Sunday, 27 April 2008

DNF fling!

As you might know, DNF means Did not finish and is a hard thing for me to write on the blog. It is particularly hard as I was having a fantastic race. Lying in 34th position, I was half way between Inversnaid and Beinglass farm feeling strong and in good spirits when disaster struck. A searing pain in my left knee made me stop. Fearing I wouldn't be able to even walk to Beinglass (where Craig was waiting) I sat for a few minutes to assess the damage. This is an area which has troubled me before, but I've not had pain like that before. After a couple of minutes and an icing in a waterfall, I managed to hobble on to Beinglass. Andy Cole (looking good) passed me after a while and once he knew I was OK carried on to record a good finish (cheers Andy). I had to weigh up my options. I could have hobbled on to Tyndrum, but why? This race was not my main focus - that's in June, so why risk any further damage by finishing? I threw the towel in at Beinglass and headed home.

There are lots of things to take from the race however.

1. Had I not been injured, I could have easily finished in a good time and actually porbably could have completed all the way to F.W as I was feeling very fot and strong.
2. I now have a much better appreciation of this part of the route for June.

1. Got a nasty injury now and worried it's not going to heal in time to let me train properly.
2. Loch Lomond is SO long!
3. Couldn't eat much on the run without feeling nausious (a new experience for me)

So now I have to rest my knee for a week and then assess the damage properly. Perhaps then a week of cycling and back into running after that. I have been thinking a lot about what I'd do if I couldn't make the June date through injury (worst case scenario). The plan B would be to push the date back and attempt a solo (but with support of course) WHW run in September after the knee gets better. Fingers crossed that won't be necessary.

Well done to all that finished. Good times I noticed from Brian, John K and Andy Cole. Well done all and thanks to Craig for driving there and back and being a great support 'team'!

Phil Robertson 03:04:00 04:39:00 06:19:00 08:26:00

Saturday, 26 April 2008

The start

Finally found the station. 30 mins til off.

4 a.m

Mission h.q. Tired but keen to get running. Craig and i have the route sorted. Off to milngavie station soon then off to twyndrum!

Friday, 25 April 2008

On the way

Heading up to glasgow for tomorrow's race. Craig doing the driving after an exhausting week at school. Good lad!

Thursday, 24 April 2008


Received some great news today in the form of a cheque for £300 - a kind charitable donation from a group of generous Collingham ladies. This means that my sponsorship target of £1000 has been well and truly smashed and I still have 7 weeks to go. So now I guess I have to think of a new target?! £1200?! £1500?! Whatever the final amount, I know that the good people at Epilepsy Action will make good use of it.



Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Last run before The Fling

Route: 5m, few hills, trail
Weather: Cracking!

Ran the last run before Saturday's race and it was good to get the legs moving. I was also keen to try out how the foot would cope after it giving me some pain this week. It was fine, although I could feel the affected muscle/tendon.

After yesterday's good news (Craig coming to provide support)I got the bad news that my school will be inspected on Monday - not sure if a 54m race is the best preparation for it, but it'll certainly take my mind of things! Lots of paperwork before I head off on Friday!

Anyway, looking forward to the run and to meeting a few other WHWRers.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Good News!

I planned to run the Highland Fling on Saturday on my own (i.e. without support). Tonight I had the brain wave that perhaps top-lad Craig (WHW support in June) might like to come up to Glasgow with me and be my support for the day.

I am delighted to say he has agreed, so I will be supported throughout. Whilst not essential for a 54m race (I have done this distance unsupported) it makes life SO much easier. It means I can take changes of tops and other items like warm food, spare vaseline etc etc. It means I can take less fluid on the first section through to Drymen and perhaps most importantly it gives Craig (who will be supporting me on the entire WHWR attempt in June) a chance to get to know the road route and the meeting places.

Really pleased at this great news - Cheers Craig!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

4m taper

Route: 4m, road, 2m uphill, 2m down.
Weather: A pleasant 8C

Yet another late run tonight as busy today. Ran my planned 4m taper run up to the bar-house and back. Enjoyed it as I hadn't actually been out the house today!

