How to Run 100 Miles in Seven Days – Day 1 (Iain)

Run 1 complete – 16 miles. Only 84 to go!

To run 100 miles in a week I have to average 14.3 miles a day. Just over a half marathon length. I normally only run three or four half marathons a year so its a big ask to do seven in seven days.

My plan is to get some runs longer than 14.2 miles in at the start so I bank up some spare miles in case I need an easy day.

The Start

I started the run at 0730. I didn’t set off with a distance in mind. I also didn’t set off with any food, drink or my GPS watch! D’oh!

In my defense I had initially planned a run loop thinking I’d return to my car every few miles. But I didn’t stick to my plan! Double D’OH!

I decided to use a my patent pending running technique that always makes long runs easier – I call it the distraction technique! if I don’t have to think too much about running then I run better.

So I decided to give my self the challenge/distraction of videoing my run. This meant I was always thinking about

a) Why is it so difficult to talk to a camera when nobody else is there

b) Why is it even harder to talk to a camera when someone else is there

I think its fair to say talking to a camera is not a skill I possess. It will be interesting to see whether I get better at it as the week progresses.

I also had to set up my camera to record the run as it was taking place. This mean I would occasionally run, set up a camera, run away from the camera to get a running shot and then have to run all the way back to retrieve my camera.

No wonder Michael Palin does all his travel shows with someone else doing all the camera work! It is hard work!

I then had to run back and get my camera

I felt good on the run. The distraction technique meant my pace was slow and easy due to frequent stops to film. Which should mean I’m good to run again tomorrow.

The weather wasn’t great but it is Scotland in summer. Rain is guaranteed!

Why does it always rain on me?

The highlight of the run was spotting the stone painted to look like a rabbit. It is so good I thought at first it was a real rabbit.

Tomorrow the aim is to a similar distance but all on concrete. I’ll try to run as many streets in Stornoway as I can.

The route

My First (Serious) Injury (Andrew)

I knew it was bad when I started to cry. Not in a sad type way. More in a “AAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH FLLLLIIIIIIPPPPPPPIINNNNGGGG NOOORRRAAA!” type way.

I was playing football and I knew as soon as I tried to tackle another player that they had a foot made of concrete and I had a foot made of napkins: strong enough to pick up pasta, not strong enough to build a house. There was only going to be one winner. I swung. He swung. He went right through me and I fell. I didn’t get up for three days.

When I hit the ground I snapped a tendon in my ankle. I tried to stand, I tried to hobble. I even tried to carry on “It’s alright, I’m okay!” but I quickly realised that you can’t play fives while hopping on one foot.

Someone drove me home while the game continued but as I didn’t have keys or my phone I was left standing outside my flat with no means to get in because I’d forgotten to bring my bag home with me. D’oh!

I then had to hop to my girlfriend (now wife) and hope that she was in.

I’m not sure what I looked like. Trainers, shorts, one legged and bawling but I do know that I saw no one on the way there. The same way that a charging lion doesn’t tend to see anyone because all the antelopes run away when they hear it roar. Hop. AAAAAARRRGGH. Hop. AAAAARRGGH. Hop.

That night I tried to sleep but I couldn’t even lay a blanket on my foot as the weight of even a silk sheet was like an elephant jumping on my foot.

“I think I need to go to the hospital,” I said.

“You think,” said the now Mrs TwinBikeRun, looking very haggard after a night of failing to sleep because I kept screaming.

At the hospital a doctor confirmed I’d snapped an ankle.

“But I’ve got some good news,” he said.

“Really?”

“Yes, you’re in luck, we’ve just had an orthopaedic boot returned so you won’t need crutches, instead you can wear a massive plastic welly with no toes that’s impossible to keep your feet dry when it rains and it makes it look like you’re doing a good impression of Robocop’s leg”

(Not his exact words, but that’s what he meant).

He then took out the boot.

“That looks like a moonboot,” I said, trying to convince myself that it would be cool to be an astronaught and that my return to work would see me being asked:

“How did you get injured.”

