Friday, 8 January 2010

Review >June

June was spent running a lot in the Pentland hills, i've lived next to the pentlands my entire life and we used to go up there in summer holidays and spent day there, but that was last time i'd been there. Gavin & Harmeny pentland runners soon had me running there every weekend, truly brilliant. Loved every minute.

Good preparation it would seem for my forthcoming support role for Jen in WHW race

Now here's where it *will* get long winded and i'm doing a copy n paste again as it is *very* long and reading it back made me all emotional all over again.

It started for me when i finished work. Plan was to get 3.30 train to Weej then get picked up at 4.20 but i wanted to get there earlyish for less faffage. GOt 2.30 train which got me there for 3.30, went straight to bar and got large glasswine, it had been a long week, i needed it. Got call to say i'd get picked up in Milngavie instead of Queen st due to influx of take that fans heading to Weej for concert so off i went to get ticket. Train not for another 30 mins so popped into bar for vodka. Train to Milngavie, hopped off and into Jen, Sioux and Hendos arms, this theme was to continue to the bitter(sweet)end
Got to car and made plans for supermarket shop, as we were heading out carpark Hendo suddenly shouted *there's LoonDod* car was stopped in midle of road, and all of us jumped out and into his arms (theme, end etc) The car was abandoned literally in middle of road with all 4 door left wide open, lol.Cars were so not impressed trying to get past, it was only when a double decker promised to rip off the car doors that Sioux jumped in and moved it. After bit of chat we left LD to ponder about moving the Bongo or leave it where it was and we headed off to shops.
Shopping done, coolbox packed and it was time to head to our headquarters aka The Highland gate Beefeater pub. We bagged a big table and ordered tea, coffee and coke. It was here that i unveiled the Tshirts i'd got done for Team Jen.
Jen knew nothing about this and cried,this was theme that was to continue to bitter (sweet) end. Race was discussed, we looked at all the laminated stuff we had, our checkpoint details etc, it was all very regimented and thought out. Food was ordered and we all ate heartily thanks to Hendo (thanks) and before long Tpot arrived and TeamJen was complete at last. Parts of team Lintie & Team Loondod arrived to join us for a drink, when i say parts, i dont mean, one arm, one leg, i mean not *all* of them were there. More hugs, and several drinks later( me wine, LD guiness, Flip Beer, everyone else soft drinks) and team L & LD headed off into sunset.
Quick change in TeamJen HQ toilets and i was in clothes that would stay on me until sunday aftenoon. WE all jumped in car and headed off to Milngavie car park (again) THis was very surreal, similar to Highland fling but that was 5am, this was 12pm on a Friday night and car pakr was full to bursting full of cars, campervans and winebagos. Full of excited chatter and you could almost feel the tension and excitement in the air. As Jen & Hendo headed off for pre race briefing,rest of crew *jenned up* the sunshine bus, aka Siouxsies car aka Jenmobile
Before too long it was 12.50am and we all headed over to start, hugs aplenty to Jen, LD & Lintie, and we watched in awe as they headed off an a solo journey that would take us all with them. I cried. theme, end etc
TeamJen was fired up and ready to go, so plan was to go to Beechtree Inn and wave, cheer and clap (quietly. it was 1.30am & next to an Inn) As we looked down in the darkness, we saw a tiny trail of lights approaching slowly, what an awesome sight it was was an excitement grew. The excitemnt soon stopped when we realised we'd all hopped out car without our midgie nets, the midgies didn't forget to let us know that's for sure. Dived back into car and Tpod got Jens wind up torch whilst we got midgienetted up, this caused mucho hilarity and i was bent double laughing at some points for next half hour or so. We saw Jen come through which was fab and she was happy bunny. Time to head to first checkpoint and try and catch wee it of sleep before jen arrived.
Uh oh, Houston we have a problem. We had a travel kettle which we decided to test out whilst at beech tree, every so often we'd pop back to car to check on it's progress, there *was* no progress, it was crappest travel kettle in word we decided and when we jumped back int Jenmobile, we all agree that a ceromonial stamping of kettle was called for once we reached rowarden(first checkpoint) Sioux put key in ignition, the car did'nt start. Haha , very funny Sioux, joke over, it's 2.30 am, lets head off now. Errrm, no joke. The car would not start. Sudden realisation off the kettle situation and sudden horror of realising the kettle had drained the battery. completely.
