Monday, 30 August 2010

Ultra Good Weekend

See what i did there? ;) After Thursday's shenanigans til the wee small hours i got up packed then headed off for very lovely leisurely lunch, think barely had time to sober up.. Then it was off to station to catch train. Stopped off en route to buy Jane some beautiful white roses, not cleverest idea! I then had to fight my way along the hell that is princes st during festival with huge bunch flowers, a case and a handbag! doh

Uneventful journey except for woman next to me who kept offering her daughter a tissue, when it was declined she would snap at her *then stop bloody sniffing* i was scared to sniff after that and ended up moving across aisle when i got chance lol

Jane picked me up from station and had a bottle of bubbly open by time i was shown to my room lol. That was quickly finished and we went of out for dinner, more wine was consumed along with some food of course!Was very excited to get first txt from UTMB about when she got to checkpoint, this was soon followed by txt from Soph to tell me it had been cancelled! Txt both George & Karen to see if she was ok and eventually got confirmation she was safe. There was still confusion later into night as to whether George's race was going ahead or not at that point.

Got to bed fairly earlish but didnt get to sleep til after 12...

Up again at 4.45,checked facebook & twitter to see that George & Richie were heading off to race start, thank god they got to race after all that!

Got dressed, breakfast and off we set for Buckie. Picked up number then headed off to Ballindalloch. Arrived to find midgies in full force, bloody evil little fuckers. Luckily Jane had some skin so soft in car and that seemed to do trick, no bites anyway.. Jane set off for her marshaling and i had wander around talking to Vicky, Paul, Karin and few others waiting on buses to arrive. Which they did before too long then it was hug city. Great to see everyone again.

Sarah shouted us over for race briefing which i listened to intently after thoughts of Clydestride! She promised we wouldn't get lost and had been out in bike with Sean for 6 hours the previous day marking course, i felt confident but made note to look carefully for the signs, it really spoiled my race time and i didn't want repeat performance.

We had a piper to set us off which was nice and off we went. My first thoughts were of how pretty the route was and that didn't alter for entire race.

Was caught up with my club mate's Fionna & Iain and we had bit of chat. Iain soon took off but me & Fionna ran for wee while together, it was her first Ultra and she was doing great. I let her go on though as i was quite happy to conserve energy for later.
It was flat for first 10miles or so, i stopped occasionally to take pics, all the tracks/trails were very runnable, after the devil this felt like running on marshmallows! lol

It had been raining on and off all week i think so it made it a bit muddy & slippy at times but nothing to stop us from running

Then we came across this sign. The UTMB clearly think it's all abut them when it comes to mudslides, we had our very own ;)
We crossed a few bridge, 2 of them extremely wobbly! i yelped like the big girl that i am, the more folk who got on it the wobblier it got haha, freaky. This bridge was tad more stable and stopped to take pic of river which was sparkling in the sunshine. Guy next to me told me it was River Spey and that was only time we crossed it

I had got a headache around mile 6 and i couldn't shake it, it started to make me feel sick and it lasted for next 15 miles :(
Iwas actually thinking about packing it in when couldn't shake sick feeling, then i had bit of word with myself. My focus is on WHW next yr, i'm sure there be plenty times when i feel sick during that so i got a grip and got on with it.

Got to Jane's checkpoint and gave her a wave and ran through, got to first checkpoint and just ran right through as i didn't need anything. I rarely stop at first checkpoints but i know the one time i don't leave anything I'll want something... lol

Had bit of chat with guy who'd done race before. Check it out, no top, and he no socks on ether. I dread to thin of chaff age issues by end of race! ouch.Thankfully he had shorts on!

Caught up with Robert & Penny the dog on first climb and he thankfully gave me some headache pills,was nice to have company and we chatted for next few miles as he told me about the hill race that takes place on the hill were on at that time, don't ask me to name it! We even passed a few cyclists struggling up! :)

Views like this are so worth the climbs!

missed out quite few pics this time as I had to keep putting my camera away as as we would suddenly get deluged in a downpour! we'd get dried out and then it would start all over again, monsoon proportions!

