Friday, 23 July 2010

Hooray, hooray, it's a holi holi day

Weeks holiday, woop!

After Nick got in we headed off to get his car then heded up to Ballacuilish to meet the rest of the posse.

Last year at exact same time we were in Braemar and Andy was our guide, this year it was diferent location, few of same face & few ones. Whilst we were wandering round dodgy area of Glasgow
they'd been doing 24 miles around Glencoe area. When Andy first proposed somewhere to stay in was appalled, it's called the Alex McIntyre hut, i said there is no fuckin way im staying in any hut! But it's not, after finding out i had bed, fridge and hot water i was happy. It's actually a lovely house, well it *could* be ;) it's not quite the hilton but hey ho

To book this you have to be a member of Mcofs >Mountaineering Council of Scotland. so at least 6 of us had to join, which i duly did. They sent me a map of Ben Nevis with my membership card, the wrods Head nor tail might describe my feelings when i opened it!

I'd already told them to have the champagne chilled for my arrival and it was. Within minutes of geting out car i got hug from Karen quickly followed by a very chilled glass of Champagne. Bliss. Phil told me he dragged the champagne in with his teeth whilst hobbling around in pain, i told him to shut up & drink ;)

Soph arrived like a whirlwind with a walking stick for Phil and a vast medical bag, trying hard to get Phil to agree to at least *something* she'd brought. He delinded and said he had his own cure as he glugged down his guinness, wine, champagne....

That theme carried on for rest of evening, there was much hilarity & i crawled off to bed aroud 2.30am. Nick decided to go home in moring as he was still feeling sick and aparently he came in and hugged me & said goodbye, i have no recollection of this at all! Phil headed off home too, hobbling :(

Anyhoooo, everyone got up had brekkie and got ready for run in Glen nevis area. Well when i say everyone, a scary looking creature came through growling at everyoe and eating porridge occasionaly growling things like "never again" I later found out this was my good friend Soph! ;)

We left the scary creature to bang her head on kitchen table and headed off to Glen nevis. Car Park was heaving! First sign we come across was this

They werent kidding, was precarious slippy path and one wrong foot and you'd be hurtling down a very steep ravine! Andy had a route planned out for us,the *path* we took was extremely wet & boggy but good fun all the same. We got to this "bridge" i use that term very loosely obviously...

Andy, Teacher, Father of 4 and Duke of Edinburgh Assessor, wanted us t cross this> Spot the red tape on it folks, it's there for a reason. Mike & Andy got across to find one of the cords had snapped that held it on at other other side! lol Ther was no way me, Karen or Lucy could've even stretched our short ass bodies between those "ropes" even the rest of the boys sturggled to hold on.

Wasn't until after we'd all had a look, decided it was a no go that we saw the sign stuck to it saying DANGER, DO NOT USE! Andy spotted it and hid it :-o *cancels plans for duke of edinburgh award* ;)

Here are Karen, Lucy & I watching as the boys think of ways to get over...

So, maps out and new route planned. It was clear after few miles that the pathway we were on wasn't gonig to improve and the long route planned was abandoned.We passed group of teenagers out doing thr Duke of Edinburgh award and Andy was quizzing them all lol, then we came across an assessor who was out looking for them exasperated. I do wonder if this was same group he was pissed off with, i fear it was! >

The boys wanted to cross a river but me, Karen & Lucy who had sore knee by this point declined, it was only going to add 2 miles onto route so we decided to head back.

Karen ended up thigh deep into a bog and fell over every time i looked at her lol.We had great fun on way back after finding an actual runnable path near the "bridge"

Back to our *hut* and Karen went off to Aberdeen to see George, Ian went home and we were down to . After showering and discussions we decided to head across bridge(real bridge, see!) to Hotel to eat. Or not as case may be, customer service it wasn't. "we're full" was what we were told. I wandered around and tol them they had at last 12 tables free, "all booked" they said. Now most places would've said, ok we can squeeze you in but you'll have to be off table for X time... no, not them. Avoid the balacullish hotel....

