Training for Celtman 2021: August 2020

Because we’re twins it’s easy to remember Iain Twinbikerun’s birthday. It’s the same as mine! Easy!

This year I gave him a gift like no other because no other face mask has ears – or a tongue. Or make him look like a rabid collie. And this gift is special because, despite all the rules and regulation about wearing a facemark to protect people from COVID-19, he has a mask that shops will beg him to take off when he tries to go in.

I had three goals this month: one was to ride to complete a circuit of the Western Isles west coast; to swim at least one 3K swim and to run a half marathon. At time of writing I’ve completed two of them – the bike and run – but not yet the third, the swim. Although I am hoping to complete it this weekend, weather permitting.

I’m still not following any training plan other than trying to ‘do something’ five to six days a week. As September approaches and the weather starts to turn I have thought whether my ‘do something’ should morph into ‘follow a plan’ but I still think I’m too early for that. Why follow a plan when I could just be following whatever I want to do that day? If legs feel heavy, then take an easy spin indoors on the bike while watching YouTube. Feeling good, go for a longer ride outdoors. In short, this August update is more about marking process than sharing anything useful. So, in an attempt to justify this blog then I will share one thing I have found useful over the last two months:

This simple and easy flapjack recipe. And my top tip – swap the golden syrup for maple syrup.

Twinbikerun? Nah, this month it’s twinbikerunfood.

Run Every Street: Day 25 (Andrew)

Back in May I started my challenge to try and run as many streets near my house in Glasgow in one month. You can find out how I got on here. But I didn’t stop when I got to the end of May. I loved finding new streets that I’d never seen despite being only a few minutes from my front door. And I loved that I was now getting a real sense of where I lived and how neighbourhoods changed even from one side of a street to the other. So, I carried on and this is what I’ve learned 25 runs later:

  • Glasgow may be the home of world famous architect Charles Rennie McKintosh but did you know that, before he became a famous painter, MC C Escher also designed Glasgow’s streets. It must be easy to run an American city with identical blocks making it easy to navigate and criss cross. Instead Glasgow resembles an Escher painting with streets that you run for miles and miles only to find yourself back at the start and running in the opposite direction. I swear that the film Inception was filmed in Glasgow and the famous scene of Leonardo Di Caprio showing Paris fold in on itself was actually filmed in Clarkston and required no special effects at all. If you’re thinking of running every streets then pick somewhere flat and straight and ideally somewhere that doesn’t require you to navigate a maze worth of a minotaur.
  • After 10 or so runs you’re starting perimeter will expand. You will need to run for five minutes just to get to an area you’ve not already covered. By 20 runs you’re probably running a mile to get to new streets. That means two miles of your run will be spent getting to and from the streets you’re ticking off. There is no way to stop this that doesn’t involve a car. I don’t know if using a car to get to places is within the spirit of running every street. It is called ‘running every street’, not ‘getting dropped off and then running every street’. I suspect by the 30th run I will be driving though as my runs will basically consist of running to a street, then, exhausted having got there, ticking it off and then running home.
  • You do run longer than if you went out for a non ‘running every street’ run. It does give you that thought in your mind to just run another street or block or area before coming home. If you want to train for a marathon then running every street is good practice. Perhaps not good practice for an ultra-marathon though as you’ll never be able to follow a trail for 50 miles without going paranoid about passing all the tracks leading off in other directions.
  • And, finally, having reached the milestone of day 25 and having run on average 10km every run I do intend to carry on. Not just because I’m still enjoying it but because I still haven’t completed the page of my Glasgow street map showing all the streets near me.

Gyms Were Bonkers (Andrew)

Saunas and steam rooms are crazy. I’ve mentioned that before. See blog here. But gyms are no better. When I look back I can’t help thinking why I thought any of this was acceptable.

Only in a gym would you see a girl and boy swap places on a weights machine and kiss each time they stopped while shouting “Smash it, babe!”. Not just once, not just twice, but three times, which means six times as they were each doing three sets. Smash it, babe. Smooch. Smash it, babe. Smooch. Smash it…. Stop it. This is a gym, not a kissing booth.

Only in the gym would you see someone taking a selfie in the changing rooms while flexing a bicep. I don’t care how big your bicep is and how keen you are to show it to the world, can you not show them my bare bum in the background too?

Only in the gym do you pull your hood over your head even though your running on a treadmill and it keeps bouncing off your bonce every twenty seconds. Why are you even wearing a hoodie anyway? Uisean Bolt didn’t wear a hoodie to run the 100 metres. Mo Farah doesn’t shop in George for Asda for his running gear? Why are you even wearing a hoodie? And why does it have no sleeves??!?