And I’d say: “Injured? Me? No, I’m off to the moon!”

But all the doctor said was: “A moonboot? Don’t be daft. It’s a surgical shoe.”

Trust a doctor to ruin things by naming it correctly. Just like they spoil that innocent headache you’ve had for three weeks by calling it a brain tumour. The spoilsports.

That’s why most runners don’t go to see the doctor when they’re injured. They’ll only tell you that you’re injured and that you have to stop running. And no one wants to be told that. Instead, if you don’t go to the doctor, you’ll never be injured…. unless someone snaps your ligament. Then definitely go and see a doctor.

How to Run 100 Miles in Seven Days – Part 1 (Iain)

It is 110 days since I last went to a shop. Now that lockdown restrictions have eased, and shop are allowed to open, I promise that I will wear a mask and only shop for absolutely essential purchases. Fudge donuts are essential purchases? Right?

The donut was a celebratory donut to as I’m on vacation. I haven’t had a week off since September 2019.

Normally, I would have a break at Christmas but my Dad took ill just before I was due home. I spent the holiday season in the Western Isles hospital. Which wasn’t too bad as they do delicious, cheap food there. One of the best places to eat on the island. So, at least I’d look forward to the food even if the reason for the visit wasn’t as jolly.

My dad is now in a care home in Lewis. He went in the week before lockdown began. Which means both he and I have both being locked up against our will. Thankfully we have both come round to it and we’ve tried to make the best of a bad situation.

Last week he told me he has a Tardis in his care home. Which is impressive, I didn’t think he even had a television. He say’s it takes him from Stornoway to Glasgow in seconds but its a bit small so he’s not allowed luggage.

I blame Tory cutbacks for care homes not being able to afford a decent sized Tardis.

He also mentioned that a Tardis is quite expensive so we won’t be getting one at home.

It took a few days before I worked out what he was doing. He was confusing the care home elevator with a Tardis. The care home is on two floors. He is on the second floor. He thinks his room is in Glasgow but when he comes downstairs and see’s my mum he remembers he is in Stornoway.

I could be wrong. It could be that my dad is Dr Who.

I’m heading up to see him this week and one of my aims whilst I’m there is to try and run 100 miles in 7 days.

For no reason other than – I’m not sure I can.

I haven’t worked out a plan yet. I’ll think about that when I get there.

Outdoor Swim Review: White Loch (Andrew)

I’ve never been to Egypt but I know that if I go to Cairo then there will be pyramids everywhere. And a sphinx. But mostly pyramids because when I look at photos of Egypt that’s all I see: pointy buildings nestled in golden sands.

But if I did go to Cairo I know that what I would actually see are the MacDonald restaurants, KFC and tourist tat shops that surround the small handful of pyramids that look like they’ve been plonked in the middle of dirty quarry. The reality is very different from the image. Just like wild swimming.

Wild swimming can look fantastic when viewed on Instagram or on Facebook posts of happy smiling swimmers in beautiful locations around Scotland . The reality can be very different – as we found out on Saturday.

We were trying a new loch – the White Loch, just outside Newton Mearns and on the way to Stewarton. I’d passed it a couple of days previously and saw people swimming in it. I’d shouted over:

“Is it good to swim here?”

Yes, they said, but they jokingly added that “You can only swim here if you know us!”

“Well, I do now” I said!

So, with my membership of the secret White Loch swim club confirmed we returned on Saturday only to find…

RAIN! RAIN! RAIN! AND RAIN!

After huddling under the open boot of my car while trying to get changed, I sheltered in Iain TwinBikeRun’s car while we waited for the rain to pass. Which might seem strange? Why wait for rain to pass when going for a swim? We were getting wet anyway, dodging rain wouldn’t make us any less wet than a deep water loch. But I didn’t want to be wet when I tried to dry off and get changed afterwards. There’s no point driving home cold and wet. So, we waited for a clear patch.