Out car and before long we had people offerring to push until it fired into action. Cue 8 of us pushing car around carpark at 2.30am , to no avail, back and forth, down hill. nothing. Then the angel Gabriel appeared, wearing a hi vis jacket and a midgie net with *marshall* on it (clearly to hide his wings).Whilst waiting on Gabriel to sort out a support car to appear from nowhere, to get us in middle of nowhere to jump start the car, we swung into proper srs support crew mode and made 3 sets of aternative arrangements in case Gabriel and his fellow angels couldn't sort us. They were soon binned as a chariot flew the the air carrying jump leads. The car was working, hallelujiah, yeee who have little faith, rejoice! We thanked Gabrielle, and his fellow Angel and all jumped into the happily purring Jenmobile to head to Balmaha.......
******
Next stop Balmaha, we got there parked up and i got my only proper sleep of the weekend. I snuggled into sleeping bag and pulled hat over my eyes and promptly crashed out for about an hour.Woke up to find Hendo & Tpot sitting outside on the seats drinking coffee with Flip daylight had broken whilst i was asleep.As i looked around the car park it was clear themidgies were out in force, all we could see were big black or green heads, it was a most bizarre scene! GOt semi organised and runners starting appearing. Was in car when Jen arrived barking orders at everyone, water, drugs, midgie spray, give it to me. LOL
We got Jen sorted quick sharp and she was looking great, she didn't stop long and before we knew it she was off again, Jenmobile was packed back up goodbyes said to team Lintie and off we set off for Rowardennan ( i may get mixed up with checkpoints and stops, if i do, sue me, what can i say, i was sleep deprived)
The drive there was stunning, the stop over point even more stunning, i was getting running commentry from Hendo & Siouxsie bout Highland fling route in prep for next years race, i think it brought back good/painful memories for them. Loch Lomond takes your breath away.
I decided to run out and find Jen then run back in ahead so we could have exactly what she wanted ready, and not be caught on hop like last time. Met Lintie as i ran out, gave her hug and she said Jen was about 10 mins behind. Headed into Forest and up some hills til i found her,think she was surpised to find me in middle of forest at 6am or whatver time it was! lol I got my instructions and took off ahead, got back to car and shouted everything out that needed done, so by time Jen arrived we had it all ready, even had spoon in muller rice ready to eat.
We were getting the hang of this support crew stuff. Jen was 25mins ahead of schedule at this point and was looking good...
******
Next checkpoint is long way away, we dont get to see Jen now til Auchentyre Farm. We decide team Jen needs food and head into Tyndrum for eat all you can breakfast. More surreality (is that a word?) as we all were convinced it was mid afternoon. Fabulous breakfast was enjoyed alongside great company of Flip & Ultracat aka bits of Team Lintie.
Then it was off to Auchentyre Farm, what a lovely place that is. Nice toilets, smell clean! Showers, kitchens, great wee shop, wigwams..just lovely. Ultracat bought me best cup of tea ever and we all just chilled out generally. Just as Hendo & Sioux were unloadng stuff out car to go have a wash my phone jumped into life (signal was very random!) it was Jen, it said simply *carmyle cottage please*
omg omg. All 4 of us jumped into action, Hendo drove like Jenson Button back up road to Carmyle cottage, me & Sioux were left shaking in back of car with our eyes closed. GOt to CC to find Jen sitting in chair beside marshalls, she'd literally just got there *phew*
She was pooped and needed a lie down, this is where the pic of Jenmobile was taken, see Jens feet sticking out window.
We fed her, we rested her, and she was off again ,next stop back at lovely farm. Got back there to try and rest and was rudely awoken by Llamadance and mini Llamas, he was there as part of Team Loon Dod. One minute i was talknig to Llama, then his phone goes, i turned round and he was gone, it was at this precise moment that LD himslef came running through, i high fived him and cheered, he said *whurs ma crew?* i said, errm, no idea sorry! He wasn;t bothered hesaid he wasn't stopping! Loon indeedly! Ths was where i saw the lovely HappyG and equally lovely JulesR for first time that day.
Tpod ran out to meet jen and run in with her as i got geared up and ready to run for first time with Jen. My plan was stay a wee bit ahead of her all time as i know she doesn't really like running with anyone, and Tpot had already told me what she' d said to him before when he dared run alongside her! We got through to Tyndrum fairly quickly, it was 2nd time i'd been on that route, last time was supporting Siouxsie in last stages of the fling.
Got to Tyndrum and Jen wanted to be alone again, this was all part of the plan though. So it was back in car for me as we waved Jen off after quick refueliing for her.
