Saturday, 31 July 2010

Twisted Chicken Run

We’re here, race 6, the last day of the ‘Tour’ we’ve made it, unfortunately Kevin couldn’t make this race, he had a fitness test he had to do and couldn’t get out of it, not through his lack of trying mind you…. This was the race that nobody knew the route, even after discussing it on Friday night where we had come up with 3 different connotations we still weren’t any the wiser.

I’d planned on taking the train up to Ladybank and cycling over to Strathmiglo on the Saturday but having got a call from Iain T, I opted for a lift, reckon he was ‘buttering’ me up to not take the 2 seconds out on him! Arrived at the Village Hall in plenty time to check out the route map, it was ‘nearly’ one of the routes we had discussed but you cut of the main path into a fire break in the forest which I previously ran in one of the Fife AC nightmare races so I knew what to expect in this part.

We started in the field behind the hall at 2pm, and headed up out of the field onto a narrow tarmacked path into the forest between Strathmiglo and Falkland, as soon as we hit the tarmac Iain put the foot down, he was going for it to get the time back on Pete, I was holding my own with Pete up to about the 2 mile point then I really started fading. I’d gone through 1m in 6:30 and 2 in 7:37, mind you this was a typical Fife AC race, we’d climbed from 216ft at the start to 592ft in the space of 1.5miles, even after we came of the steep climb through the forest we were still climbing, and I think we levelled out at about 642ft.

Mile 3 was more downhill and through the firebreak that I knew but Stevie and Bryce had also both caught and passed me by this point. We emerged onto a track just up from the ‘Chicken Farm’ and the pace levelled out here with mile 4 done in 6:34. I was keeping the gap to Stevie the same distance but I wasn’t making any headway, we were running into a stiff breeze though. After some encouragement from Jim Close who was directing everybody back onto the final path I managed to pick up on the downhill’s and I was conscious of Stevie up ahead. As we entered the field and skirted down the edge I could see him finishing and had a quick glance at the watch…….

All I’ll say is I’ve never ran down that field any quicker, I’m now glad I’d recce’d it before we started, rounded the last corner and even managed a sprint to the line, this time I was out of breath….. asked Steven what his time was and I reckoned he’d beaten me by 1 second, never mind. We stayed and cheered on the rest of the runners for a while before heading in for the traditional post race scram – CAKES, you can’t beat Fife AC for this. Probably the reason half us do the series (that and the camaraderie).

The prize giving was quickly on us with the Corstorphine pairing of Chris O’Brien winning it out right, not bad given he finished just in front of me last year, and his club mate Grant Wilkie 2nd. A few of us popped down to the local Inn for a celebratory pint before heading home. Obviously by the time I’m now typing this up, the full results have been posted, in the end I clocked a overall 2:57:02, and the best bit, that was for equal 12th place with Stevie – bonus……

Friday, 30 July 2010

Up Hell Time Trial

Call me a sadist but this has got to be my favourite race of the week, god knows why as it’s simply you against the clock, you just forget about what anyone else is doing, head down and eye balls out basically for 2.25km – UPHILL

Kevin took the car tonight as Karen was coming, well we did need a photographer!! Having checked in with Doug at Falkland again and checked to see if anyone was needing a lift up to the East Lomond car park we set of. Driving up the road to the car park I remember Kevin saying that sometimes it’s better not to know what’s in front of you. Ah well he shouldn’t have watched my Tour DVD from last year then…..

Having parked up at the top, we had time for a quick warm-up, which more consisted of Kevin ‘Tiger Balming’ himself up, reckon he was having a competition with Mel to see who could go through the most in a week; personally I’ll stick with Deep Freeze!!
The way this race works is that everybody is paired up with another random runner and set of at 30 seconds intervals from the bottom of the hill, where John Murdoch & Ron Mill have this part down to a ‘T’

Kevin had an early start slot of about 7:38 and I was of half an hour later, so just wandered down the hill later watching some of them coming up, knowing I was going to be looking that bad 30 minutes later. I was paired up with Jan Van Den Berg from Corstorphine, so after a quick good luck we were off. The legs felt heavy from the beach the night before but I just tried to ignore that, went through 400m in 4:02 and 800 in 8:05, slightly slower than last year but it a bit windier I reckon. Never looked at the watch from then on but as you near the summit everybody who’s finished is lining the road cheering everyone on which is a good boost.

Kevin had finished in 14:38 and I crossed the line in 11:38, the 8th fastest time of the night, and when you consider only 5 runners broke the magical 11 minutes I was quite pleased. After some more photo shots, a few of us piled back to Mel’s house for some Chilli, rice & nacho’s, still reckon she was trying to fill us up for Saturdays final race of the ‘Tour’, ended up rolling in the door at about 11pm, got to my bed about half 1, oh dear, racing again in 12 hours!!