My left knee (the old problem!) is twinging a bit this week. Noticed it after taking the girls swimming earlier in the week. It doesn't feel bad but it will be good to rest it for the rest of the week (apart from a short run on Wed). Think I am over-sensitive to any niggle in the run up to the Fling.

Thanks to all those people who have sponsored me over the weekend - I'm nearing 75% of my target now.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Good taper run

Route: 9m, road and trail, hilly
Weather: light breeze, 7C

Enjoyed a nice hilly 9m run with Graham this morning. Up West Chevin Rd, then the usual tour of the Chevin amd back down the railway line.

Heres the route:

Cheers Graham!

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Late again...

Route: 4m, road and trail, hilly
Weather: drizzle, 4C

Someone asked me today how I find time to fit in the training that a race like the West Highland Way race demands. I told him that sometimes I just have to snatch a run whenever I can find the time. Like tonight for instance. Briony wasn't home until 10:45pm, so I headed out at 11:15 for a quick hilly session. I don't mind being out at that time at all (as you can see from the daft photo I took below!) I don't always feel like getting my running shoes on for these late night runs, but once I'm out I always enjoy it.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Hilly 8

Route: 8m, road and trail, hilly
Weather: light rain, 6C

Ran with Chris and Ed from the club up West Chevin Road, Windmill Hill, and up and onto the Chevin. Then ran a tour of the Chevin and Danefield.

Good hilly run at a good pace. Felt good, no problems (apart from cutting my face on a bramble bush!)

Good run.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Another Late Nighter

Route: 6m, hilly, road
Weather: 9C

Busy day today meeting Finlay for the first time :) and various other bits and pieces, so another late night run. Ran up Leeds Road to New Pool Bank, down to Pool, up Old Pool Bank and back down Leeds Road to Otley.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

5m cycle run

Route: 5m, road, flat with one hill
Weather: 9C, sunny

Ran a quick 5m with Craig (on bike) today. Good pace and quick up Old Pool Bank. Felt really good and full of energy.

Aerial Extreme

Cross Training?? Probably doesn't count really, but great fun none-the-less. Visited Aerial Extreme with Briony, Rach and Craig. Lots of climbing, swinging, jumping, free-falling and bravery! Here are a few pictures of us monkeying around:

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Short sharp 6m

Route: 6m, mainly road, flattish
Weather: 6C, heavy rain

Ran with Laura from the club along and across the golf course and back via Otley old road. Short run but good quick pace.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Early evening running

Route: 8m, road, fell, trail, hilly
Weather: 10C, light breeze

Ran early this evening after missing last night's run and having had to run late for a few runs. It's a nice time of the day to run (5.30pm) and a time I don't often get out. Enjoyed a good 8m tour of the Chevin, up the West side and down through Danefield , coming back into Otley via the farms and the old railway line.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

No run tonight

Have been suffering with a bad head all day today and feeling pretty exhausted so have decided against running tonight. It would have been another late one and I just don;t think I would have got anything out of it. Having an early night instead! Hate not running mid-week, but I think the body is definitely trying to tell me to let it rest tonight. So I am!

Monday, 7 April 2008

Late nighter

Route: 6m, road/fell
Weather: Clear, 3C (nice!)

Back to work today, so have to fit the running in where I can. Briony was away welcoming Finlay into the world, so I headed out late tonight. Ran up West Chevin Road and then Windmill Lane, turning up onto the Chevin. Along Surprise View, down to East Chevin Road up to the Car Park and down through the woods and East Chevin Road to home.

Good, strong run with no problems.


To Lisa, Varn and baby Finlay.
Finlay was born today and by the sound of it Lisa has been through more of an endurance event than most ultra runners ever will! Well done!

Meet the team!

Here are the three kind souls who'll be supporting me through the West Highland Way Race 2008. Couldn't hope to have three nicer folks to help me.
Name: Briony

Special Duties: First half support, driving from and back to Otley on minimal sleep, logistics
Name: Craig

Special Duties: Whole route support, possibly accompanying me on the 'Devil's Staircase' leg.