******
It seemed very far. Bridge of Orchy, next stop. 60miles in. eep. Waiting at bridge of orchy when an amzing guy comes in who we've seen many times during the course of the day/night. He has one arm, and one leg. srsly. too amazing.
Txt from jen, can someone meet her with water she is half a mile away, i grab water and take a run for the steep hill,meet jen at top, she looks relieved. I get more instructions as to what she wants on arrival at checkpoint and i take off like a loony down the hill and we're ready to rock n roll when Jen arrives.
Tpod is running next 3 miles with Jen, another favourite part but she wants to share it with her someone special.
They come flying off hill looking very happy indeed, Tpod rejoins us and Jen runs off into the distance heading to Rannoch Moor,be another 3 hrs before we see her again. We arrive at bottom of glencoe and i go try and sleep for wee while, to no avail. my stage next, Marshalls have warned us of bad weather, i start to feel a tad nervous, ok a lot nervous!
Team Lintie is also at Glencoe, it's great that we're all seeing each other so much, it's like having 3 support teams, this race is special, truly. Lintie comes flying in with HappyG, i go over to hug her and she asks *me* if i'm ok! lollers, tbf, i looked bad, i'd just got out car after failed sleep and was wrapped up in a blankie
We see off Lintie & Ultracat and headd off to Hotel for some much needed warmth and much needed drink. I had tea, then i had a glass of wine, i needed it for what lay ahead, trust me. We werent meant to meet jen at bottom of Glencoe but we got txt asking us to go there so we all hopped back in and headed back up, Tpot ran back down to hotel with her, Jen was very very tired at this point, we were all more than a bit concerned about what lay ahead through the night.
It was now dark, cold and windy, but thankfully dry. I put as many clothes on as i can find, i've never ran in the dark before, well clearly i have, in Edinburgh and whatnot, I've never ran in the pitch dark before, up a mountain, in the middle of the night.
I'm scared, srsly. Luckily Tpod is also running with us,3 of us, 2 headtorches, what lay ahead was a long long night....
******
It’s taken me a while to get this written down, I keep forgetting bits then think, was*that* at this stage etc..After making sure Jen was ok, we set off, I’m not afraid to say I was more than apprehensive. 1. Because Jen was tireder than ever 2. It was dark and cold 3. I’d never ran in dark before with head torch, certainly never up a bloody mountain, that’s for sure.
I thanked the lord that Tpod was with us too. Off we went, we stayed together for first few miles then I did my usual and powered on a bit. My thinking was that it keeps up the momentum, we really really needed that to happen, to stay warm, and to keep moving. We actually started passing a few people, and every so often I’d get called back whilst jen rested or we needed stuff out backpack and needed another torch. We finally got to fabled devils staircase, it seemed to take forever to get to that point and we made what felt like steady progress up it, I kept thinking we were at top then I’d find another turn, I didn’t find it too hard, there was couple steep parts which was fairly stony and slippy but mainly it was ok.
We got to top and although it was dark we could see outline of glencoe and several other hills, it looked stunning, it never gets completely pitch dark in highlands, there’s always a slight glint somewhere in sky.So, over we go, descent time, hurrah.(orso i thought) We could see the lights of kinlochleven twinkling in the distance, it lifted my spirits like you wouldn't believe. BIG mistake that was.This my lowest point. It seemed to be the further we got down, the further away the lights got, until we couldn’t even see them anymore.
Soul destroying. At certain points I could see head lights twinkling then standing still, I kept thiking the bogey man was waiting on me to jump out and eat me but it just happened to be other runners taking a break. For ages I could see 2 lights, not moving at all, it freaked me a bit, eventually got to them to find 2 medics. I said to them *how the heck did you get here* we walked they said, walked? Oh great, how far away are we then? 1.5 to 2 miles they said.
I’ve never felt so happy, srsly. Tpod spoke to Hendo to tell him where we were and give him indication of how long we’d be.
I swear those medics were lying or we were hallucinating and walking on spot for hours cause it felt like another 5 miles before a worried Hendo called asking where we were, I think I swore. He asked if we were still on west highland way fearing we’d got lost, this panicked me somewhat but I was sure we hadn’t gone off track, there wasnt any to go off, how could we? Jen said, no, we’re on right track, so we headed on down. And down. Got to fork in road where 3 paths led off, I looked puzzled, luckily Jen knew her way around, a lot to be said for recceing the route!
More panic set in as we realised the time, 10 mins before cut off point,(4am) We ran into kinlochleven, along the streets, got heckled by some drunk little fuckers telling us we were going wrong way, more panic (on my part)