I was most impressed by how easy i was finding it, even in partsthat potentially you couldve got lost there was either a very clear sign, or a marshall. Great stuff. The diversion was just as Sarah had described it ie- nasty. Very overgrown (but pretty!) in parts,there was a very narrow path here and one wrong foot meant you slipped down a wee ravine, which i did several times. very tree stumpy on other parts

I was starting pick people off now, saw someone in distance and realised it was Simon, he's kicked my arse in Devil so i hadn't expected to see him but he was struggling with knee :( i made sure he was ok and left him with Robert & Penny and ran on.
Got to last checkpoint and just grabbed stuff and ran on, Vicky was there as was Alan who started chasing me shouting at me(abut grapes lol) then singing to me at which point i accelerated ;) worked in fling that did too, anyone needing a wee boost get Alan to sing and you'll take off into the night! hahaha Caught up with Donald, another teamate and he kindly fixed my bag for me as a keyring was bouncing around doing my nut in. I took off again and didn't see either of them til end.

Passed another marshal who gave very specific instruction towards a big white house, got round corner to find these!
what an amazing, special touch and i was filling u reading them all. I walked the entire length reading them all probably wasted good 5 mins but i couldn't not!
When i thanked Stephen for my message he said *eh? that was months ago!" lol

Saw Jane just up road from here and gave her my bag but I'd forgotten i was going to change into my harmeny vest before i finished, och well.
It wasn't long after her that Vicky caught me in the forest, she was flying! We had bit of chat about times and reckoned we'd both sub6 hrs if we kept at it. I stopped to tie my lace then carried on, then stopped again to bloody tie it, i have lock laces and just not got round t putting them in yet, must get it done"! Anyway, i ran on and couldn't see Vicky, crikey, she really mustve had put on a good sprint i thought. I got back down onto seafront to see Paul there. I said something about Vicky flying past and he said she'd not come through yet, i actually thought he was joking but he said he'd been there for an hour. Fuck, poor Vicky, she'd taken wrong turning, was gutted for her.

Last few miles were along coastline and i *thought* i was still on for sub6, of course if I'd read instructions properly I'd have sen it said 36.5 miles not the 36 i had in my head. My garmin beeeped at 36miles just i got to Murdo who was as cheery & smiley as ever,he told me it was just up into town and I'd be done. Cruel wee hill at corner and finish line was in sight. wooop, I'd done it. 6hours and 1 min! lol

Great finish with al the flags, Fab medal! i love medals i do :o)

Cant praise this race enough, Huge well done to Sarah and all the fabulous marshalls. Superbly organised, gorgeous route, what more could you ask for? Thats it for me in the SUMS series and it was quite frankly a perfect end to a pretty damn good year!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Tourist Dodging

Wasn't going to run home yesterday but it was such a lovely day i couldn't resist. Had to work out least painless way to get to meadows from St Andrew Square though.

Went straight along Thistle st then up south st charlotte st before hell descended on me. My time i was at corner of Lothian road, oh at least 2 mins later i was actually swearing at people and doing 11min miling ffs. Running into the meadows was like an oasis of calm, just brilliant, and Duran Duran came on as i got there so upped the pace and ran with smile on face, loving it :)

Got home, did my weights and gave myself a crackerjack pencil.

After some contemplation i made decision to ditch Glasgow Half, which i actually really enjoy, to do Perth50k. Several reasons for this. Susan wants me to go down to Dumfries to do her club half, nt been down to visit for long enough so i have to really :) I've never done a 50k before so it's a new distance and i think with it being flat and on tarmac it will give me good training for upcoming Marathons i've got. There are quite few people doing it i know so it'll be a lovely sociable race and i can stay and cheer folk on after, oh and drink wine and tease them ;) This of course means 2 Ultras in 2 weeks, probably need to take it fairly easy week inbetween.