Back across Bridge we go and end up in Loch leven Hotel, thankfully! Great service, fabulous food! what more can you ask for, go there if you're ever passing it was great! :)

Back to *hut* few more drinks and off to bed. Up in Morning to decide plan of action but Lucy's knee was sore and Scott's Achilles hurty so no running for them, giving that i was getting lift back with them i decided against holding them up & passed on run. Andy & Mike headed off to Bridge of Orchy to run across Rannoch Moor. I'd done that the week before devil but still felt a guilty about not joining them,madness seeing as I'd done the race, then glen Nevis next day!

I was knackered by time got home so I'm kinda glad i didn't run. Ran 5 miles next day to loosen off legs, i ran my first ever training route ever. whole 2 miles down to Lasswade, then i used to call Roger to come pick me up! lol It's all downhill and there was no chance of me running, or even walking it back then. I did of course run back and tagged on bit extra too to make it worthwhile.Had a sloth day on Wednesday nt even getting dressed entire day. I'm on holiday, it's allowed. Went bit stir crazy though so decided on long run next day.

Had no real plans, put on sealskins in case it ended up bein Pentlands as it was monsoon weather day before. But on stepping out door i decided to revisit another old route. The one i used to do for long run when marathon training. All road :-o Basically downhill then flat too, headed down to Musselburgh then right along coast to cramond. 20.5 miles, i wanted to bit more but my feet were getting bit sore so i bailed.

Had plans to meet Roger in town anyway so headed up there, had lunch then pink bubbles outside in sunshine @ Tigerlilly's, my fave place in town.
Waiting on Susan arriving now, Ladies who lunch day
ie- lets go out and get pished! :)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Striding along the Clyde

Pre Race prep was dealt with in the usual Sandra way.

Home from yet another stressy week at work, finish packing then wait patiently on Phil arriving to pick me up.I had vague ideas of nipping into a weejie shopping centre and picking up new camera on way to Hotel but he arrived too late for that. We made it to hotel without any dramas and parked right outside (clearly they knew i was coming ;0)) checked in, dumped bags and headed to nearest pub as Phil was gagging for pint by then. Picked pretty dodgy typical weej pub so decided to make it just one in there before going a wandering. Ended up n pub with live music, bonza! Few more ermmmm soft drinks and we were up ceilidh dancing like loonies. Perfect Ultra prep i think you'll find.

We stayed til last orders then resisted finding a later pub by heading for Kwababas, having realised none of us had eaten since lunchtime. Perfect Ultra prep i think you'll find.

Kwababas polished off it was time for bed. Alarm set for 6.30. Up @ said time and down to breakfast @7am for fry up. Perfect Ultra prep i think you'll find.

So, off we go. Phil wasn't doing the race, too flat he said. He was heading up the Highlands to meet bunch of like minded people to run up & down hills. Me, Nick & Sophie were heading up after doing race to stay join rest of them. We parked up and wandered round hugging folk and saying hello to everyone. Lots of familiar happy faces, everyone calm and happy. I went off t drop my drop bags and after checking in my CP3 bag, Mark asked if it contained vodka. Ermm yes, of course it does i said!

Before too long it was race brief time, Lee told us to run like fuck til we got to the finish, or something. Or maybe i wasn't paying too much attention, i remember her mentioning the Hilton though... i like my nice hotels as you all know.. Ian Beatie was official starter and was playing around with his horn whilst Lee gave us final thoughts. Suddenly the horn went off and wooooosh we saw Casper the friendly ghost take off int the distance with Paul Hart in quick pursuit. Always makes me laugh to see those guys take off like that, awesome stuff to know they keep that kind of pace going, it was a conversation i had many a time en route with various folk.

Ran past BBC building and SECC and therein lies my knowledge of the Weej. After that it was blindly following folk. Tip of the day, don't blindly follow folk, they might be lost.