Name: Iain

Special Duties: Second half support, running the last leg from Kinlochleven to Fort William, preparation of special Topic and custard meal.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Aborted Wuthering Run

Decided to go for it this morning. Up and out by 5.30 and running from Hawarth at 6am. The temperature on the car thermometer read -5C in Haworth and I reckon it dipped another 4 or 5 C by the time I reached Top Withens, up on the moor. There was loads of snow and ice and running was tricky, but ok. I was enjoying the run and being out in such clear conditions, but the big problem was navigation in the snow. I'm not the world's best navigator and the snow made things really tricky. This made for slow going and by Widdup reservoir I decided to call it a day. I just couldn;t remember or work out which track to take from Widdup and I was getting very cold and making very slow progress. Not too disheartened as I had had a 20m run by the time I got back to Haworth in difficult conditions and felt like I'd had a good work out.

Things I learned:

  • Must insulate the pipe from my platypus as it was completely frozen!
  • I'm not brilliant at navigating, especially in the snow!
  • Pretzels don't enjoy being frozen!


  • I enjoyed a good 20m fell run.
  • A helly and my OMM waterproof were perfectly adequate for temps down to -10c.
  • Felt strong and full of energy throughout.

I also made a friend. He followed for ages!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Might need a plan B :(

Just looked out the window and the snow is really coming down. That's not too much of a worry for my run, but it is in terms of roads being open etc and I guess there are some safety concerns too. I therefore need a plan B. I will get up at 5a.m and if there is thick lying snow, I will abort my Wuthering Hike pland and run a local 30m route. If the weather looks to be reasonable, then I'll go for it.

Saw this little ditty today...

"Life's short - make fun of it!"

And it made me smile :)

Training on the Wuthering Hike

I have planned to run a 30 mile long run tomorrow and I am thinking about running the route of last month's Wuthering Hike. I have emailed the race organiser to check that the whole route is publicly accessible all the time. My only concerns are:

  • Weather. It's forecast to be 2C and heavy snow showers tomorrow.
  • Route. Easy enough to find when there are 200 other folk out there shuffling along, but on my own in bad weather??
  • Nutrition. There are a number of checkpoints which provide food and drink along the race route. These obviously won't be available on a training run.

These 'glitches' can be overcome however. There's no such thing as bad weather only unsuitable clothing. I know the forecast, sol I can deal with that. I have done the race twice now so should be able to find the route ok. I have a map and a compass! I could leave a drop bag at the half way point containing food, fluid and warm dry clothes/change of shoes.

Think I might go for it.

Fluid loss test

Tried to work out my rate of fluid loss today (or put less nicely, my 'sweat rate'!)

I weighed myself before exercise and was 164.4lb (74.57kg)

I then exercised for exactly one hour over a hilly multi-terrain course at a reasonable intensity.

I removed running gear and dried myself and weighed in at 162.2lb (73.57kg)

There was therefore a fluid loss of 2.2lb or just about exactly 1kg.

This means that I should be aiming to take on board 35.2 ounces of fluid or just over 1 litre of water for every hour's running.

Current thinking seems to suggest that runners are guided by thirst rather than some pre-conceived idea of their sweat loss, however it is good to have an idea of roughly how much fluid I should be looking to have available/take on during the various legs of the WHWR.

What I have learned:
  • During cool weather, carrying a 1.5kg backpack, over a hilly multi-terrain course, excercising at a reasonable intensity, my fluid-loss rate is roughly 1 litre per hour.

The run itself was fun - Chevin run with one cracking hailstorm - ouch!

I will repeat this test during warmer weather to see what difference that makes, and also repeat it running at a much lesser intensity (nearer to race pace for the WHWR).