This might sound crazy tosome folk but i think Ultra runnin makes me lazy, any sign of a hill and i'm walking, i've forgotten how to run 26miles and need to get that idea back in my head. Looking to PB at both half & Marathon distance before the year is out.

In other news i've just been contact by a reporter from The Herald who wants to do a piece about New Ultra Runers (Tim's fault, he agve her my name!)watch this space..

Crikey, was this almost a running blog?soon sort that out...

Jules is coming through from Stirling today as there is show he wants to see. He has ended up booking us tickets for 2 shows and got table booked for dinner, it's going to be a busy night! Plan is to run into twn when he arrives, go join the gym, go collect tickets. Come back home, shower & change and head out for dinner. I'm going to behave like proper tourist, stopping in my tracks in middle of street, slowing down to snails pace in a lame excuse to walk. Barging through queues without regard for anyone. Getting on bus with £20 and not understanding why i cant get change. Asking driver for direction on map then getting back off bus again. Oh and standing at top of stairs of bus so no one can get past!

Alcohol will be involved.


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Stiffen up girl!

Feeling bit stiff this morning, my arms and my core, ouchies. Could do with nice rubdown, any offers?

Day 3 of weights, i've already upped the anti and started doing more reps, get me! Didn't hula Hoop yesterday, i'm onlydoing that about 3 times week as 30 mins of that hurts next day!

Contemplating joining a gym but needto decide whether i'll use the damn thing or not, used to get free use of Roxburgh Hotel gym through WoodMac and that was handy, but would my money be better spent elsewhere> ie- on champagne lol! only kidding.. I mean on everything else, i've not had a bloody holiday this yr, plenty weekends awy yes, all of which involved running a rather long way and drinking rather a lot. Ultra running good for your health? I think not, well not if you've no willpower, that'll be me then!

Actually there is a gym is could join for £16.99 month and no joining fee or contract so that would be good. Personal trainers available... hmm that just about seals it! :)
Might take a donder up after work and have a look, see if they can entice me in...

Had nice day yesterday, Monday's are usually rubbish but although busy as ever it was made all the more pleasant somehow by certain people.Wasn't even spoilt by stupid tourists , s'all good.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sensible Sandra

That would be a new one huh? I had the offer of a date on friday and i chose to stay in, like the good girl that i am!

Had girls lunch on Saturday. Last time we were out we wandered past Apex Hotel in Waterloo place, the bar looked rather nice so we popped in for glass of bubbles. We notcied they had this deal on >
So we made date for our next lunch and went there. No one (except me) wanted to go to gym so we just went for swim. Well tried to anyway. (rant alert)

There was only one person in pool when we first got there so i (thankfully) decided to swim as many lengths as possible before it got any busier (not a big pool!) I managed 50 before few more folk came in. Of course they weren't there to swim, oh no. I mean who goes to the pool and ACTUALLY swims? Surely everyone goes just to sit and the end blocking the whole fuckin side and sit and talk!!! aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh

Somehow i manged to squeeze in 130 lengths (it was only 12metres long, I'm no sharon davies!) whilst *accidentally* kicking the bobbers at the end. Next time I'll suggest that they all go round to someones house and talk to each other whilst one of them is in bath, save the bother of swimpoolrage.

Lunch was really lovely, and we only had 2 bottles of wine between 5 of us!! yes really. Mind you one was driving but still... Usually a few of us would head out after but no one was up for it so there i was all dressed up with no place to go :( I schlepped off home and sat and watched the results on Sky sports news and faffed around watching crap telly and faffing around on FB, Twitter, Txt...

Something/someone prompted me to re-read some of my old blogs on Fetch, crikey there are hundreds of posts, lots i don't even remember. Good to look back on though, it charts all the break up stuff, the *should i take him back* stuff etc & it makes you realise how far you can come and how much your life can change in a relatively short time. I also had look at my training and realised i was getting better times when i was doing bit of cross training on top of *just* running. The cross training I'd *prefer* is not available ;)so i guess I'll have to get the weights back out again.

