For the first 10 weeks of 2019 I have run 533 miles, and climbed about 80,000ft, and it's had many ups and downs as can be expected so far. I had my usual beer coma leading up to new year but started off well with some 10,000 ft weeks which started to cure my flat legs and allowed me to feel a bit better on the climbs. Up until then I'd struggled with any sort of incline and I found they totally ruined my momentum no matter the gradient. One way to cure it and I managed to get some Conic hill reps in in the first few weeks which definitely helped, and after even a few sessions I really noticed I wasn't gassing and fearing any incline, so all good so far. I had planned a few races, the first one being Kirky 12.5K. I purposely ran 21 road miles the day before as I wanted to run the planned races on semi tired legs. It's all part of the bigger plan, and part of my thinking was if I ran flat out for a road race, my legs would be knackered for days after it. Race day came and it was good enough to get out that early in the year with shorts, vest and no gloves. For those who haven't ran Kirky 12.5K, it packs about 500ft of climbing and these are wee up and downs the length of the route. I was really happy with how I felt in the climbs. I didn't feel amazing and I was still getting caught and passed for fun on the climbs, but I did notice I could keep a decent effort up it and then passed all those who had took me on the hills once I returned to the flatter ground. (link to run here - https://www.strava.com/activities/2136493136 )
I'm not sure on finishing position but judging it on others who I usually finish around, I done better than I had in my last few outings. I averaged 6:08s per mile, which was decent given my lack of tempo runs and I had ran no where near that pace for months. Really enjoyed the route and I'll be back next year, great fun.
I then had an average weeks training the following week, and then the week after was Glentress. I really like Glentress. It's such a tough route and a great wee tester for so early in the year. 5000ft would present a great test. I had a race 'plan' in which I would go out hard, and aim to complete the fist lap in about 1:40, and then hang on for the 2nd loop. Pretty confident in the lead up that I would smash last years time. On the day the weather conditions were awesome. Similar to last year and great underfoot. I went with the Hoka one one Speedgoats ( available here http://tidd.ly/4457e712 ) which had enough grip that I'd need and some decent cushioning which would keep me comfy the full way. The race started fairly comfy for me, and I stuck to my plan for about 3 full miles! After this I started to struggle a wee bit so I eased off and decided to take the first loop a bit easier, and hope to resurrect it in the 2nd loop. I finished loop one in about 1:51 ish, which wasn't too far away and I was confident I'd be able to put a blast in and still beat last years time.
The start of loop 2 soon sorted that though! As soon as I hit the incline I was just absolutely zapped. About 3 miles after that I started to cramp really bad. I've never cramped in a race and I certainly didn't enjoy it! I even triple dunted some high 5 gels with a Tailwind
chaser to see if that would sort it, but to no avail. The rest of the loop seen me getting passed for fun and I tried to rid the cramp out both feet, both calves, 1 hammy and then comically - my neck. So the race didn't go all that great in the end and I pimped my way to a finish that was way slower than last year. That being said, it is good to experience these problems in training races to know how to overcome them when it counts. I know now how I'll tackle this if I experience it in the future. And it turns out the race not going to plan and running way slower I could actually enjoy the route and the scenery. I don't often look about during a race as I'm too busy thinking about running, and Glentress is a good place to start, Well worth an addition to your race callender and I'll be hoping to toe the line there next year.
I then had another few weeks training which went well and I recovered quickly from Glenress. I had another race lined up which was the Balloch to Clydebank half marathon. I wouldn't have done this had it not been a local race. I just can't get into the road running just now but it was good for a wee blast. 24 miles the previous day and 4000ft climbing ensured I was starting on tired legs which was the plan. Race day was baltic!! Snow and slush flooded the route and it was an almost continual downpour of sleet and rain. Some difference to Kirky the previous month. I aimed to start about 6:25s and try and hold it the full way. The conditions underfoot were tough, but the race served it's purpose and I managed to muster a 1:24. Far from what I can do but it was what I was looking for on a wee pair of tired legs and it's always good to get a long tempo in the legs.
So a mixed bag so far, but happy with how things are going and getting some climbing in, way more than previous years. Looking forward to my next outing!