Finally we see Hendo & Siouxsie, and never in my life have I been so happy to see anyone. I’m sorry I didn’t show it. Siouxsie was a star,led me into sports centre and made me tea, tried to get me to eat and generally looked after me &Tpot, thank you Sioux.Hendo came back wit Jen after checking her in at checkpoint and took her through to hall for lie down
My spirit was broken at this point, it’s hard to describe, not sure if it was sleep deprivation or my spirit that had been broken by taking 4hrs 15 mins to cover the last 9 miles. I couldn’t comprehend it, we’d kept moving all the time, all the time. To say I was disheartened didnt even come close. Tpod kept saying over and over how awful it had been, I kept agreeing, Hendo kept teling us we had to focus, we had to stay strong for Jen etc.I needed to sleep and wanted to sleep before Tpot hit Hendo.
Thank god for Hendo & Siouxsie, thank god.
I feel asleep on sofa about 4.15 and woke up at 4.45 with feeling of dread. Sioux said to me that if I didnt run( I hadn’t said I wouldn’t, I mustve just looked fuckin awful)
Then tpot would have to go it alone with jen. This woke me up and I knew what I had to do, ffs, it wasn’t about me, if I was tired and demoralised, how was Jen feeling?
Next stop Lundavra…
******
Hendo & Siouxsie, my heroes, without you I’d have probably curled back up and went back into my silent little world i'd ventured into. After my talking to, I slipped away to cry, only kidding, I went off to the car the layer up again. I was shivering and I needed to get warm. 3 fetch tops, a hat , gloves and my thick running jacket later I was sorted lol. Drank bottle of lucozade in car and sat quietly waiting.
Time to go, Jen came out smiling, Tpot looking apprehensive again. We set off, thankfully the morning light must’ve put a spring in our steps and it was a full oh, 5 mins or so before was stripped down to my vest, hat n gloves packed away long with jacket
I liked this stretch, we had a long climb out of kinlochleven, seemed to be never ending, then it was undulating for while, over really big stiles and round hills , through burns. We had sweeper guys with us at first but we soon lost them, and we soon caught up and overtook several others. We were back on form, yeah baby!
Jen kept making me laugh by saying Lundavra was just around the corner, I kept saying, omg, not like Kinlochleven round the corner? Kinlochleven will forever be remembered as the place that doesnt exist, I have some demons to lay there for sure.
I even sang some songs on this bit, s club 7 for those interested, bit of proclaimers and anything that would just make me smile generally. If I’d known Happy & Flip were singing Abba songs I’d have got them to run back and join us for a sing song
We came across a stretch that was really barren, the trees had been chopped down and left to die, it looked like a nuclear bomb had landed and wiped it out, I kept saying to Jen & Pot that clearly the world had ended and we were only ones left!
Got round corner to see some people, confused I ran on and spotted Hendo & Siouxsie, omg, I ran into their arms with glee, what a difference those 7 miles were to those during the night!They had seats ready for us, fab, Jen was fed and watered again, had a wee rest and a shut eye.
We didnt stop for long here, 7 more measly miles to go, and it was over. Yes! Off we set again. This section is just lovely, it takes you through an enchanted forest, I loved it, then a big downhill section which I couldn’t resist running down like a loony with my arms wide aeroplane styleee. Waited at bottom for jen and pot and we sat on a pile of logs and looked at Ben nevis towering over us in the beautiful sunshine. It was her that I knew Jen was indeed going to make it. Passed a few runners going up way who kept saying well done! Only 2 miles to go…Then we came out of forest to the road, boooo, wee walk along to find a very smiley, very bouncy Hendo shouting, 1.1 mile to go, 1.1 miles to go, you eat that for BREAKFAST lol, he was funnyHe hopped back in car and took off. He appeared again at official end of WHW shoutng again. Started to get emotional at this point cause Jen kept saying, I’m going to do it, I’m actually going to do it. *sob*
Around corner and Jen broke into a run, we followed, turned into a crowd of wonderful wonderful smiley happy faces, cheering, clapping, all for Jen. Me & Pot stepped back and let Jen run in, after hugging everyone I could see, we went inside, hugged jen, hugged everyone some mre and cried buckets, each & every one of us.
It was over. She’d done it. She came, She saw, She conquered(TM Dario, race director)

3 comments:

  1. wow what a truly fantastic blog, made me laugh, made me cry and made me dead proud of you all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Agree with Beans cried and felt so proud ;) xxx

    ReplyDelete

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