My blog about Fling relay in 2009 and subsequent buying of trail shoes next month made me smile,never thought I'd feel need to buy trails shoes haha how things really do change.

So here i am a year & 7 Ultras Later, and actually really quite happy my life thank you very much. Yes I'd like to have more money, yes I'd like a holiday, Yes, I'd like to go on occasional dinner date but hey I'll make the best from what I've got in meantime.

Woke up super early this morning and eventually got up around 5.45! Mental. So i went out for run about 6.30, just did 7 miles but it was nice. Came back and got weights out and did them for first time in ages, new regime starts here!

I've cleaned house from top to bottom, made soup & prepped dinner. Footyfest time!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Kicking Back & catching up and raging

I have a condition which is pretty much incurable. It tend to flare up at certain times of the year and is most prevalent around August time, it lessens as September kicks in and flares up occasionally in Oct, and most definitely in December.

As far as i know there is no cure, i deal with it by drinking alcohol, running and taking big deep breaths whilst muttering obscenities under my breath.

as i leave work and get closer to princes st i can feel the pressure building and sure enough, my condition soon kicks in big time...

am of course talking about Tourist rage!
Anyway ....

Got call from Martyn on Wednesday to tell me he'd been contacted by my old MD and offered a job and he wanted to meet me to discuss it. Martyn has worked on & off for me for last 12yrs, and since me & Nat moved to new place he was only one of my team left on his lonesome and he wasn't too happy.

Anyway, we met for a *drink* haha, who are we kidding? waaay too many for a school night but it was fun night and the job sounds great so i told him to go for it (he got it)

i had bit of lie on Friday and didnt run. Saturday i met up with Jemima, it's always messy..

Jemima got me Kitchins vouchers for my birthday (in feb) and we've been trying to get booked ever since. Either i've go a race, training weekend or whatnot, or she's at some dance thing or off on holiday. Everytime our diaries are free we could never get booked up for Kitchins! aaargh, i got bit narky with them last time i tried to book and she suggested i try their new sister restaurant which had literally just opened. So i did and we got booked up hurrah!

Table booked for 12 and even though i left house in plenty time i was late due totourists (aaaaargh!) got there around 12.15 to find J enjoying an aperitif, i ordered one too and we were shown to our table. Food, service, everything about this place was just superb. Will defnitely go back.

Left there around 2.45 and took a wander up to Tigerlilly,saw this t shirt enroute! :)

yeah, i know, i'm hardly ever there huh? ;) This time however we were VIP's

Last time Susan visited I'd taken her there and they had an offer on. Half price Pink Prosecco, which came with strawberries & mini cupcakes so of course we opted for that.Having delivered the bubbly & the strawberries the cupcakes were nowhere to be seen so i asked about them and they told me they were in the oven baking. I asked about an alternative and we got delicious strawberry tarts, but only after asking.

After deciding to have another bottle same thing happened again! no way were *still in oven* We got extra strawberries this time, but again only after asking. I rarely complain unless there is a valid reason, and being told porkies is a valid reason i reckon so i mailed the Manager. Got a very prompt and apologetic response and a promise of free bubbles next time i was in, hence VIP treatment.
They made us special *normal sized* cupcakes with sparkly T (for tigertilly, in case your thick) on them, and we also got the mini ones & strawberries too!

Bearing in mind we'd just been for 3 course lunch & not wanting to appear rude seeing the trouble they'd gone to (they don't do cupcakes on Saturdays)

They sat there until we were on 2nd bottle where we tried to eat one between us then wrapped the other in a napkin and shoved it in J's handbag! lol i wonder what state her bag was in the morning?

After 2 bottles there we took a wander, got txt from Mental Keith asking if we were still out as he was in town. He came into pub saying "i just looked for a table with bottle of bubbly on it" lol well we did...