After 20 minutes, we had 10 minutes of sunshine – the photo above shows the blue sky – and we had a very quick dip and a promise to return to try it out more fully as the car park is beside the entrance, the loch has a shallow entrance and a nice beds of flat reeds to protect your feet from rocks as you enter. Almost perfect. Except for the rain.

So, while the top photo may show sunshine like an Egyptian desert, the reality was that this swim was a bust and more time was spent struggling at the side of the road to get changed into and then out of a wet suit then actually swimming in the loch.

Glamorous Wild Swimming

Location

Google maps: Location

Parking

There’s a couple of parking spaces on the road beside the loch.

Water

Around 14 degrees on Saturday. Choppy with strong winds but it looked like this would be a great spot if the weather is good.

The Yellow Todd (Andrew)

This week it struck me, that with no competitions taking place, I’m still officially the ‘Yellow Todd’.

I have to admit that I’m not sure about the title of ‘Yellow Todd’, it either sounds like I have a serious liver problem, or I ran away from the convoy when the injuns came to town in an old fashioned western movie.

Who’s that at the bar by himself?”

That be Yellow Todd, a craven and a coward!

But since neither Iain or I speak French, officially, as both of us achieved the lowest possible mark it was possible to achieve at secondary school French, a mark so low that my teacher’s main criticism was: “You couldn’t even pronounce the English words right,” Yellow Todd it is, and not the more exotic sounding Jaune Todd (as per the Maillet Jaune or yellow jersey).

(Though Jaune Todd, does sound like John Todd and John is the English version of Iain, so perhaps it’s with some irony that I will talk about the Todd Championships and a jersey that’s named after Iain but one he rarely wins.)

Competition is important. It started in school with the rather healthier competition of academic achievement. Who could win the most prizes at the end of year prize giving?

One year, I won two – English and Technical Studies. Afterwards, walking along a corridor, a teacher stopped me and said “Congratulations on your award.”

Awards,” I said, holding up two certificates because I won the English prize and he’d used the singular “award” when clearly he’d meant to use the plural.

I don’t remember Iain winning any awards – but who remembers losers? I bet James Cameron, after winning umpteen Oscars for Titanic, couldn’t name another nominee. He didn’t need to. He was king of the world.

Our sporting rivalry didn’t start until university. Iain played squash because he went to Edinburgh and that was the kind of thing you did in Edinburgh while waiting for your turn on the real tennis court or, when you couldn’t play croquet on the lawn. 

We had two squash courts in Stornoway, both in a single building with a shared balcony where people could watch. As the balcony stretched across both courts it meant that anything said on one court could be heard on the other. Which was okay, for the first five minutes. And then Iain would claim a ball was out, or below the line or I’d blocked his shot or any of many other minor rules he claimed I’d broken. After 10 minutes, he would introduce a some random swear words to emphasise how strongly he felt about me breaking the rules. Then I’d introduce a few more, then voices would rise, racquets would be gripped with white knuckles and then next disputed point would lead to shouting so loud you could hear it on the mainland and not just the balcony or the court next door. After a few months we had to abandon our games after one angry father barged onto the court and told us exactly what he thought about our language and the words his two young sons could hear. An argument which was validly made but undermined by him teaching us a few more swearwords too as told us exactly where we could stick our squash rackets.

Either way the Todd Championships were born and every year we race for a symbolic yellow jersey given to the Todd with the most victories over the year. And, since I hold the jersey from last year, with no events, I’m still the Yellow Todd.

Outdoor Swim Review: Bayble Beach, Isle of Lewis (Iain)

I watched the Gaelic news and discovered there is a Gaelic pronunciation of “coronavirus” – it is “coróinvíreas.” But they haven’t changed “self-isolate” they pronounce it as “self-isolate.” it is surprising nobody has invented that Gaelic term as there is nothing more self isolating than a wet and windy day in Lewis.