1st checkpoint was upon us fairly quickly and i felt ok and decided to run right through it just giving them cheery wave, I'd not touched drinks i had in bag so no need to stop really. I do love coming through checkpoints on Ultras though, there's always lots of happy smiley faces and it really lifts you. Ian had discarded his horn was here directing folk across bridge. I think it was along this path that we took a diversion. This is when i really miss my camera, I'd have stopped and took lots of pics to remind me of each stage. Anyway, the diversion was what you could call interesting. I was following a bunch of blokes and hoping they were going right way as i saw no signs except *diversion* where we were directed off walkway.

lets just say the scenery was *interesting* i was almost tempted to pop into the shop i passed with the rubbish tip emptied out in front of it when i spotted the door open, was was the door kicked off, i cant recall... Don't think I'll be rushing to Celtic park anytime soon as i soon spotted that in distance, i did joke later that the players/manager must get armour plated cars to take them into stadium

Anyway, i managed to dodge the bullets and kept close to the guys in front not wanting to get lost on my own here. Wasn't too long before we we back on walkway though but I'm pretty sure we ended up in random housing estate around here too, just running past it, not through it, still. Random.

I have to say wasn't overjoyed with route at this point and decided music was way forward. At least a bit of Sclub7 always makes me smile ;) I was convinced many a time we were lost but still followed folk in front, don't think we were actually lost at this point, this came later.

At least we got back onto Walkway again and beside Clyde so i knew something was right. few times i came through gaps and saw someone running past me from different direction though, Got to end of pathway and to a bridge, i was still following what arrows i could find, yellow ones. as i went to cross bridge i saw blokey run up road towards roundabout and had to shut him back as i spotted a (white) arrow pointing across road, wasn't convinced this was *our* arrow as it couldve been a random workies one but i spotted sign for walkway at other side bridge. Ran with blokey and caught up with another guy who was just out for run and he told us we were about 1.5m away from checkpoint. Yahhooo. that meant around halfway point. Back out to busy road and round roundabout and in towards hotel, where we found checkpoint round back. phew.

Ian was here again and said i was looking good, i told him i'd have been lost many a time if i hadn't been following folk. got my drop bag, emptied rubbish then set off again. It wasn't too far til we hit Strathclyde park, now i *do* know this area. I remember Lee saying we went round back of boating shed. I was with another guy coming into here and we had discussion about which way it was, finally plumping for left as we saw building to left and assumed it was said building.epic fail.

we ran round the water chatting then got past M&D's to find 3 other boys looking we started following arrows and going round in circles, then one of us would check out one direction, one the next and so on til we got fed up ended back in same place. Then Robbie had genius idea of calling Lee, thank the lord! I told him to tell her we were past M&D's on same side and we were told ermmm wrong side of water!It was at this point that the Glasgow god started chucking big bucket loads f water over us, yeah, Wait til we stop you fucker! I quickly put jacket , gloves and buff on only for it t stop soon as we started running again.

Cue 5 pissed off faces, one bloke just took right off and i never saw him again, rest of us plodded on bemoaning the 45mins we'd wasted. I lost my Will & motivation here and started taking walking breaks, letting the 4 *lost boys* take off ahead of me. Then the rain stopped so i took off my jacket, gloves etc only for it to start again ffs, and i inadvertently stopped my bloody garmin! aaargh i noticed after about 15 mins of thinking, "ffs, I'm going slower than a slug"

Was scunnered. Got to end of park and in between dodging cars trying to make roadkill of me there were 2 lovely girls handing out jelly babies ( i don't Even like them but took one) and rocky road. Don't know who you were but thank you, as i said earlier a smiley face and encouragement makes all the difference.

got grip here pleased to be back in trails again

the 2nd half of race was much improved, trails, Fields, forests etc, just lovely. Now if we could start it at strathclyde park next yr that would be great! There was a few tricky moments though. I was trying not to follow folk anymore and just follow signs and instincts. There were quite a few places, especially in the Forest sections that I'd come across 2 paths and luckily i seemed to pic right ones, nt sure if they both came out at same place but was happy not to get lost again. at least i dont think i was? who knows.

I kept swapping places with 2 blokes in front of me & we were all a bit unsure so it was good to know i wasn't only one at that point. We came through a bit where we got to what i can only describe as a thistle Field, now although there had been signs on the gate saying *this way* there was no obvious trail, just a field. We decided to just follow the Clyde anyway and ran through the thistle field, climbing a knolly bank thing which suddenly came to an end then climbing another noe which did same, lol. Then we passed load of cows i did Wonder if that was ones Soph had *warned* us abut on the clydestride FB page the other day.

