Petestack Blog

29 April 2017

Long way to Leum Uilleim

Filed under: Running — admin @ 8:08 pm

Last time I did Leum Uilleim (yes, the ‘Trainspotting’ hill!), I took the train from Fort William to Corrour. But today I did the ‘intégrale’ from my own door…

It’s a route I’d had my eye on for years with Leum Uilleim’s bulky presence looming large in so many expeditions to the east and me liking to join all the local dots, but I’d never decided exactly where to go and was still deciding on my way round! So I took the new hydro track up to Loch Eilde Mòr, along the initially muddy path which becomes so much nicer as it climbs away from the Loch between Meall na Duibhe and Meall Beag to Meall na Cruaidhe, past the Ciaran Bothy, round the three tops of my peak, down across the foot of Coir’ a’ Bhric Mòr on a long, pathless section back to the monument, and home by the Blackwater Dam and Ciaran Path. At 21.8 miles of mostly runnable ground and easy gradients it’s not a huge outing, but still quite a meaty one where the terrain’s rarely properly ‘fast’. The short leg from Leum Uilleim’s summit to the South Top is a little more gnarly than the carefree ground before, with the highest point of this last top (approached in clag which limited my views from when I left the first summit till I was descending) apparently a kind of unmarked fin/micro ridge north of the only visible (but tiny) cairn, but the long, pathless section was (despite occasional bobbly and/or wet bits) mostly pretty decent going. Despite the exaggerated size of the Ciaran Water as mapped, all fords could be paddled at no more than ankle depth and, apart from a pair of ‘Corrour’ walkers on Beinn a’ Bhric (the West Top), I met no-one between Loch Eilde Mòr and the Blackwater Dam.

22 April 2017

What I already knew about shoes and insoles

Filed under: Running — admin @ 9:18 pm

It’s common sense really, with long experience and the generally good judgement that comes with same not providing magic immunity from the simple facts… the proper place for discarded running shoes and tired insoles is the bin, not a rack in the porch in case they still prove ‘useful’ sometime! So I’ve just spent weeks (or is that months?) squeezing a bit more ‘life’ from various shoes I’d stopped using years ago while I considered what to get next… should I be surprised that I’ve had to work round a couple of ankle/foot injury niggles? No, of course not, and, having finally got some strong, supportive, new trail shoes with good sole thickness and made up some more of the magic insoles, things are rapidly becoming clear in a what-I-already-knew kind of way!

So what did I get and why did it take me so long? Answers: Mizuno Wave Mujins and I was unsure about size. I used to take size 46.5 in the (sadly now discontinued) Wave Harriers, but necessarily moved up to 47 for the last two pairs I bought and have been carefully hoarding, having just broken out the first of those two quite recently. But I don’t want to trash the irreplaceable Harriers on runs that don’t need them (they’re basically the ‘hilliest’ shoe I still use), so still wanted something for more ‘everyday’ courses. The Mujins looked the ticket at attractive online prices, but (without being able to try on) what size? 47 because I now need a 47 Harrier, or 46.5 because an old pair of 46.5 Ascends I should have chucked long ago still fits just as well? So I ordered the 47s, had doubts, thought I’d better try the 46.5s (which came yesterday), spent some time comparing indoors then finally thought I’m committing to at least one pair of 46.5s and kicked myself out to run in them hoping I was right. And I was. So I ordered a second pair and arranged return of the 47s (not normal behaviour for me because I basically only buy online when I’m sure) when I got in, then wore them again today for a longer run to Luibeilt with spontaneous return over Glas Bheinn finishing down the steep new hydro track to test those toes. (The differences between 46.5 and 47 were quite subtle, but both felt ample in the toes where 47 seemed just that tad overlong in the heel, and I was right!) So there’s an old pair of Ascends in the bin, another old pair of something got chucked a week or two back, with two more old pairs (Hokas and Asics road shoes) due to join the Ascends out there, and the remaining niggles are already subsiding fast. But we’re not surprised, are we? Hence the subject, ‘What I already knew about shoes and insoles’!

15 April 2017

Ignore, monitor, stop!

Filed under: Running — admin @ 9:45 pm

It’s something most experienced runners probably develop a kind of sixth sense for… we all get (injury) niggles, but what matters and what doesn’t? Can I just keep running blithely on (today, tomorrow, next week), do I need to watch this or should I stop now? I’ve basically developed my own three-point scale (ignore, monitor, stop) and it’s worked for years. Of the three categories, ‘monitor’ is possibly the most interesting because ‘ignore’ and ‘stop’ are pretty clear-cut self-explanatory! Twelve days ago I followed several weeks of five-days-on, two-days-off, increased mileage with five consecutive rest days to give a front-of-ankle niggle (irritated tendon or tendon sheath?) more time to settle. So this was a classic ‘monitor’ case, which I then put to the test last Saturday on a planned 10-miler to Lairigmòr and back which somehow became a 13-mile hill run with a spontaneous diversion to ‘return’ over Mam na Gualainn and Beinn na Caillich… a change that was both tempting on a gorgeous April late afternoon and I felt justified as largely slower, more time on feet than pounding. And pleased to say it was fine, with the ankle feeling great and nothing to monitor or ignore, but then that niggle in one ankle was replaced by a different one in the other foot on a short village run the very next day. So another day off, three days on (with respectable mileage) and another rest day yesterday because I’d arranged to run with someone today and was prepared for another longer rest period afterwards if necessary. And, while I felt said niggle at times running through Glen Coe and over the Devil’s Staircase with Angus Mehan today, it actually feels better tonight than it did yesterday. So another case of play-it-by-ear, listen-to-your-body, but I’m confident it’s just ‘monitor’, not serious and can be properly dismissed by listening to said body as necessary…

Oh yes, and I enjoyed running with Angus. He’s the son of a friend, training for the Glencoe Marathon and really running on this class of rough trails for the first time, so it was great to be able to help by guiding him over ground I know well and hopefully trying to get across some useful stuff. :-)

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