Friday, 4 April 2008

Sweat rate

I have been reading the medical guidelines sent through by Dario and have come to the conclusion that I have no idea how much I sweat. It is apparently very important to know your sweat rate and it is strongly advised (if not compulsory) to weigh myself during the WHW event in June (to check I am not over-dehydrayed). Race medical guidelines state that runners should be guided primarily by thirst, but I think as always a balance is the optimal approach. I will be guided by thirst to some extent, but a knowlege of my sweat rate will help me to make sure I a) have enough liquid for each stage of the event and b) that I am taking somewhere in the right region of liquid on board.

I came across this article on the web which seems quite useful in determining a person's sweat rate:

Step 1: Weigh yourself before you walk, bike, jog, run, hike, Rollerblade,
play basketball, soccer or work in the garden. For example, let's say you weigh
154 pounds before you start exercising.

Step 2: Exercise for one hour in the weather conditions and at the same
workout intensity you expect to face for an upcoming run, game or special

Step 3: After your workout, remove your perspiration-filled workout clothes.
Dry yourself thoroughly. Weigh yourself again. For example, let's say you weigh
150 pounds after your workout.

Step 4: To calculate your sweat rate per hour of exercise, subtract your
ending exercise weight of 150 pounds from your beginning weight of 154 pounds.
The difference of 4 pounds represents your fluid loss during exercise.Since you
should drink 16 ounces of fluid for every pound of fluid you sweat out during
exercise, multiply the number of pounds lost by 16. In this example, you should
drink 64 ounces of fluid to counteract the symptoms of dehydration and return
your body weight to normal.

Step 5: If you drank any fluid during your 60 minutes of exercise, you'll
need to add that number to the total amount of fluid lost during exercise that
you calculated in Step 4.

Here's another way you can use the information. Once you know your personal
sweat rate per hour, you can incorporate fluid breaks in your training so that
every 15 or 20 minutes you consume 10 to 12 ounces of fluid.

So tomorrow I am going to try this out by running at roughly my race pace over multi-terrain for one hour. The weather is set to be chilly over the weekend so that will obviously affect the results but it is a good cool weather guideline. I will repeat the test when/if we get some warmer weather!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

club run

Route: 7m, trail, field
Weather: 7C, light breeze

Good off-road run with a couple of club members. Nights are staying light for longer now so no need for headtorches on these runs any more.

Good fast run with no problems.

Just watching a documentary on Alain Robert, the awesome French urban free-climber. I find his amazing 'live life' philosophy inspiring, if a little unnerving!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Last diy run

Route: 10m, hilly, road and trail
Weather: 8C
Went for a 6 mile walk with the family today (walking is SO tiring!!) and was totally exhausted when we got back. Briony came up with the 'good' idea that it would be an ideal opportunity to test running while tired again.
Needed a few last things to finish off the Easter DIY so used the opportunity to combine the two. Headed up West Chevin Road to Guiseley then back via the top of the Chevin. Felt fine once I was running and didn't have any problems. As I was running, I was thinking about the odd selection of items in my backpack: A wire brush, a tin of metal paint, an assortment of batteries and a cat flap!!
Not a bad route to the DIY shop I suppose:

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Club run

Route: 5m, trail and road, hilly
Weather: windy, 7C

Ran with the club tonight. Set off with a fast pair, but it wasn't long before fatigue from Sunday night's long run kicked in and forced me to wave them on and carry on at my own pace. Ran about 5m. Not too bothered really as I have been training fairly hard over the last few weeks.

Midgie Nets

Just purchased two of these beauties from for my support team who will be spending many hours standing around in potentially midgie infested terrain! The question is, will they look as good as this?:

Highland Fling Prep

Just got the briefing through for the Fling (first half of the WHW). Nice early start (0600) which means I should be in by late afternoon, all things going well of course. There is a bus laid on for 1800 which is perfect. Back into Glasgow for 1930ish and then across to East Linton to stay at Iain's (support team for the WHWR) overnight. Think I can cope with the 1.5hrs across to his, but certainly couldn't manage all the way down to Otley on the Saturday.

Now just need somewhere to stop on the Friday night in Glasgow. Will trawl the internet right now!

Booked a room at the Premier Inn, Milngavie. Somewhere to lay my head.