What did i wish for?
Well, just a bloody great weekend quite frankly, with lots of running, lots of good friends, lots of drinking and seeing one of my closest friends Phil do a cracking debut WHWR. Some things you just don't doubt, i never doubted that last part.
I got all that, well nearly. The nearly is the sticking point i guess.
Friday night Anna & Phil arrived later than anticipated, i had food set on table ready for them to dive into, Pasta & Pizza if you're that interested! i had few glasses wine whilst waiting. We had to rejig car to get my stuff in but coolbox was left behind as no room, managed cool bag though..
Got to Milngavie and arrived in the pent up atmosphere that is the station car park! hugs all round to nervous looking folk, registration done and dusted now it ws waiting game. Actually it passed quicker than i thought it would and before too long we were waving everyone off into the long night(s) ahead...
We jumped into car and headed to Drymen where Phil wanted to change shoes, after saying to him "i expect you there at 2" he told me to fuck off so we really didn't expect him at 2. He did of course arrive then and we were just getting the shoes out car, Mike shouted at us that he'd arrived and we ran up to meet him, we were only 3secs behind him thankfully. We got shouted at though, not good start really. I actually feel asleep for 15mins here waiting on him coming in.
Off he went and we headed off to Balmaha thinking we'd have time for rest. By time we got camp stove fired up for cuppa and organised for Phil coming in there was no chance. He arrived looking perky and gulped his coffee down, then off he went. We packed up and headed to Rowardennan once again with thoughts of head down for bit. Once again mistaken. It was midgie heaven out there as expected, little fuckers.
But it's worth it, early morning in Rowardennan car park, the most stunning scenery ever and a car park full of nutters looking half baked already, yes it's worth it. Anna & i took turns to brave the area where Marshall's were which was worst midgie bit ever, to watch for Phil coming in so we could direct him to car. He came in looking strong again, more coffee ready for him and he had bite to eat. He cleaned him up, sprayed him, rubbed him , stripped him.. he loves all that so he does.
Actually its probably only reason he did race ;)
And off he went, i knew he'd come bounce his way though next stage, it's his favourite part. We weren't seeing him again til Beinglas so we had bit of time on our hands this time, still no sleeping though. We went searching for Petrol station which we found in Balloch then headed straight up to beinglass where we decided to have some breakfast.
Bad idea. Queue city, nightmare. People waiting for EVER staff were rude beyond belief and if i hadn't been so damn hungry and in need of some fuel by then i'd have told them where to stick it. Never again will i buy something from them. FFS it's not like they didn't know they'd be busy! that was the excuse when anyone asked how long their food would be though! fuckin muppets.
Anyhooo, we settled down on sleeping bag and clapped and supported everyone through, had good memories of when i bounced through on fling and saw Susan & Steve :)I loved watching Vicky's support crew. They arrive & set up. Vicky arrives and se is sat down whilst they go to work around her, fixing her up, feeding her then send her on way.It's like watching a pit stop at F1, no kidding! :)awesome stuff, i do remember thinking that last yr when Paul was running.
Phil did indeed come bouncing through as i knew he would and was in superb spirits. More coffee, bacon roll and he was an even happier chappy! We're more of a dodgy garage repair outfit than Vicky's sleek team!
He ran off with huge smile and spring in his step :) next stop Wigwams. We drove right past it somehow and ended up in Tyndrum, didn't take long to get back though! lol We had fair bit time here so i decided to do spot of sunbathing. We chose nice spot just by gate and i settled down, ended up falling asleep for about 15mins, that was my 2nd and only snooze. Woke up and sunbathed whilst cheering runners through, i bet they wanted to boot me right in face as i casually waved my arm and said well done as they passed lol
Anna went off for wee run to loosen up as she'd been driving and was stiffening up. Loads of folk were heading out to look for their runners and run them into checkpoint. I went off and got changed in preparation for Phil coming in as plan was to run from here with him. We were soon joined here by Donald, Soph, Lucy & Steve ,i think that's why this race is so special for crew as well as runners, we keep seeing same faces at checkpoints and it's great to get progress reports.
Soon enough Phil came through and me & Anna ran in with him (from gate to checkpoint, less than 200 meteres i reckon!) and we got told off for running in with him!!:( Then i got told i couldn't run with him til 1.30 :( ffs.