As it stands I’m now sitting in 12th place overall with Iain Taylor 2 seconds ahead and Stevie King 33 seconds behind, talk about a Carnegie sandwich. Pete had 32 seconds on me which I thought would only be possible if he had a really bad day at the office.

Chariots of Fire Race

After a welcome rest day on the Wednesday, it was of to St.Andrews tonight for a short run along the West Sands, the beach made famous by the movie ‘Chariots of Fife’. I’d borrowed my maw’s car again tonight as I new Alexa wouldn’t be home in time, and that in itself was going to prove fun getting it home for her finishing work at 10….

Kevin again turned up at the house after his work and we headed of sharp as it would take the best part of an hour to get up their. We arrived in plenty time to allow us to check out how hard/soft the sand was this year as the tide was further in than normal. I managed a few strides on harder sand just to see what the legs were like, the thighs were a bit tender and I reckon the rest day didn’t help here. I was thinking this race was going to be tactical tonight too as their were 4 of us quite close at this point.

Anyway 7:25 we got the customary race briefing from Ron Morrison, who advised us we’d be running a ‘wee bit’ further than normal, why? That’ll be because the course was short last year! Oh yee…. so it was. No fancy start countdown tonight, it was just a GO, and of set 140+ runners across the beach, heading for hard sand.

The usual lead group started heading of into the distance and as I went through the 1st mile in 5:35 it looked like it was going to be Pete B, Iain T and myself again tonight with Stevie K and Bryce Aitken following us. As we approached the left turn up the estuary we noticed Fife’s Chris Russell head up the beach onto the soft sand taking the direct approach to the corner. I followed him this time with Iain coming too, Pete opted to stay on the harder stuff a bit longer, the longer route but easier running.

Heading along the estuary was fun as it was really soft and it meant the next couple of miles slowed to a 6:31 and 6:48 respectively as we went out & back. Iain took the lead and started running along the sea weed that was partially wet but it was better than the soft sand. Round the marshal we went and this time we headed a bit further down the beach to the harder sand, it meant running further but it was easier and Pete caught us up at this point.

Again I opted for the quick route around the corner back onto the main beach but this time I went straight for the hard stuff, Pete started pulling away and Iain followed at which point I was hanging on, I reckon though with a mile to go I was getting a 2nd wind and managed to peg back Iain, 800 to go and I was level with Pete and gradually got in front going through mile 4 in 6:15. Watching the shadows on the sand was interesting as Iain’s had disappeared but Pete was hanging on, the problem with this race is the finish never seems to get any closer, anyway managed to hold on to finish in 26:31, not bad over 4.2 miles of sand…..

The traditional dip in the Sea followed and it also helped ease of the calf’s a bit which was a bonus. The trip back down the road was fun, we drove past the chippy in Guardbridge to the site of a dozen fluorescent jackets waiting to be served, guess what the ‘Harriers’ had for tea then!! Made good time till we got to Kelty and found the motorway blocked by an accident and we all got diverted off. Good think I know the back roads then! Managed to get the car back for my maw only 15 minutes late – Oops!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Tour of Fife Photo's

All the pictures that I've managed to take are located here -

Quality pictures from Scottish races including the Tour of Fife from David Bauchop can be found here -

And Fife AC's very own Pete Bracegirdle who follows the 'Tour' every year snapping more quality pictures posts link to them via the Fife AC website -

Check them out and see if you can spot yourself.

Even more photo's appear via links on facebook, taken by fellow 'Tourists'

Lomonds Lungbuster Hill Race

Race 3 is upon us, my least favourite of them all it has to be said, this is the one that’ll sort the men from the boys, or in other words the ‘Hill runners from the Road Runners’, with myself being the latter, I wasn’t really looking forward to this one.

It was Kevin’s turn for the car so he turned up at the house again straight from his work and we headed up to Falkland arriving at the Community Centre around half 6 to get ourselves checked in with Doug. The bonus of Kevin using his car was that we could take another 3 folk up to Craigmead, step up Mel & Chris from Carnegie and wait for it… Kingdom FM DJ, Ali McLaren who is also taking part in the ‘Tour’ this week. I’ll look out the link to his podcasts, good listening when you’ve a free moment.

So of up to Craigmead car park we went, admiring the clear views of West Lomond and thinking that in less than an hour we’d be pounding our way up to it’s summit, oh great!! Didn’t bother with a warm up tonight as I had no plans on going off hard, I’d just use the run to the bottom of West Lomond as my warm up! After the customary briefing from Ron Morrison tonight (I reckon Jim’s voice was missed) and a head count we were set on our way.