Only in the gym is it acceptable to have an entourage. Anywhere else and it would be a group or a gang or a gathering. In the gym, the five of you hanging out at the weights rack can only be described as an entourage, which is French for wallys because all of them are wearing trackie bottoms, a sleeveless hoodie – and a cap. Which leads me to…

Only in the gym will you see someone with superglue on their head. Yes, superglue. Because it can only be superglue keeping that cap on their heads because it stays on their head even when they lie back on a bench and press 200 pounds. Why does the cap not fall off? Does working out make you immune to the universal laws of gravity?

Only in the gym can someone have an orgasm louder than Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally and no one bats an eyelid. Who knew that lowering a bar would lead to so much joy you have to scream: “Oooooooohhhh Aaaaaaaahhhhhh Ooooooooohh” like Nick The Headless Horseman at an orgy.

And, of course, there’s only one thing worse that you can see at the gym. The one thing I’m glad I can no longer see while gyms remain in lockdown – yourself in the mirror. There’s no worst sight than catching yourself halway through a rep with a face that suggests you’ve just had a stroke while being slapped red raw with an extra big kipper.

Gyms should remain shut. Or at least all mirrors should be removed from gyms before they’re allowed to re-open.

Outdoor Swim Review: Butt Of Lewis (Iain)

Is there a minimum distance I have to swim before I can say I went for a swim?

Usain Bolt does 100m and I bet he says he went for a run.

The olympics has a 50M freestyle event so I will declare that the minimum distance required. In that case, I can say I went for a swim at Port Stoth Beach. It is the most northerly beach in the Western Isles.

And the day I visited it was also the beach the beach with most Jellyfish! There was hundreds of them. I don’t know much about jellyfish other than what Andrew wrote here https://twinbikerun.com/2016/12/01/the-one-with-jellyfish-in-it/

But I do know not to mess with things I don’t know about so as soon as I spotted them I turned around and I swam back to the beach.

REVIEW

Ease of Access:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ness is 45 minutes from Stornoway. There is a parking spot beside the beach. It is a 2 minute walk from there to the sea.

Water quality:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The water quality is crustal clear and perfect for swimming (if there was no jelly fish)

Swim Quality:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Hard to tell. I didn’t swim for long enough.

Other People:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Not a soul

Would I go back: Yes. I’d like to try swimming further than 50m

Rugged Run – Carron Valley

Meikle Bin is a popular hill for runners and walkers. Understandably so because of the great views you get from the top. But its popularity means a lot of people don’t explore the other routes nearby. So, instead of following the crowds, try Cairnoch Hill.

Cairnoch Hill is a couple of miles down the road from Meikle Bin. I park here https://goo.gl/maps/AqwzhYnbHd4uFi29A and there is a gate and enough room for three cars to park.

I parked here because it’s next to the reservoir. I went for a swim straight after the run. If you do not want to swim then drive further along. There is parking at the start of the trail.

The video below will show you what the route is like. There was one off road section but it wasn’t very long. Although it was pretty wet underfoot!

VIDEO

MAPS

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Quiet, good surfaces and easy to navigate.

Parking

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Three car parking spaces next to carron valley reservoir. If you do not want to swim then you can park at the start of the trail.

Facilities

Rating: 0.5 out of 5.

None

Nearest cafe

Rating: 3 out of 5.

There is nothing close but there’s two good options a short drive away. The Fintry Inn is great for beer and hot food and on the outskirts of Fintry the Cafe in the Courtyard is great for for soup and treats.

Run Surface

95% fire road. 5% off road (through trees)

Dog Friendly

Yes – no sheep or animals spotted on route.

Elevation

338M of elevation.

How to Run 100 Miles in Seven Days – Day 7 (Iain)

There are a number of recurring themes in this blog – poor grammar from me, dull stories from Andrew and an epic quest to be the fastest Todd up the Stornoway War Memorial.

You can read about it here.

https://twinbikerun.com/2019/04/11/second-best-on-stava-andrew/

https://twinbikerun.com/2019/04/26/second-on-strava-again-andrew/

https://twinbikerun.com/2019/11/04/third-best-on-strava-iain/

https://twinbikerun.com/2019/12/22/all-i-want-for-christmas-is-strava-king-of-the-mountain-andrew/

I was the fastest until Andrew beat my record but now we are both slower than a local runner. His time looks difficult to beat.

I wasn’t going to beat that this week especially on the last run of my 100 mile week but I could do something else….I could become a LEGEND!

The Strava ‘Local Legend’ achievement is awarded to the athlete who completes a given segment the most over a rolling 90-day period regardless of pace or speed.