Phil had lovely baked tattie and coffee here (thanks for £1 Jane!)and off we went for final 3 miles of Fling course. I wound down window on way past him and told him to move his arse, much to Anna's horror, she was saying 2 don't be nasty to him" lol
I couldn't get a signal on phone for love nor money so couldn't get hold Gavin to let him know we were enroute to Tyndrum. Luckily Phils phone worked though and he got message to him. We met Gav and prepared to run with Phil. This part was only part of entire WHW i'd not done so i was looking forward to it. Plan ws for Anna to run to bridge of orchy with us and then just me & Phil through to Kinlochleven where Gav would pick up for last leg.
We walked up the hill past the village half and bumped int Dave & Carolyn, lovely to see them, I'd forgotten I'd told him our predicted time at tyndrum, i mustve been bang on! :) As we said goodbye and prepared to run for first time i went smash over and into the dirt. 2 whole steps and i ended up with bloody bashed knee. great start Sandra!
I ignored it and carried on, i rather liked this part, Phil doesn't though, reckons it spirals on in front with no end in sight, maybe it's cause I've not dne it before was running on ahead leaving Anna & Phil to have bit of quality time together knowing(thinking) Anna was just running to BoO. I was taking lots pics and chatting to folk en route which was lovely.Before too long we were in BoO and bumped into Soph & Lucy who said they'd missed John at tyndrum cause they were eating chips lol muppets.Soph was star as usual and patched up my knee from her vast medical kit which could put an ambulance to shame! i screamed a bit, maybe a lot, i think she was enjoying it a bit too much quite frankly
Anna joined us for next , not sure if it was Phil or Anna's as decision but off we went up hill. I had done this section with Jules & Scott previous week and loved it, great views from top of loch. Got round corner to see find a Marshall and a big St Andrew Cross fluttering in wind, we of course had to stop for pictures *sob* (more about that later)
Phil nipped off for pee and Anna & i took off down hill, i remember waiting last yr and watching as Jen& Tpot came running down that part, it was weird being here a yr later and doing same thing. So off we went towards Rannoch Moor, i presumed Anna was now just running whole way with us so i carried on doing what i was doing, running ahead a bit, taking pics of them running , stopping til they caught up, running for bit then doing same again.
But this didn't go down well with Phil, he said he didn't like people running ahead of him and wanted me to stay with him, i said i wouldn't leave him alone when it was just me & him and that i was giving him & Anna a bt of space but he wasn't happy. I found it really difficult to stay right beside him.Some parts of the road you just couldn't run 3abreast, other times i just lost plot a bit and didn't even realise i was speeding up.
Phil shouted at me few times, saying he didnt like it, that i was trying to dictate pace and to stay with him.
About couple mile away from Glencoe Phil told me to run ahead and check Gavin was ready, so i did. I arrived about 15mins ahead of them and Gavin was firing up kettle, ready for the arrival. I decided there not to run next part, i was seriously doubting my ability to support at this point, so when Anna came in i asked if she wanted to run rest of way and she readily said yes, so that was that.
I also felt sorry for Gavin who'd been n his own since meeting us at 1pm in Tyndrum, it didn't seem quite fair.
I guess I'm just crap at this supporting lark, i wont be supporting in that capacity ever again. Quite happy to stand at side of road and shout and scream for 8 hrs but i felt totally inadequate and useless.
Me &Gav jumped in car and met them atKinghouse with pint for Phil which seemed to go down a treat and off he went with spring in step and smile on face.
We got to bottom of devil and parked in exact some space at last week, freaky. At this point i was distraught, beating myself up for spoiling Phil's race and being completely fuckin useless. We sat at bottom and cheered folk as they started the climb up but i was sitting there crying nd miserable so i went back to car. Phil & Anna arrived and stocked up on more drinks, Phil asked if i was coming up and i said no, i didnt want to spoil his race, he told me i was spoiling it, this made me whole lot worse.
After they left i said to Gavin i was going to head home at next station, i didn't want to be there if i was causing this much upset and i was so upset myself that i knew I'd be n good to be around. I looked at train timetables but there was none, which was hardly surprising at 8pm on Saturday night in middle of nowhere. Gavin spent whole time driving to Kinlochleven trying to cheer me up but i couldn't stop crying, what a fuckin mess, what an absolute waste of space i was. Dont think I've ever felt so useless or so despondent for a long time.