After That we headed to Castle Arms as our friend Gary used to own it and both of us worked there too at some point! then we headed to Victoria St to an Irish bar where a band was playing. Kept getting random txt of number i didn't recognise. Turns out it was Stephens football coach! Stephen said i should go out with him cause he was buying them al champagne last weekend and drinks in all places i do.Comes to something when my own son is trying to fix me up! Anyway, txt went on pretty much all night, by time we were in grasmarket Jemima admitted defeat and needed to go home and i went off to meet said Football coach! lol, blind date after drinking for 12 hrs, go figure!

Back to Tigerlily but i arrived before him and got chatted up and bought drinks by another bloke so he wasn't best pleased when he arrived hahaa Anyway, he got me out of there quick to get me away from the other bloke and took me to Tonic where i had some French Martinis and by 2am i was fading fast, funnily enough. He got me a taxi and i headed off home to much needed bed.

Sunday i didn't get up til 11.30! :-o longest lie in ever! Rest of day was spent sunbathing in garden. Kelly came up (Stephens girlfriend) and joined me and we lay there watching Stephen cleaning up BBQ.So no running to speak off! Cracking weekend though.

Ran to work all week so far though and yesterday i ran 3 times! Every time anyone from Fetch visits Edinburgh we organise a bit of a get together. ie- a run round Arthurs seat then to the pub! John was visiting fetchie this time.

Susan was coming up from Dumfries so we decided to run down there from my house. Got home just as Susan arrived, quickly got changed and waited on Soph who as usual was late. Eventually got txt from her saying just to meet her at Holyrood as traffic was bad.
Just as we approached the meadows Ian S appeared from nowhere and joined us on run down. Then we bumped into Soph soon as we hit Park so 4 of us ended up arriving together. Got down there and waited on everyone else arriving, Ian (diff one lol) txt to say he'd be late and he'd catch us by running towards us, which he did :) We always stop at this bench to let everyone catch up and take the obligatory shot!

Soph as per usual had to have an incident.We were running down hill and i took off running down with wild abandon and no fear, it was great. Ian shouted that i was leaving everyone behind so i turned round to shout at Kevin, Soph then turned round to shout and suddenly there was a thud. She'd only gone and ran right into some poor bloke who wassitting quietly enjoying the sun and the tranquility of Arthur Seat! hahahah She booted him right in back. I actually had a sore stomach from laughing, and I'm still laughing typing this. I don't think he wa best pleased that we were all laughing our heads off as he was rubbing his back looking really quite pissed off! lol again, typical Sophster.Thenit was off to Pub! Well most of us anyway. Ian & Bob both went off home, not together though lol. Had great fun in pub even though Gavin & John were most upset when they couldn't get chips. I saw someone eating chips at bar after that though and when i went to get drinks i challenged the barman about it. He apologised and sen over some free chips. Wasn't enough to keep the boys happy though and they ended up with crisps. I was fairly sensible and said I'd only have one glass wine then go onto Vodka, but John somehow ended up buying me 2? So i drank one & half and gave other half to Susan who'd gulped her drink down in one practically.

Gavin said his goodbyes and left and then reappeared carrying a rose which he then gave to me. He said a guy gave it to him to give to me! lol Same guy told Susan he "thought i was hot"( i was in my running gear btw)
when i was at bar next he slipped me his phone number telling me he *he didn't normally do this kind of thing* lol

no i wont be calling him. Yes i am too fussy and i always want what i cant have etc...

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Devilling Around

After i finished i just lay on grass in sunshine and drank a much needed cold bottle of water, quickly followed by the best ice lolly ever (thanks Lynn!) and finished off with a post fuel drink from my wonderful support one man band. Was great to catch up and find out how everyone had done. Andy & Mike stormed home and were on a high! see above cheesy grin, he was even doing a wee highland fling!