My first school in Lewis was Point Primary. I don’t remember much about it as I was only there for a year before moving to the larger Primary in Stornoway.

Babyle beach is just along the road from my first School.

The School had been knocked down and replaced by a new building so I wasn’t able to see anything that would jog my memory about my time there.

It was whilst living down here that Andrew and I got two sheep as pets. They were called Donald and Shona.

A sheep is not a particularly good pet. It does not respond to commands. Donald would not fetch, sit or wait. He would only eat grass and baa’d occasionally. Shona was no better. She never once responded to her name and showed complete indifference to us as owners.

One day we came home and the sheep were gone. Mum said they ‘d gone to a better place where they’d be happier. In later life she admitted the better place was my uncles’ belly! He chopped them up to eat them.

REVIEW

Ease of Access: There is a car park next to the beach (by the pier)

Water quality: The water was clear and I could see a good distance under the water.

Swim Quality: 12.3C in June. You can swim from one beach to another just a few hundred meters away along the coast. The Pier blocks the worst of the waves. It was flat calm during my visit.

Other People: There was one couple sitting on the beach having their breakfast. Which was impressive as it wasn’t that warm a day and there was light rain.

Would I go back: Yes. Nice spot for a swim and easy to access.

Outdoor Swim Review – Loch Ard (Andrew)

Good news last week as the UK Government announced that it had found a medicine which would help treat some of the most serious CoVid-19 cases. However, if they want to know what medicine will actually defeat it then I have the answer: a peloton.

Admittedly, this is based on my limited research carried out in the Aberfoyle car park but, given the number of cycling clubs meeting there who were all wearing their club jerseys and failing to socially distance, then a peloton is clearly been seen as an effective way to not catch the virus. Either that or the Octomum’s eight kids have all met in Aberfoyle as one household to climb the Duke’s Pass and pop over to the paddle steamer on Loch Katrine. But if it wasn’t one household then it may be that the cycle club’s are CovIdiots. Definitely one of these. Either way, it’s still better than Donald Trump’s favourite medicine: a spoonful of Domestos.

We didn’t stop at the Aberfoyle car park though and carried a couple more miles to Kinlochard, a small village at the western end of Loch Ard. Normally there’s a small car park open here beside the village hall. But, with parking restrictions in place, and signs asking visitors to not park on the road, we found a couple of open car parking spots on the northern bank instead.

There’s only a handful of parking spots right beside where we swam but there’s another larger spot two minutes walk along the road. Both are open and isolated from any houses.

What was the water like?

Nice and clear and the bay itself is only a few metres deep, if you follow the shore, and it’s sheltered from the wind. The western bank has a lot of geese so I’d stay away from that because it is… honking. <groan>. But normally I’d stay away from birds because (a) they might attack; and (b) they will almost certainly be doing to the water what bears do to the woods.

On Saturday the water was a very pleasant 20 degrees and I’m told (but haven’t confirmed as I’ve not swum here before) that the loch keeps it’s temperature well throughout the year. Hopefully, with Covid moving in the right direction, I’ll continue to get the chance to test that out.

Anything else to know? It’s a popular spot for fishermen, kayakers and other swimmers (we saw three while were there) so remember a tow float so that you’re visible when you’re in the water.

And, as always, don’t swim alone!

Toddman 2020 (Iain)

Peat & Diesel – Stornoway

In a previous post https://twinbikerun.com/2020/06/18/toddman-2020-andrew/ Andrew claims he won the inaugural Toddman extreme triathlon.

THIS IS FAKE NEWS!!! HE DID NOT WIN!!

If Usain Bolt ran the wrong way around the track during the 100m race would he be Olympic champion? No, he would be disqualified. He has to follow the rules of the race and run the same way as everyone else.

If Mike Tyson knocked out the ref instead of his opponent during a heavyweight boxing match would he be the heavyweight boxer of the world? No, he would be disqualified. He has to follow the rules of the fight and only punch his opponent.

If Donald Trump rigged the US election would he be US President? Ummm…not all rule breaker get the punishment they deserve.