This is one I could win! All I had to do was run the war memorial segment enough times to get it. I also needed 8.8 miles to complete my 100. So I decided I’d run the segment again and again until I became a LEGEND!

I managed 10 times which added to a couple of others over the last 90 days put me into an unassailable position.

Andrew took the news well

101 miles done. I had to add on 1 to walk home from the War Memorial.

Overall time was 18 hours 17 minutes. Elevation was 3,324 meters.

Now time for a rest!

How to Run 100 Miles in Seven Days – Day 6 (Iain)

Run 6 complete – 11.7 miles. Only 8.8 miles to go! Single figures. Wooohoooo!

Sron Ulladale is the biggest inland cliff in the UK other than Cliff Richard.

Despite living on the island I’d never hear of the cliff until I saw a BBC show called The Great Climb Live. A five and a half hour live climbing marathon showing two climbers will attempting to climb it. The climb is tricky becasue the cliff is an overhang.

After watching the show I went down to Harris to see the cliff. It was so spectacular that I vowed to come back. That was 2010. It is now 2020. I thought I’d be back sooner but better late than never.

The weather looked bad on the drive down to Harris but I was hopeful it would clear as the morning progressed. Luckily the sun came out and I got some spectacular views on the run.

I didn’t see anyone on my run but I did hear seer stags bellowing in the valley. I thing their loud groaning is their way of saying “anyone fancy a shag?”

I ended my run with a nice dip in the sea.

I look forward to finishing but what should I do for my last run?

How to Run 100 miles in Seven Days – Day 5 (Iain)

Run 5 complete – 17 miles. Only 20.5 miles to go!

After day 4’s hard run I decided to something a bit easier. So it was back to plodding around Stornoway. No hills, no trail, no fun!

It wasn’t too bad, I ran to the nearest beach which is also one of the most scenic graveyards on the island. Which is probably not something the tourist board will mention but it should. Lewis has amazing graveyards.

But it would help if graveyards had maps. The previous time I was home I spent thirty minutes wandering about trying to find a “Mackenzie with a fancy headstone” as that was the only info mum had!!

Lewis and Harris is famous for its wildlife. I spotted a deer and a golden eagle.

Overall I’m feeling good and I’ve built in enough leeway to the distance covered so that I can do two shorter runs to finish.

How to Run 100 miles in Seven days – Day 4 (Iain)

Doing it for the gram!

Run 4 complete – 13.5 miles. Only 37.7 miles to go!

For centuries, the only way for the outside world to reach Rhenigidale on the Isle of Harris was by boat, or by a path that threads its way along the Harris coast and over a mountain pass.

The path is known as the Postman’s Path as it was the path the postman used. I mentioned in a previous blog the very mundane naming convention used by Gaelic speakers. The same is true of the English names here.

When Rhenigidale was finally connected by a road in 1989, it was claimed to be the last community to be linked up to the UK network. The cost of the road was £750,000. Which would be about £1.8 million today. I always thought it would have been cheaper to offer the few residents who lived there £100K each to leave.

The route was tough. 700m of ascent over boggy rough ground. Strava claims it took me two hours. It must not have added in all the time I stopped to take pictures of the beautiful views. It was closer to four hours!

Due to a battery fail the run was recorded in two parts but done as one. I must have been taking too many selfies. My iPhone couldn’t cope.

How to Run 100 miles in Seven Days – Day 3 (Iain)

Run 3 complete – 14.8 miles. Only 51.2 miles to go!

Each day of the challenge I try to vary the running surface. 100 miles on just one type of surface would give me a injury. A mental injury. I’d be bored out of mind.

So, for this run, I varied the surface by running on a beach. The downside to this plan is time. I would cover more miles in less time on concrete than on a beach but I wouldn’t enjoy it as much. It is a balance of fun versus miles.

I choose Traigh Mhor beach which translates in English to ‘Big Beach’ Gaelic is quite a straightforward language when it comes to naming things.

Some exampes are:

Conic Hill: Cnoc Còinnich – ‘mossy hill’

Creachan Mòr: An Creachann Mòr – ‘the great bare rocky hilltop’

Meall Reamhar: – ‘hill of large circumference’

I wasn’t sure how long a length of the beach would be but but I fancied trying to do as many lengths of it as possible until I got bored. Although if I got bored of a beach with amazing views then that means I am bored with life itself.

I manged 4 laps which was about 15 miles. I started off slow as I was tired from the previous days log concrete run. Thankfully, I felt better as the run progressed. Lap one was awful but lap four was great.

The tide was in when I started but out on the last lap which meant I could visit the caves at the end of the beach. They are only accessible at low tide.