We sat and clapped and cheered everyone in and drank wine & beer in sunshine, great stuff. Popped along to presentation, had quick bite to eat but couldn't stomach much, tried to offload it on Ian but he went in search of his own plate. Checked into Lodge and screamed a bit in shower at my chaffed back :( Phil fell asleep on top bunk snoring and me & Anna chatted away and laughed at him :)

George txt to say *meet in dining room in 10mins* ffs! i hadnt ever dried my hair! So we were bit late as 3 of us tried to get dressed and hair dried in teeny space. (bloody bunkhouses!)Phil took longest, fixing his hair, deciding what to wear .....By then George has tcxt back to say *we're in pub round corner* & before long we were too.

Cue a night of much hilarity (mainly down to Simon, lol@ squash racquet's) and mucho wine. Great night with great friends. Up in morning for one last rollcall for huge breakfast downstairs with grumpy cow of a waitress. Lots of hugs goodbye and we set off for home.
We decided to stop off in Tyndrum for a drink, only to run into these tourists ;)
Out of all the SUMS races so far this year i think i found the Devil the hardest. Not entirely sure why. I found it waay tougher than the Fling, but then i trained lots on the route, I'd only done minimal training on upper half, perhaps it was that?
Weirdly enough looking back on my training when i logged it on Fetch, i was quicker pace wise! in fact the fling was my slowest pace race (well if you don't count D33 & Clyde & GEDM which are all flatter)
Mind you i recovered pretty quickly, slight stiffness on Sunday and fine by Monday. Maybe i just didn't try hard enough? Was running to work by Tuesday.
So upshot is that it would appear I'm getting quicker over that terrain and distance, yet i felt much slower. All i know is it's now time to up the ante and get proper fit for next year. I would like to lose bit weight before as I'm hoping that'll help a bit. And I'll be doing a many training runs in as i possibly can, even if it's solo ones, i might just take off on a whim and go run for couple days.
And i really really need to get to gym do do some weights,i just need the bloody kick up arse to do it! ideally I'd like a personal trainer to kick me into shape, even just once a week but cant afford it. Hey ho.
Next up, Speyside. I'm going to try and not come 42nd as I've just looked at results and I've come 42nd in 3 of the ultras, and 24th in one (less runners tho) weird or what?
Are 4 + 2 lucky numbers? we'll see

Monday, 9 August 2010

Better the Devil you know

Depends on how well you know him though huh?

I never expected to be running the Devil, i knew i would one day of course. Just didn't expect it to be this year with it filling so bloody quickly then they closed the reserve list. But God (or the Devil) works in mysterious ways....

I wasn't nervous at all, not like i hadn't done training, the mileage wasn't an issue and the route familiar. Familiar ish anyway. Last time I'd done parts of it was supporting Jen last yr. There were wee sections i hadn't done in light at all. The run off the devil being one (we ran up there few weeks back but not down other side) the long long decent into Kinlochleven and although it was light last time i did climb out of that godforsaken place i must've been delirious as there are huge bits i just don't remember!


Got home from work, packed then patiently waited on my carer and his Girlfriend arriving. Think it was around 8 they got here, quick coffee and we hit road.

We contemplated stopping at Paddy's knowing *everyone* was there, but decided against it as Phil was driving and desperate for drink.
Arrived at Bridge of Orchy around 10.30. Straight into bar and I'd like to have said drinks straight away. Except there was a weejie stag party who'd just ordered a round. All of them drinking pints Tennents, only one pint pulled at a time. I nearly leapt over bar and grabbed bottle of wine myself. When i asked for large glass of dry white i was offered Cabernet, Merlot or Shiraz. (he was polish) Great start! By time me & Anna had taken a sip of our drinks Phil had one gulp left of hs pint! :-o Think he might've needed that.

We were of course last to leave bar and got to bed around 1am. Up again at 4... As usual, great Ultra Prep! Had weetabix for brekkie then headed off to Tyndrum to pick up numbers and hug everyone in sight, Lovely to see Steve and his wee boy who'd came along just to cheer us on, dedication or what? it was his wee boys birthday too, bless.