It wasn’t cold but their was a bit of a crosswind on the way out, so much so that their was a bit of drafting going on again tonight “Eh Pete”, the 1st mile was a slow 7:11, partially due to it being up hill and the fact we new what was coming. We had been told we could take any route we wanted up to the summit but we had to follow the marshalled route down, so as we approached the base we spotted Fife’s Chris Russell head of on the steeper more direct route up, the thought had crossed my mind to follow him knowing that he knew the hill quite well, but something said to take the zigzag option, which paid dividends.

I remember my watch beeping at me, a 10:39 2nd mile, wonder why!! Anyway, I’d been looking back and new I had a decent lead over Pete B and Stevie K, but Iain T had disappeared. I crested the summit not far behind Chris in around 18:42 and shot of down the route we were directed to take, now this is the part I normally hate, I usually just ‘pussy foot’ down, but this time it was decent path so I just ‘pussy footed’ a bit quicker than normal, but not quick enough to stop Pete B, flying past me shortly there after followed by Stevie K.

We rounded the corner back to the base of the climb and some flatter ground and I managed to reel Stevie back in, Pete was disappearing into the distance at this point. Went through the 3rd mile in 6:32, pace was going the right direction at least, then Stevie picked up again and I was struggling, more from watching where I was putting my feet than anything else but I knew I had clear air behind so it was a case of head down and keep going. Managed a 5:36 4th mile before I hit the grassy area back down to the finish area with the last .4 of a mile covered in 2:16. Overall a 32:16 so very happy with that.

I stayed at the finish to watch the rest of the field finishing and was surprised to see Iain T come in over a minute down on me, turns out he had headed of up the hill behind Chris and paid the price, at least it’s narrowed the gap between us time wise. Kevin came storming over the hill and through the finish shortly after, he’d had a flyer too, easy seen who got the hill running ‘genes’ in the family then. After a few pictures in the car park we headed back down to Falkland to drop our co-tourists off before heading back home.

Going into the rest day on Wednesday I’m sitting 13th overall, still not sure if the rest day is a good idea or not as the legs are a lot stiffer today as I type this up, but at least we’re on the beach tonight, sandcastles, swimming oh and a 4 mile run…. See you all at St.Andrews

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Loopy Loch Trail Race

Day 2 of the ‘Tour’ and I have to say I’m actually rather excited about this race, the Loopy Loch Trail Race, billed as a 6.5mile trail race around Lochore Meadows Country Park. This is one route I know like the back of my hand, the route itself was 2 anti-clockwise laps of the Loch, the opposite direction from what a few of us from the club use on a ‘normal’ Monday night as a training run straight from work to get it out the way, so I was going to try and make home advantage count – well as best I could anyway J

It was my turn to take the car tonight, so knowing Alexa wouldn’t be home from work in time to get ours, I borrowed by mum’s, quite handy when she works for the same company, she drops the car of and I take it home, just had to make sure I lifted my bike chain key for when I dropped it of again, didn’t really fancy hobbling down the road afterwards…

Kevin turned up at the house about half 5 straight from his work, quick change and a cuppa later we set of through to Lochgelly. The weather tonight was better for running I thought, it was a bit cool with a breeze coming of the loch too and having checked the map and seen the direction I knew we’d be heading out into a headwind. Anyway, headed out on a small warm-up, more to see how the legs felt and they felt fine so I thought ‘to hell with it’, I’ll just go for it, I know the route, turns, climbs etc if it means hanging on in the last mile then so be it….

The 1st mile was fast, 4 broke clear shortly after the start leaving a group of 4 or 5 including Brian (Fife), Iain (Carnegie), Pete (Portie) and myself. I slowly got dropped of the back and went through the mile in 5:44. I could still see the group in front but then another couple went by; mile 2 was 6:07 which included a gate! Round the far side of the Loch we went and as we approached the end of the Loch I knew I was gaining on Iain.

Over the bridge we went and started heading back to the start going through 3 in 6:03, you could hear the spectators cheering on those in front so it was good to go past them literally on Iain’s heels. Started the 2nd lap and he tucked in behind as we focussed on Portie Pete up ahead. Down the side of the loch again and through 4 in 6:02, the pace wasn’t letting up, then Iain went past, someone had got his 2nd wind J he set of in pursuit of Pete and I was now hanging on.

It did look like the gap was closing as we went through 5 in 6:21, but alas the legs were starting to fail. I knew what was in front and how long I had to hold on for, one bonus of a lapped race I suppose! Went through 6 in 6:29 before finishing in 38:53. Not bad over 6.33m. The finishing area was wide open so it was good to watch everyone finishing before hitting the showers, that did mean missing the ‘hardy’ souls having a water fight, sorry ‘a paddle’ in the loch…….