Well thank god she did! :p they were as threatening as a Ray McCurdy in a race nd were just lying around being lazy cows quite frankly. As i was exiting said field i heard music, turned around and saw a quad bike with 3 girls whizzing about with radio on full blast, i think they were farm workers as thy seemed t be doing something feed wise, friggin mental west coasters.

Got to end of road where some lovely Marshall's were directing us across and down towards pathway again, i loved this whole section right to end. Last checkpoint wasn't too far from here

As i approached a bridge towards a lovely looking house there were folk cheering and clapping, this put spring n my step and i realised it was last checkpoint! wooop, vodka time. boy did i need it. Bumped into one of *the lst boys* here and asked where the others had gone he said they were about 1/2 mile ahead. I had n bloody idea how far was left though as i knew I'd added in extra miles but also *lost* miles when garmin was off my wee blonde head was about to explode trying to figure it out. Mark told me i had about "10 or 11" miles left so at least i had a vague idea.

Didn't stay long, just grabbed things and took off, and ran rest of race swapping places on & off with lost boy. I ended up in random Field not long after CP, there were 2 paths, i took wrong one, clearly. the trail stopped, so did i. I looked up t see 2 women waving at me from hillside, i shouted across and asked if i could get there and they said yes. So i schlepped across overgrown Field and climbed fence, they told me i was 3rd person to end up there in short time they're been there.

Ok, I've said it before but west coasters are mental ok. I ran past a duck pond and in the middle of it they had a hut which was blasting Judy garland music ut to the ducks, then further up there were 3 plastic cows in the field which looked more menacing than the ones Soph had warned us abut earlier Made me laugh though at least.Problem was my ipod decided to give up on me too, s i wa stuck with bloody judy garlandmy head for long enough.

Talking of which, i got txt around tis point to say she'd pulled out, was gutted for her. Also had txt from Phil to say he'd bloody hurt his foot, yet again n Devil ,yet again in same place. ffs, this day wasn't going so well...

got into a what seeme to be a wee village and passed 2 folk walkng, i asked how far to New Lanark and they said 1.5miles or so. bonza!Seemed to get there quite quickly and just as i ran like loon into (very lovely!) village, Debbie & Sharon passed in car peeping horn and shouting out window. Wehey, this must the the end and sped up again and ran through village... then on, and on

Damn, where is this finish? plenty signs though! so i knew i wasn't lost at least. this section was great actually, zigzagging my way down through forest i overtook someone and was who was cramping every time he tried to sprint. He encouraged me to press on though. I passed LOADS families and at one point said to one group "where the fuk is finish?* oops.they just laughed at me. Actually it was just ahead. Down the steps across the grass and woohooo, i'd finished.

Big Hug from Lee @ finish and fab tshirt and cold beer at end hit spot. Was great to catch up on everyone at end and swap stories about general lostness lol

Was delighted to see Lesley finally make it end of an Ultra, her smile was mile wide, go girl you did it!

Was bit worried waiting on Nick coming in but didn't want to txt him in case it freakedhim out. i actually thought at point that Nick & Sophie must've went ahead of me. Then i got to end and saw Ray standing there and nearly fell over. Turned ut he was timed out though! Nick came through smiling, god knows how after also getting lost and having dodgy stomach for days before and all way through race. Hats off to him for carrying on, not sure i could've/would've.

Ended up doing 41.44 miles, which wasn't as far as some folk! I was disappointed with my time and my performance but I've got over it. I guess it just wasn't my day. We have them all time in training runs but this was first time in a race that i just couldn't pull it together.I think it was getting lost that threw me, it's first time that's happened too. Still the old saying of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger stands i guess. I guess we've all got to have bad runs sometimes so we can remember how good the good ones are.

Want to say Many thanks to Lee & all themarshalls/supporters, i know just how much hard work she has put into this race.