Few pics and suddenly we were off
***breaking news******
i interrupt this blog to tell that the bubbly that i am currently drinking is reduced alcohol. what the fuck? why? and why is it on back of bottle, not the front in HUGE LETTERS? I'm boycotting sainsburys now. (until i need to eat again anyway) ****

back to the race. Twas a misty morning and everyone took off up the hill, probably last time that everyone actually ran up a hill for rest of race lol I really like the 1st section i love running towards that big pointy hill, don't ask me the name I'm useless at that kinda thing!Met Robert here and reminded him this was where I'd met him for 1st time on WHW race, we ran together towards BoO chatting away and before we knew it we were at first checkpoint! Saw Sophi and gave her big hug, gutted she didn't start race, was hoping she'd maybe be at next checkpoint & i could've persuaded her to run rest of way with me.

Up the hill where i was caught by Tim, he got to top then went flying down other side like a mountain goat! back down to where support crew (Aka Phil) was waiting all tooled up and netted up. I hadn't touched my drinks but he made me take a drink out and swapped one over.

next up is road bit, past all the campers then up towards Moor. Passing this lovely house that i hope some secret millionaire will buy me one day so i can turn it into a beautiful Guest house. The Midgies were out in full force, as soon as were through the gate past the house it was horrific. worst ever seen. Little fuckers, they are truly evil little creatures. You could actually feel yourself running through whole sheets of them, just awful. I kept wiping my face and my hands were covered in films of black mush. *bokes* Look at my arm! eeeurgh

passed Anna here which i was quite surprised by, i thought she'd be waay ahead but she was having knee niggles :( Kept swapping places on moor with Robert and another bloke who's name i didn't get. Seemed to get to end of moor quicker than usual, most odd because all i could think of where the evil Midgies, maybe they took my mind off the run! I love getting to that corner where you see the Kingshouse Hotel nestled down in middle of nowhere, you know Glencoe is just around the corner. Got to checkpoint and Phil changed my drinks and rubbed me down along with lovely Jane, they managed to rid me of the midge fest that had covered me.Phil told me Simon was 9 mins ahead of me and to go catch him lol

Didnt stay long i waved a cheery goodbye and set off on a new journey. I'd not ran down to Kingshouse before! it was over in flash though and soon i was on way towards Devil, a section I'd only ever covered in complete darkness. It was hillier than i remembered, well not hilly, just hilly(er) lol

Got to bottom of devil which is oh so familiar and i started the climb up. I don't find the Devil so bad , maybe it's because of the spectacular views,or maybe it's the snaking back and forth like snakes & ladders rather than a mental uphill climb? It's still tough though and every step i took and struggled on, i starting thinking about next years WHW race, this is where i started to worryy a bit.

As usual you are suddenly upon summit almost without warning, i was greeted here with jelly babies and huge smiles from the lovely twins from carnegie, most welcome, many thanks. Then i trotted down towards Painlochelven, aka Kinlochleven. As usual, you cant see it, then you can, then you can, then you cant.I'd lost Tim just after Victoria bridge and suddenly i hear voices behind me and once again he bounds past me down hill mountain goat styleee! I'd only done top part of this in light. so as i got closer to painlochleven i started to question myself and wonder if i'd gone wrong (it was such a loong road!) but i'd passed a couple of guys and stopped every so often to see if i could hear them and i could so i carried on! Was well signposted at bottom thankfully :)

Got into Kinlochleven and it was the same glorious sunshiney day that is was when me & Jen & Steve ran along there wondering whether we'd be timed out for WHW race! And although i remember running along this road and going through woodland opposite a bus stop again i started to question myself. Soon saw sign though and headed off through woods and gorgeous waterfalls towards next checkpoint.
Got there to find George , top off standing beside Phil drinking a beer! He'd got cramp so threw in towel, he has bigger fish to fry and all that. I was jealous though and kindadidnt want to leave. George informed me Simon was 10 mins ahead, i said to him that i reckoned Simon needed to beat me this time and was happy for him but George said, *fuck that, go kick his ass* lol :o)

Phil filled my back and sent me on my way.Here we go. OMG, had i blanked this part out my head? i actually cannot remember climbing up these bloody steep, bloody rocky paths last time, not at all! I remember every step now. I remember getting tourist rage at 2 backpackers who were in front of me on that rocky steep narrow path, who i said EXCUSE ME 3 fuckin times to, i remember passing all the lovely other people who kept telling me i was mad, and i agreed with them everytime.

