Monday, 30 May 2011

Run like the wind

This blog has been floating around in cyberspace after our PC was *attacked* by a spy bot or i need to try and remember what I've done in past week and half...

Not sure about running like the wind but we certainly had to try and run against it at Dunblane Hydro 7.5mile Road Race.

Weather was looking quite bright when we got up, closer we got towards Dunblane the more the car was shaking. Storm clouds were gathering too, followed by sun splitting through clouds, usual Scottish weather then.... Parked car at bottom of hill and proceeded trek up there, Ian pointing out to me that this was last half mile of race. hmmm. Worse was to come as we entered road up to Hotel, yikes. I was out of breath just walking up the hill and when we got to top i nearly got blown back down.

I said "there's no way i'll be running up here!"

He said "you'd better, i'll be watching, oh and i want you in under an hour"

Got inside and found Jane & Debs, then spotted Jules huddled under window with curtains wrapped round him. I wandered over and asked if he was thinking of nicking them or taking up interior design. Turns out he was just cold, he's just done a recce of course as instructed by his coach, this didn't bode well at all. Now Jules is a fair weather runner it has to be said, i love him dearly but he has had more holidays, oh i mean training weeks abroad this year than I've had in past 6 years but he wasn't helping by telling me just how col & windy it was , especially near the worst hills.

How not to prepare for a race, listen to what Jules has to say and watch him shivering.

Soph arrived, late as usual but made it outside in time for start at bottom of hill, we don't even get to run down the damn thing! Anyway, bishbashboash and we're off. The course is certainly undulating, but i was really enjoying it. Between miles 4 and 5 i was attempting to run up a hill and i swear i was going backwards with the power of the wind throwing me around. I started to overtake people here too which was good wee booost. I powered on as hard as i could and was soon overtaking people on hill where we'd parked. One more to go, as i entered hotel grounds for that last climb that i was never going to run i glanced at garmin 59.35, there was no chance of me getting under an hour unless i whipped out my cape and flew up the damn thing.

Not that i didn't give it a damn good try though (running, not flying, i left my cape at home)and i got to top of hill running every single step. Finishing in 1hr 2min and 10secs. I was quite happy with that actually. I'd only done the 20mile night run on the Friday so i guess on fresher legs the sub60 should be doable. Really enjoyed the race, and the course. On a nice day it would be even more enjoyable.Very well organised lovely but tough course and great encouraging Marshall's. I can highly recommend!

Afterwards Ian went off to see his boys and i went out for lovely lunch in Bridge Of Allan with Jane,Allan, Jules, Fionna & Soph.Top day all round methinks.

I took a rest day on Monday, although it was bank holiday i was working til one and it was nice quiet day. Took Ian out for lunch at Tigerlily, been too long since i was there and we deserved it for our efforts over weekend i reckon. I most definitely need a day there with the girls again soon.

I ran every other day last week and ran home one day but ended up on naughty step over it. I wasn't going to but it was such a lovely day! Couldn't quite resist. Ian said no more doubles til after race. Still, made gym twice and ran 5 times.

On Wednesday the DJ on radio was talking about going to see Evita the previous night, i recall seeing it advertised a while back and said I'd wanted to go. Hopped on PC and managed to get tickets for Friday evening, wooop! Work was pretty crappy & stressful last week so it gave me something to look forward to. I really enjoyed it, and got poked by Ian every time i sang along lol.

Saturday we headed out to Kilbarchan for Lilias day, which is basically a galaday by any other name ;) I didn't win on the tombola, that's all you need to know.

Then it was off to Thomas & Silke's for a party, fantastic hosts, superb food and great company. Clearly lots and lots of talk of WHW race happening, great fun for a newbie like myself to listen to tactics of the great & good. I do wonder if Thomas is secretly some sort of superman. Great runner, Great cook, can play the piano and is a superb artist. Is there anything this man cant do? Answers on a postcard please...

I decided not to run on Sunday and spent it being a sloth,sometimes you just have to sloth it.


Spent day catching up on TV I'd taped, but still didn't manage to catch *how to train your dragon* as recommended by Marco, who admits to watching it over and over, without Cairn...

Wee 5 mile race in corstorphine tomorrow, full of speedy club runners and likes of Kate Jenkins, think i may be last....