Hope this report doesn't put folk off doing the race or detract from Lee's marvellous acheivement for pulling this race together in wa she did :)
I'm justa bit of dizzy blonde who doesnt do maps/directions very well perhaps. I will say i didn't enjoy 1st half but loved 2nd half.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

There's a Banana on my stairs

not entirely sure why, Stephen must've put it there, or else it's a magic banana, or maybe I've had a secret visit from Bananaman?

The stairs are clean, i know this because i've spent the entire day cleaning, upstairs & downstairs, all done in a special spring(summer)clean. I also cooked of a batch of chicken curry & pasta bolognaise which is portioned off and frozen down. Marcia Cross eat you heart out! talking of which, did anyone see last episode of Desperate housewife's? How ironic i chose to watch it today huh? lol Anyway, i cried, I'm a big softy like that.

Oh and I've broke the hoover? i managed to get upstairs done and was about to start on stairs when it just stopped working. God knows what I've done :( I ended up cleaning the stairs with a hand held brush & pan, Cinderella styleeeee, did a marvellous job even if i do say so myself. All i need now is a prince to whisk me off and feed me champagne.

Oh talking of Cinderella, i decided to get organised and book my hotel for the SUMs ball(see what i did there?) ;) I do hope not to be wearing rags and the search goes on for a fabulous dress but i digress... I got online and started researching hotels in Ayr. You lot know me, i like my luxury. Plan was to avoid Tyndrumlike hotels and treat myself to somewhere nice.

Weirdly all seemed full. Found lovely smaller place with unique looking fabulous rooms and mailed them only to get a very apologetic reply back telling me that it was full. Reason being? it's weekend of Gold cup @ Ayr racecourse,she told me it was i quote *probably busiest weekend of the year* and that I'd be hard pushed to a room at all! :-o

I did however persevere and finally found somewhere & got it booked. Last room they told me! you have been warned folks..

back to the housewifely stuff...

The shopping would also be unpacked and put away if i hadn't been drunk when i did it and clicked on Sunday delivery instead of Saturday! doh. Only took me 6 hrs to actually get the shop done, in between cleaning bathroom, watching sky news -raul gun sit out thing and laughing lots at a silly thread on fetch! Oh and drinking, i did that too hence the drunk shopping.

Looking at my receipt today the first 4 items are Vodka, Champagne, Pear cider and beeer. I don't even drink/like beer. Ffs.I also bought 10 bottles of orange squash fuck knows where I'll put it, clearly I'm anticipating a lot of drinking if i need all that squash. Oh, food was bought too, don't worry.

No running today but i never planned to, i do like running in this misty raining weather though. Will probably go out for wee toddle tomorrow up to Fairmilehead & back. When i was running to work the other day i saw some seagulls attacking bags left outside and eating all the crap that was spilling out. It made me wonder if birds get upset stomachs, you know, eat a dodgy curry and you've got Dicky tum for next few days? Which also begs the question of other animals getting sick. Like worms for instance, do worms get dodgy tums? do they have moods swings, do they get headaches? actually do worms have heads? What about ants, and cockroaches? if they are poorly do they take a day of work? Flies, do they stop being annoying little fuckers and just go lie down somewhere for the day? Does their families look after them and tuck them in, bring them drinks etc?
It's a mystery to me. I'll bet Soph knows, she's geeky like that.

I was thinking about opening a bottle of veuve cliquot tonight & cant decide whether to or not. I am currently drinking a Pinot Blush but it's just not hitting the mark. I've had a vodka irn bru and that went down well but i feel the urge for veuve, maybe i shouldnt have went into the cupboard to tidy it.I saw them there and i immediately wanted it.

Maybe I'll go chill it and go read rest of Vicky's WHW blog (if she'd stopped crying enough to finish it anyhow) ;)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Lost & found?

left my WHW blog unfinished really by not mentioning the night out or the ceremony.

I can barely remember last yrs ceremony as we'd only just finished when it was almost starting and a few (ok more than few) glasses champagne and i was literally falling asleep on floor in aisle!