Worth the climb for views like that though eh? > >

my feet were beginning to hurt, yeah, well they would i hear you say, you've just ran 30 miles. But I've never had sore feet before. Not even after 55 miles. Again doubts started to creep in about next yr. By time i was on the rocky road to lundavra i was in a bit of a pit that i couldn't get out off. This was new to me, all this year I've raced and had no issues, no bad patches or low points that most folk talk of. Well that'll teach me for being so smug huh?

There were tons tourists around here, mainly in big groups, all very encouraging and nice, it really does spur you on when you're thinking about walking! It was here that Ellen passed me, she gave me bit of encouragement and flew on ahead! Then i got caught by Frank who I'd passed earlier on as he stopped at medic about his feet. Had bit of chat with frank and it was here that i realised i was taking easy way out, copping out and basically just not trying hard enough. I'd beat Ellen & Frank at last few races yet here i was not *really* pushing myself.

This was kick up arse i needed
So with that in mind i bade Frank farewell and took off. It was on this section i overtook about 6 people, people i didn't see again til race finished. I passed the twins again and they told me i had about a mile to go to Lundavra, i was confused, hadn't i seen them on top of devil? As you can see some parts look very bleak> but hey i'm still smiling

Got to Lundavra & was delighted to see Ian & Lorraine as i hadn't expected anyone to be there. They gave me water & a flapjack which was just what i needed. Richie C asked me if i had vodka in bottle i was swigging out off which reminded me i'd not touched my vodka that Phil put in my bag at Painlochleven! I decided to wait til i was at next hill then treat myself so that's what i did. I adore the forest section but hate it at same time, there are fair few climbs and some lovely downhills too, all the uphill parts i once again let my mind wander to next year and how i'll cope 90 miles in and struggling through here... more vodka....

It looked stunning though with the sun streaming through he trees, lifted me somewhat.

then suddenly you're out in glorious sunshine and you catch you first proper glimpse of Ben Nevis, wow

Then it's downhill, glorious if somewhat stupid downhill. I rn like a loony and let gravity take me, suddenly i heard someone shouting then spotted a fetch top in distance! Cue a rendition of *what's that coming over the hill is that a feetchie, is that a fetchie?* lol! scared all tourists when i ran past singing out loud and waving hahaha

It was Kev, i gave him a hug and he told me Lynn and Sarah were further down the hill, cue repeat preformance when we spotted each other in distance! Gave Sarah a hug and she went on up loooking for gavin and Lynn ran with me all way down to road with me repeatedly telling me *ffs Sandra i've not done 7min miling for abut a yr!*

look, i'm still smiling even though my legs really started to hurt on those downhills!

Then suddenly we hear something behind us and there's Gavin! Wow, this is thesame gav who was doing his first Ultra and *taking it easy* due to being injured pretty much all yr! awesome. I never thought braveheart carpark would arrive, the road semed to go on forever! Eventually we arrived at same gate we'd waited at in pitch dark for Phil on WHW only shrt while ago.I was very please to see it!

Had to keep taking walking breaks when i got to the road as i'd really fucked up my legs beasting the downhill, Richie passed me gooing towards braveheart telling me, c'mon Sandra, it's only round corner! It felt like a long way though and every effort was needed to keep moving. Gavin caught me again, i told him to go onbut he wouldnt. He suggested we finish together. What a gent he is. So that'swhat we did, he got me running again and we ran towards finish hand n hand, happy as larry!

to be continued......


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...