Saw Steph at kinlochleven, she was doing her doctor duties again and had bit of chat with her. Great to hear she's graduating soon and has job in Glasgow to go to, junior Doctor, i don't envy them but massive well done Steph both for job and fr volunteering again :) She asked me what was wrong, as even though i had my dark glasses on she knew i was upset, luckily she was saved from me crying on her shoulder by someone arriving in pretty bad way. Got txt from Phil at this point with pic from top of devil, looked stunning and made me cry again. He also txt to say he loved me and he wanted me there at end to run last mile with him. I said i of course would be.
Great see Vicky coming in here too, this being last official stop you just know people coming through here were going to make it, it's quite an emotional thing, even more so when your an emotional wreck anyway! lol
Vicky looked broken when she left and i willed every piece of strength i had to her, i knew she'd make it to end though, just knew it. Gavin was getting seriously itchy feet and kept getting out and running round in cirles i stayed in car trying hard to stay away from god awful midgies which were worst ever seen.
Phil arrived, got weighed fuelled up and didn't hang around too long, probably cause Gav was srsly desperate to run at this point! They took off running out of the mythical village and started the gruelling next stage.
Our plan was to head to Hotel, check in get organised then head to leisure centre leave car there and head to brave heart car park to meet them. All i wanted to do when got to Hotel was lie on on extremely inviting bed, 2 days of no sleep does that to you i guess! I didn't dare though and we had cup tea before heading to leisure centre, it was around 2am i think. We saw and cheered a few runners in and had a chat to Vicky's crew who were heading up to Braveheart and kindly offered us a lift there (well i think i actually asked lol)
We got up there and cheered few more folk through but decided it was too cold and sat in car, Vicky wasn't due through for at least an hour and half so we sat in car in warmth and dozed off, only fr sudden banging on window! it was Paul, Vicky's hubby, he'd ran on ahead as he'd had something in his eye and he was stressing Vicky out too a bit i think ;) He said "maybe I'm not quite as sympathetic as she'd like" lol Poor Vicky.
We got out and wandered up and down, looking out for head torches bobbing through the trees. Before too long Vicky came stumbling through stopping for a sec, look of determination on her face, go girl! That left me & Anna wandering up and down trying to get reception or word from Phil & Gav on how long they'd be. We were also stressing as we kept hearing voices and seeing no one and i kept seeing folk running part at bottom of road! fuck, what if we were in wrong place. I then remember we'd not come through there last yr but a bit further along, as i remember actually running past it!
After chatting to few folk it seems that you don't follow the signs for WHW, if you do you'll miss the carpark, i think that's what we did last yr, still takes you to road, i just think it's wee bit longer, ooh if only i'd known that!
Eventually we got word from Phil & Gav, they said the were 10mins or so away! wooop! we waited patiently, not daring to go further up in case they came through and missed us, 10mins, 15..20 oh dear. Not actually sure how long it was but eventually they came through having misjudged how far they had to go *phew*
We got to bottom of road and all ran along together, then we saw 2 folk running towards us, Stephen & Vicky(shanksi)woop! they were amazed to see how strong Phil was looking and ran with us. What a posse we had! Suddenly Phil took off like bat out of hell and we had to accelerate to keep up with him, he'd thought WHW sign was the end, hence the big sprint! After we told him it ws just around corner he put brakes on a wee bit, lol mentalist.
He soon shoved foot right back on accelerator though and ran like it was a 200m race to that Leisure centre and up the steps to finish in an amazing time of 26hrs 47mins and 30secs. Not half bad for someone who'd broken his foot on Devil in January huh? I was very proud of him :)
Not that i ever had a doubt in my mind that he'd do great. It had never even entred my head that he wouldn't finish, it was just never discussed or contemplated.
So there it is, it's taken me whole week to getting round t getting it all down.Phil was awesome, i was awful but it's not about me, it was his race, his rules etc.
I'll probably never support again unless its on sidelines, but i'll be there next yr myself to see if i can conquer it and lay some demons to rest.