All about not getting squashed

I expect that you would love for me to write telling you that the last few days have been spent in a soggy field on the west of Scotland. That the midges have eaten us alive and that our caravan leaked. Unfortunately none of that happened. We’ve had a wonderful few days, enjoying warm weather and gorgeous sunsets from the awning of our little wobble box sited at Muasdale on Kintyre in Argyll and Bute. Sorry about that. I’ve had to sleep with the caravan window wide open, listening to the waves gently crashing on the shore because it’s been to warm to close it. Such are the sacrifices I’ve made.

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The view from the caravan! I kid ye not!!

We arrived on Thursday. It’s a long way from Dumfries. It’s a long way from most places to be fair; Kintyre is fairly remote being a large isthmus of land projecting from the mainland into the Atlantic. It took us around 4 hours to get here even though the roads were fairly quiet. The roads are named A roads almost as a misnomer. Much like the Irish motorways, Scottish A roads can be equivalent to B, even C roads of the rest of the UK. The campsite sits right on the A83, just a few yards from the beach, but the road is very quiet with just the very occasional lorry or distinctive West Coast Motors bus passing by.

Once we’d set up and the “rush hour” had passed I decided to head out for a 30 minute run. This was week 7 day 2; just a run at about 10 minute mile pace. I decided to head south even though it entailed climbing quite a steep hill around the end of mile one. This was all part of the plan – the toughen me up plan. What is hadn’t counted on was that there were roadworks on the hill and that I would become a distraction for the workers!

I’d reassured my husband that I wouldn’t become an accident statistic by running on the main road and he agreed, having just counted the passing traffic over the previous 5 minutes. One.

It was very warm, possibly as warm as when I did the Sport Relief Mile at Dumfries, but I had my No Meat Athlete vest on, so I was cool in more ways than one! As I headed up the climb the workers stopped to cheer me on (for a split second I did consider stopping at the red traffic light). I couldn’t really hear them with my earphones in, but the general idea was “keep going girl”. I’m not sure if I was more encouraged by the “keep going” or the “girl”!

I turned after a mile and a half and enjoyed heading down hill, arriving at the campsite in time to make dinner and watch a good film (Rules of Engagement, if anyone is interested) with a glass of Côtes du Rhone.

Friday was a walk day and Saturday was a rest day and both I duly did.

On Sunday I was down to run 8 miles. A slow and easy 8 said Jeff Galloway. All of my long runs have been at 11 minute mile pace, which is my half marathon pace. I seem not to be any slower the further I go, which makes me very aware of the fact that I must have slow twitch muscles. I am meant to be a long distance runner, not a sprinter. If I keep going I could happily run all day at 11 minute mile pace – how wonderful would that be?

I ran north, to Tayinloan and back. Again I ran along the A83, with reassurances to my husband that I would text at mile 4 and would “try not to get squashed.” It was Sunday afternoon and Andy Murray was unfortunately in the middle of being beaten by Roger Federer in the Wimbledon Mens Final. In other words, the road was VERY quiet!

If I were a race designer I would describe the route as ‘gently undulating’. There were a couple of descent climbs, but mostly the route was as described. I hit an even pace, thanks to LoLo’s Beat Sync technology, of around 10 minute running miles, slowed down by one minute walk breaks. I didn’t really feel comfortable until mile 5. My splits look like this:

Mile 1: 11:05 Heart rate 143 bpm
Mile 2: 10:48 Heart rate 149 bpm
Mile 3: 11:12 Heart rate 150 bpm
Mile 4: 11:25 Heart rate 153 bpm
Mile 5: 10:44 Heart rate 148 bpm
Mile 6: 11:04 Heart rate 154 bpm
Mile 7: 10:58 Heart rate 155 bpm
Mile 8: 10:38 Heart rate 158 bpm

I am totally delighted by my last mile – a negative split to boot! You can see where I was climbing more than descending! I need to wear my heart monitor at rest to get a resting rate as a comparison.

I texted my hubbie at the turnaround but surprised him with my faster second 4 miles. He’d set out with the dogs to meet me coming back into the village, but had hardly got off the campsite! I’d even run faster than Jeff’s app expected me to, finishing my 8 miles a good 4 minutes too quickly. I don’t know how that happened although I admit that I ran through my last walk break.

It was a pleasure running along Kintyre. The drivers were, in the main, incredibly respectful – giving me lots of room and returning my waves of thanks.

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An apt remnant from a road race left lying on the grass verge

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