Saturday, 28 May 2011


Cateran Trail- Ian very kindly let me sleep and went off to do sort out drop bags at 5.30am, or silly o clock as he called it. Normal time for me that is.

I woke up in panic with sun streaming through the window and feared I'd slept through the race, in reality it was 7.50am. Ian got back after doing drop back duties and we went off for breakfast. We left hotel around 9 as our front runners were expected around 10ish to our first checkpoint at Den Of Alyth(26m)
We arrived same time as Colin Knox's parents and they very kindly (along with quite few other's who arrived as i was down in park) helped us ship all the bags from car to the park. Ian was on timing duties and i was on sorting drop bags. First through were the 2 Paul's, Paul who went on to win race only started running last yr, his family were lovely and really excited for him.

It was great being on other side of fence and watching people come through and trying to help where i could. Everyone was most appreciative and there were plenty smiley faces around at halfway point. Once the sweepers passed through we packed up and headed off for next CP at Enochdu, stopping very briefly to pick up and sandwich for us and a beer for Phil who'd requested one at last CP . We were bit worried about arriving too late as we were expected thre around 1.30 but were a good 20mins later. I'd got txt from Phil to say he'd pulled out at Blairgowrie, he is being cautious and sensible (shock) so he can make start of WHW.

Luckily we were fine, got updates from Karen as people progressed through CP's, she had it going like clockwork. Paul's family had arrived just before us and were super excited by now at prospect of him winning his first race. We had bit of chat about races etc and Paul came through looking fine and took off strong for last 6 miles. Weather was getting bit rank by now and it was raining pretty heavily, Ian stayed in car doing times (so sheet didn't get soaked) whilst i sorted peoples bags. Again everyone was lovely,i made sure folk knew what was ahead of them before they left though, ie- 5miles of climbing lol!

Colin's parents arrived looking worried as they'd had missed call from him, I'd already warned him there'd be no dropping out at our checkpoints but it was all fine in the end, a phantom phone call as you were. Mike came through in 3rd place even after getting lost for bit and was looking really strong, he had smashing race. Andy less so, he'd been with Mike for most of race but had been throwing up fair bit. Still went on to finish in 5th place though!

Bob & Sean arrived to relieve us of our duties, and as much as i wanted to see all my freinds through i was fading a bit by then, we did drive up to Kirkmichael to see few folk through en route though and managed to catch Anna before heading back to Glenshee. Quick medicinal glass of wine and catch up and i went back to room for what felt like best bath I've ever had. 2 days of WHW, 76 miles and full days marshaling were soaked away nicely. Back into my dress and heels and i felt normal again. Was great watching everyone come in, still smiling even if looking as bad as i had finishing in FW (ie-soaked through and bedraggled) Cracking night was had catching up with good freinds & drinking too much wine and champagne for late Birthday Celebration for Jane. Well done Karen for pulling off another fabulous race. I'll be back in some capacity next year again.

By Monday i felt fully recovered and was back up at my normal time of 4.30 and ran to gym then to work. I've ran everyday this week but decided to take rest day on Friday as we had 20m run planned that night. As it happened i got to bus stop to find it was 17min wait so i ran til bus came and managed a few miles, even though i was fully dressed for work lol

Friday night. Plan was for Headtorch run at 11pm from Milngavie to Balamaha. I've not done much headtorch running at all. First time ever was doing back up for Jen on WHW 2yrs ago, and I've done few wee runs. So this was new territory, a chance to see how it's going to be in the actual race. Crazy Oz Keith kindly offered to run us so picked us up around 9pm, we drove to Balamaha where JohnK was parked up in his Firestarter Minibus ready to transport us back down to Minlgavie to start running. Quite daunting to have such quality runners such as Richie & Marco as part of group i have to say.

I didn't feel good for most of the run, i had crippling stomach pains and felt sick for very good part of it. Not sure if it was my body freaking right out for making it run at 11pm or what but i gritted teeth and got on with it. I managed to take a tumble again, not on tricky rocky parts or hills, oh no, i had to fall on probably flattest piece of tarmac we'd come across all night. Numpty.Oh well, yet snother bleeding knee.
Getting used to running with headtorch is odd, i felt like i had tunnel vision. And it's strange running not really knowing where you are, we are so used to looking around and recognising our surroundings, it was interesting(and a tad worrying!) to hear Ian say he'd got lost as had many other's in this section. So not only do you have to be vigiliant to not fall over, you have to check where you're going and not always blindly follow people in front i guess!