So, it’s the hill race next, not my favourite event, but as they say, in for a penny, in for a pound. See you all at Craigmead………..

Monday, 26 July 2010

Teddy Bear Race

Well the 1st race of the Tour is on us, and it looks to be a nice day for a change given all the recent rain!! Alexa (my wife) and my Brother, Kevin, who incidentally is taking part in the ‘Tour’ for the 1st time and his girl Karen all headed up to Giffordtown in the one car, arriving in plenty time to register for the series.

We were one of the 1st to arrive at the parking area, the grassy grounds of the local community centre, plenty room to get the majority of us in and parked. We both got registered, picking up our race number which has to last all week and our race memento; I’ll try and put a picture of this up later but it is quite smart.

This left us plenty time to relax and chill in the Scorching Sunshine, probably not the best idea given we had a 5 mile race coming up, but I was making sure I keep myself topped up with water. We both headed out about half one for an easy warm up, jogged out along the course about 600m and back again, that was enough for me! A quick bye to the ladies who headed out on the course with the cameras and we were lined up for the start.

Probably should have but this bit at the top of the blog, so before I go on I’d better say I’ve not ran properly since 30th June when I pulled/strained my right calf (and I was only training at the time!). I’ve managed four light runs and two races, the Brig Bash 5 and the Beveridge Park 5K, both of which were run very slowly!!! Lining up on the start I was a bit worried about what would happen, the next 35 minutes would tell…..

After the race briefing, which during the ‘Tour’ it’s essential you listen to it, we were off. I settled into a decent pace which felt comfortable at the time! Going through the 1st mile in 5:47 even felt fine, this was on two straight sections of road after all. The 2nd mile twisted a bit more and I clocked 6:02 over this. It was at this point I became aware of a ‘Harrier’ beside me, Steven King someone I had ‘battle’ with in a previous ‘Tour’

We stayed together all the way around the loop and down towards the 3 mile mark which I went through in 6:12, it was here that Stevie started pulling away from me. My lack of distance/speed training was going to start telling soon. The last 2 miles were back the way we had ran out and I managed to hold the distance between us going through four in 6:08. Caught site of Fife’s Bryce Aitken in front and thought I’d maybe be able to catch him, at the 400 to go marker I picked up the pace hoping my track training experience over this distance might help me kick at the right time, 200 to go, 100 to go… yep he looked over his shoulder and he did enough to stay ahead.

Went through the 5th mile in 5:51 to clock an overall time of 30:03 and 15th place, a much better than anticipated time , I just hope I’ve not blown the legs out on the 1st day. Finished 1 second behind Bryce, and 7 behind Stevie, could be an interesting few day’s ahead. The bonus was my calf felt fine, and is still pain free as I type, fingers crossed it stays that way….

Tour of Fife Races

The races this year comprise the following –

Sunday, Teddy Bear Race, a nice easy 5 mile road race at Giffordtown to kick start the ‘Tour’
Monday, Loopy Loch Trail Race, a 6.5 mile undulating trail race around Lochore Meadows Country Park near Lochgelly.
Tuesday, Lomond’s Lungbuster Hill Race, a 4.4 mile with 697ft of climbing from Craigmead car park up to the summit of West Lomond and back.
Wednesday, Rest Day.
Thursday, ‘Chariots of Fife’ Beach Race, a 4 mile out and back race across West Sands beach at St.Andrews, the beach that was made famous in the Oscar winning film ‘Chariots of Fife’
Friday, Uphell Time Trial, The Alpe d'Huez of the Tour!!! A 2.25km with 754ft of climbing up to the Radio masts at East Lomond, it’s you against the clock in this race.
Saturday, the ‘Twisted’ Chicken Run, the last race of the ‘Tour’ a 5.5 mile race from Strathmiglo

Tour of Fife

Okay, what’s this you’re asking? Well put simply it’s one the best running events in Fife, if not the best. Normally a series of 5 races over 5 consecutive days, the 2010 series has a twist to it.

This is the 10th year of the event and will consist of 6 races over 7 days, Sunday to Saturday with a rest day on the Wednesday; although I’m sure one or two of the runners will be hunting out a race someplace!!

The event organised by Fife AC attracts nutters, sorry runners from all over the Kingdom and further afield. This will be my 5th attempt at the complete ‘Tour’ having finished 35th in 2006, 31st in 2007, 19th in 2008 and 7th last year.

New to this....

Okay, my 1st attempt at a 'blog' of sorts, might take a while to get it fully up and running but hey ho, we'll see what happens. Most of the stuff is likely to revolve around my running, something which I enjoy. Please be patient whilst I get this blog moving :-)