Andrew is the Trump of Toddman. The rule was very clear. To win he had to touch the “iconic gate” at Todholes car park.

This is the iconic gate from The Barkley Marathons

This is the gate at Todholes car park

Look at how iconic this gate is. It is green. Green is an iconic color. Tom Jones sung about the “green, green grass of home”, Glasgow Celtic wear green, the Grinch is green! It even looks like the iconic Barkley marathon gate. You couldn’t get a more iconic looking gate.

You probably didn’t even notice the one next to it because it is so un-iconic and boring. That is what @AndyRTodd touched. The fool!

I will see him in court!

Never a Toddman. Always a fraud.

The Toddman jersey will be mine.

Toddman 2020 (Andrew)

52 weeks to Celtman.

Last Saturday should have been Celtman 2020 however with social distancing still in effect and organised triathlons still banned by Triathlon Scotland it was the right call two months ago to postpone it for a year. But that didn’t mean we couldn’t race…

In order to comply with the both the letter and the spirit of the law we chose to race using Iain TwinBikeRun’s house as a transition. We could start at Carron Valley Reservoir, cycle around the Campsies to Iain’s house, then run back over the Campsies to get back to the start. The finish line would be the car park to Meikle Bin with a gate and a sign that said Todholes (for the nearby Todholes Farm).

In order to make it CoVid compliant I would travel to another household, Iain’s, and that would mean only Todd’s can take part. So, instead of Celtman we had TODDMAN!

Now, while it’s not really the time for winners and losers. Everyone is a winner no matter what they do during this endless lockdown. It’s also right to say that the history books did record an actual winner. Me.

It was close. If you’ve ever read or watched documentaries about the legendary Iron War between Dave Scott and Mark Allan as they battled to become the iron man world champion in 1989 then you will know what ToddMan was like, toe to toe except this was even closer. A race for the ages.

While Dave Scott and Mark Allan were never more than a couple of metres apart for hours of swimming, cycling and running. We were side by side (two metres apart) for the whole race except for final 20 meters when I saw the car park and sprinted to the finish line and Iain saw the car park and said “car park” and forgot to run. Winners act, losers state the bleedin’ obvious.

Now, while I know that there is some controversy to my finish as the winner had to touch a gate to finish, no one said which gate. And I touched ‘a gate’, if not ‘the gate’ Iain meant when he came up with the finish line. But, just as Iain said “car park” instead of running, he also said “gate” without naming which one to touch. The fool.

So, after the disappointment of Celtman not happening, I am at least proud to say that this year’s training did not go to waste because I am the inaugural winner of the first ever Toddman. Championnneeee!

Outdoor Swim Review: Lake Of Montieth (Iain)

The name Lake of Menteith is a mistake by a cartographer. It was originally called Laich o Menteith, where “laich” simply means “low place”.

Which is very apt because when I went the water was very low.

It is not the only lake in Scotland (as I thought) there are also lakes in Fife (Raith Lake) and Sutherland (Lake Louise)

I took advantage of some nice weather to pay a visit to the lake. I wasn’t the only one with that idea. the place was mobbed. Finding somewhere to park was very difficult but luckily I managed to get a spot close enough to walk to the water easily.

The water level was low and I could easily walk out 30m without going under. There wasn’t anyone else swimming but there was a number of boats and fishermen about.

REVIEW

Ease of Access: There is a car park on the B road by the east of the lake. It is currently closed due to lockdown (June 2020) but may by open when you are reading this.

Water quality: The water was low and the lake is shallow. I’d check carefully for blue green algae before swimming. It was fine in early summer when I visited but I prefer deeper water to be safe.

Swim Quality: Hot! 20C in the water. I could have had a bath in it.

Other People: Fishermen and some kayakers. It seemed a popular busy place. I prefer quieter spots.

Would I go back: No. It was fine for a one off swim but I would only go back if I was passing by for another reason (ie post biking or running)