As we came through Forest section on approach to conic hill we started coming across carnage.At that point Richie called to say it was only going to get worse, he recommended we divert but we'd came across them by then so carried on at first. Massive trees had blocked the path. I got over one but next one was almost impossible. We could see Keith's headtorch through the branches as he clambered around the firs (ouch) and we decided then we should turn around. Keith said he was going to bash on and try and get through somehow. We bade farewell and headed with heavy hearts back up towards road. We ended up running into Drymen centre then down road towards Balamaha, this wasn't part of plan and we were both fedup . Keith called to say he'd got big lost and was heading towards lights but wasn't sure where it was, turned out he came off just before Conic after managing to get through all those bloody trees!

We still ended up running 20miles, and i did the whole section that I'm going to need my headtorch for during race so it was a great training run in the end, a bit of an adventure to say the least.Many thanks to Keith for being chauffuer and to Johnk too. Got home at 5am , quick shower and straight to bed, although i felt ready for bed i could've easily went to work as my body clock was and used to being up ready to run by now! So that's me covered every section (well except for diversion) of WHW. I'm as ready as i'll ever be to take on this race, i have a great crew ready to look after me and training is in the bag, taper time now.

Wine tasting later followed by Champions league final. Woop.

Racing tomorrow in Dunblane then meeting my lovely friends for spot of lunching.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Why does it always rain on me.....

So there i was standing in Balmaha car park at 10am on Wednesday morning ready to take on my biggest challenge to date. The biggest back to back i'd done was a 29 & 25 last yr, when training for Fling.

The nerves had gone and i was fairly relaxed and ready to run. Ian said he'd see me around Rowardennan and off i went.

I felt really comfortable and the weather was spot on, overcast with the occasional shower which was just fine. Met quite a few walkers, mostly foreign by sounds of things and everyone was very friendly. Ian ran out few miles to meet me and i arrived at Rowardennan slightly ahead of target (1.27) I was quite happy to push on so we just ran straight through. Ian left me a couple of miles in and i was on my own again. I was told the target for Inversnaid and off i went. I felt really comfortable and was really enjoying myself and got to Inversnaid again slightly ahead of target (1.25) I needed a drinks top up so popped in to use Loo and buy some Irn Bru, 5mins stop off.

After leaving there i thought i might struggle a bit, it was this section during Fling that I'd fallen for 2nd time and really hurt myself. I had taken it very slowly trying not to bash my leg from the earlier fall which just made me bash it even more.

Different day, Different run. During Fling i swear i was tripping over blades of grass, I'd barely even stumbled this time and bouncing over the rocks with big grin passing lots of walkers on way. Quick stop to say goodbye to Loch Lomond and i knew i only had couple miles left til Beinglas,the miles just felt seamless and time flew by easily. This was my day.

I stopped to take picture of where i had fallen, it felt a very long to Beinglas that day. Ian appeared just round the corner and we before we knew it i was there,target 3 achieved. Again i was happy to carry on running so Ian ran down to car to get refills for me and caught me a mile down the road.

I was on the home straight, on the part i didn't get/chose not to do a mere 3weeks ago. I was more than happy to be back. Ian was leaving me at Derrydaroch but there was big cow standing on middle of bridge so i made him stay til i got past safely lol

On my own again, the miles ticked along nicely and again i was enjoying every step, it reminded me of my first fling. Ian met me few miles from end, he had checked into B&B which was just round corner from Fling Finish. The rain was starting to come down heavy now and i was happy to get inside for hot shower and cup tea.

Finish time of 7hr27mins. Refuelled at Paddy's and rewarded with wine. All good.

Had rubbish night's sleep, not sure if it was strange bed, restless legs or worrying about next day but hey ho. Up for breakfast at 8 and plan to set out for 9. Nice big fry, several cups of tea and back to room to pack bag for day. Weather looked awful, rain was relentless and the clouds were growing darker by the minute. I was wearing vest but took long sleeved top, hat, gloves, buff and a jacket of course, which i had on to start.

