than shown on Endomondo tracker).  Raj ran the first 12 miles with me and Sue ran the last 14.

The run was better than yesterday as we were on more even terrain, on cycle tracks.  I did more running today as I have injured a tendon at the bottom of my shin which makes walking difficult, even with walking poles.  I am having Voltarol gel applied to my shin 4 times a day and will just have to wait for it to ease.  All other aches and pains seem to be subsiding.  Today’s route finished with 1 ½ hours going downhill quite steeply.  My quads were OK with that today, so I am pleased with the improvement.

My running companions yesterday have expressed concern about my intake of food and liquid en route, so you might be interested to hear about my routine on a typical day.

I have either porridge or muesli for breakfast then Doc checks my feet and tapes up my toes, which takes ½ hour. I warm up at the hotel and then we go to the start of that day’s route and Doc takes my blood pressure, temperature and weight in the campervan that is his mobile surgery, then I finish warming up and start off.

I have electrolyte drink or coconut water (a natural electrolyte) with me all the time (usually carried by one of the other runners) which I sip throughout the day.  The Doc and Physio know how much I have to drink in a day and any of that quantity that I have not drunk during the run, I have to drink during the evening.

During today’s run I ate 2 bananas, 2 energy bars (I prefer Nakd – all natural ingredients), a ham and cheese roll and an apple (Alan’s home grown from Guernsey).  When I finish the run I am wrapped up in a foil blanket, covered with a fleece blanket and Doc takes my temperature and blood pressure again.  We get to the next hotel as soon as we can so I don’t get cold, and on the way there I have a protein and carbohydrate replacement drink called Living Fuel from Evolution Organics.  I also used this after all my training runs at home, and used different quantities according to the length of the run and therefore the calories I have used.

At the hotel we check in as quickly as possible, and I have ½ hour with Doc untaping my toes, then a cold bath up to my waist to help the recovery of the muscles in my legs. That really makes me feel cold, so I have a hot shower afterwards and then an hour of massage and stretching.  If I have time, I have a kip before dinner, but I try to eat fairly early, as it usually takes ages to get dinner in hotels, then I phone home with my day’s report and fall asleep.

We had a Red Cross parcel of cake waiting for us at the hotel this evening from Sam Weir – some healthy cake, some unhealthy Malteser cake and some soda bread.  Thank you Sam.  We are going to eat the healthy cake as a substitute for energy bars en route.  I’ll let you know if it helps me run faster!


Day 16 (Wednesday): "Well today’s run is over.  Another marathon under the belt with an extra mile tacked on to make up for earlier shortfalls.  If you have been watching the tracker on the website, you may think I covered a shorter distance.  Invariably I forget to turn on the tracker when I start and it is not until I am a little way along the route that I suddenly realise.  I get incredibly nervous every morning before I start running.  I was like this when I played first class rugby many years ago: always terribly nervous before going on to the pitch to play.  It feels just the same.

We had a good stay at the Buccleuch Arms in Moffat last night.  They very kindly gave us a special discount because we are on a charitable trip.  We had a superb evening meal yesterday and a great breakfast – I find porridge really good before running.

The weather for the first ¾ of the route was fine, but for the last ¼ it was foul.  Frances (my sister-in-law) ran the whole route today with me.  We caught up on family news and she was great company, as she always is.

The route was fairly undulating today.  The hill out of Ecclefechan seemed to go on forever.  However, we finished strongly at Kirtlebridge between Ecclefechan and Kirkpatrick Fleming.  We are tantalisingly close to completing Scotland and are due to be crossing the border tomorrow.

Unfortunately my ankle has swollen up like a balloon this evening.  It was fairly swollen when I finished running.  We don’t know what caused it.  Doc has had a look but not said much.  I am trying to rest with my foot elevated.  There seems to be a new injury to worry about every day.

Doc went back to Abington, our stop 2 nights ago, to collect additional medicines and tape he had ordered.  He is doing a great job on my feet.

My mother’s cousin, Davey Hyslop (no relation to the physio I had last week), who lives in the Borders came to visit me at our hotel in Dumfries this evening.  We have only met a couple of times before so it was lovely to see him again and he offered to show me where our family used to live when I next come back.

Raj and Sue did a great job of directing us on to the cycle paths today.  We have a debate each day about whether to take the B roads which are quieter but have no cycle path, or the A roads which are busy but have a cycle path.  Today a car overtaking a timber lorry came within 6 inches of us despite the fact that we were on a cycle path and we were wearing high-visibility clothes.

Tomorrow we are heading for Carlisle.  We should cross the border and pass the 400 mile mark.  Fingers crossed that my ankle will be looking better by the morning.


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