This yr was different, we got to grab few hours sleep then meet everyone was big fry up beforehand, top stuff. And we had so many friends to cheer for too, just great, although Phil told me off for shouting too loud for folk.

Was so proud to see Phil go up and get his goblet, to get to that point after so many setbacks in his training and get time he got was just amazing.wish I'd felt like I'd been part of how he got there. He has amazing stamina and ability and will kick ass at hardmoors this year for sure. After ceremony we sat outside in glorious sunshine catching up with folk and drinking champagne, it was just wonderful. Then it was time to check into our lovely B&B for more rest before night out.

Was asleep soon as head hit pillow, bed was so incredibly comfy! We got ready and headed off to pub to join everyone for a cracking night of drinks & race stories. We of course decided to head to another pub after one we were in shut and it was between here and the B&B which was literally 5 min walk (stagger)away that i lost my camera. All the race pics, all the ceremony pics, all the night out pics.

Seriously gutted.Went to police station & pub but no luck. I kinda keep hoping that i'll suddenly get phone call and they'll say they've found it... never give up hope eh?


Haven't been myself for past month now. Work has been incredibly stressful and has really been getting me down to the point of tears on quite few occasions. I cant just leave, i have a mortgage to pay, on my own. Yes I've been skirting the job pages/websites but hey we all know the situation out there at moment.

Was at Fetch gathering at weekend for Fetch Mile and i might as well have not been tbh, i didn't even do the bloody mile. I ran 5.5 miles beforehand with the boys though to ease off legs from long run day before.We got totally & utterly drenched, we might as well have swam round the bloody lake in the campus instead of running round it
I sat in cafe away from wind and rain and drank tea whilst everyone raced outside. Then we went for food and drinks. So i'm nt entirely sure why i even went, i felt very antisocial, even headed outside once finished food to sit in sun with Bob. Was lovely to see everyone even though I felt bit lost.

Crikey, i'm depressing myself reading this back, im sure my blogs used to be somewhat amusing! Yes Soph, i know, i need to stop fucking moaning ;)

Not been in my own unit for past 2 weeks now and although i was dreading going elsewhere I've actually really enjoyed it. This week the manager i was shadowing was on holiday so I've been running place and it's been great. Much bigger than my Unit, there is 6 staff and about 600 folk in building. Almost like being back in Museum, although i had anything from 10-20 staff there depending on time of yr.

Hope I'm not cursing things by saying this but maybe it's actually turning a corner. I'm back to Wood Mackenzie next week then I'm on Holiday for a week. Got Clyde Stride then whole bunch of us are heading up highlands to run around, chase haggis and drink lots. So looking forward to it!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Long Lost friends

Went out for long run with no clear idea of where i was going, or how long i would run for.

So i wore road shoes. Original plan was for to run to Falkirk tomorrow and join everyone at Stirling for the fetch Mile and the pub after (only real reason to go)But I'd have had to leave house about 6am, and that's a step too far for a Sunday morning quite frankly. I get up early everyday of working life and although i wake up early at weekends i do like bit of lie in.Got up 7.30 this morning..

So long run was moved to today instead. I ran out house and headed out towards laswade, then up through Loanhead and up to Fairmilehead, along to Floterstone and up and over Pentlands. This is where i am srsly gutted about my camera. The views today were nothing short of amazing. I went up Scald law first then few others, think last one was carnethy as i kinda recognised parts of it when i was up there with Karen & George in deep deep snow in December! Really need to get myself new camera :(

Up & over and down into balerno where i joined Water of Leith, coming out at Redford area before heading back towards fairmilehead then home.

26.14 hilly miles, hot and humid and very windy at the cairns.

reason for blog title is that its route i took when i did my first ever solo hill run, in June last yr, in fact it was Loanhead Gala day which was only last week, weird how one yr later on from my first ever proper hill run (after fling relay) that I've done 5Ultras and god knows how many mental training runs.

Had hell of week this week at work. Was in tears by time got home on Wednesday, things were bit brighter by Friday.Run today helped, need glass wine and bath now and off to watch footy.


This could be a long blog, but 100 miles is a long way. I've always had a pull to this race for various reasons. I've heard many g...