Ian made me run back down to By the way and start where i finished yesterday, which obviously meant that within 2 minutes i was wading through a freezing cold river. Woke me up anyway. Legs felt ok by time i got to the corner shop and off i went up the hill on the long journey ahead. Rain cleared by 3rd mile and sun came out, yahooo. I took my jacket off and xchanged pleasantries with few walkers and we optimistically said "sun will be out for rest of day now!"

That was wishful thinking. Rain came back on in next mile or so and it was pretty heavy by time i got to Bridge of Orchy, few mins behind target (1.20) I decided to take vest off here and change into dry tshirt. I said to Ian to try and dry the vest in case i wanted to put it back on later. What a joke that turned out to be! Headed off up the hill and the weather was getting gloomier by the second. Took 34mins to get to Inveronan Hotel where Ian refilled my bottles. I wasn't really looking forward to Rannoch Moor , i find the ground quite sore to run on and with the weather the way it was i expected doom & gloom.

As usual though it was changing every 5 mins and i got a mix of sunshine and showers all way through Moor. Ian again met me a few miles from end and ran in with me. I wanted to take the proper route and head down towards Kingshouse but he insisted i ran up to the Ski Centre! i wasn't too happy about this and grumbled a bit saying it would add on "at least"a mile and i was running far enough today thank you very much.

"Tough, you'll have to do it on race day" I was told. hhhmph.

Still, i did manage a smile at Ski Centre and the sun was happy to pretend to be in sky for oh, about 5 mins.

time to Glencoe from Hotel 1hr 49

By time i got to Kingshouse storm clouds were gathering and looking rather threatening. I put jacket, gloves and hat on ,seconds later i felt something hit my face. I wondered what the heck it was til it happened again. Bloody Hailtstones! The wind picked up a bit and it was either in my face hail or sleet or rain. Awful. Ian again ran out to meet me and pushed me on a bit here as i was flagging against the elements.

By time i got to bottom of Devil the sun was shining again again. I'm still smiling....

from Glencoe to Devil 56mins, i knew i was flagging!

I decided to keep hat on anyway as i expected it to get worse as i climbed.

It didn't. Lessons for the WHW, never expect anything, it'll only do the opposite.

Devil didn't seem to take long to climb and a kind American offered to take my pic at top, hat discarded by now as i was too hot.

Few miles into decent and few uphilly bits and i could see another rainstorm approaching, back on with hat & gloves and within minutes the hail hit me full in face. Lovely.

Ian had said to me *see you in about hour & half*

Hmm, ok i thought, that should be more than acheivable, it's only 6miles after all. I had requested some soup for when i arrived so that was something to look forward to.

Once i was on that proper downhill i thought i kept thinking, nearly there, nearly there. Of course it never fuckin was. Every single time I've ran down there I've thought that i mustve gone wrong way, took a wrong turn or that someone had actually taken Kinlochleven away and put it at top of a Mountain.

But they didn't, after what felt like forever i got into the fabled town and ran along street wondering where I'd see my Soup (and Ian lol) He was just up from bridge. It took my 1hr 35 to do that section, i thought it had taken me much much longer and Ian if he was mental telling me i could do it in 1hr30. Again i wasn't for stopping, i took the soup and got new bottle Lucozade and carried on. Soup was finished before first climb and the sun made another appearance, hurrah. Maybe my luck was changing, maybe those guys were right way back at BoO. The sun was indeed going to shine......

Ian told me he was heading straight to FW and was going to run back from there and meet me.

THe climb out of Kinlochleven is a killer, today didn't feel quite so bas as it did during Devil strangely enough. Hmm, odd. I got halfway up and took a pic to say goodbye (goodriddance) and was happy sun was still shining. I was back down to my tshirt.

Another lesson. Don't count your chickens......

Of course the sun didn't stay. Within a mile of reaching top the storm clouds were gathering, i put my jacket back on. Hailtstones again, in my face again. It was incredibly windy too and another mile down i was starting to get cold. I decided to stop and put on long sleeved top, so had to take jacket off and put it on, this proved more difficult than it sounds with the wind desperate to take my jacket back to painlochleven and leave me with hypothermia.

After bit of battle i got jacket back on so i had 3 layers on now, the hat was soaked through so i put buff on, my gloves were so wet i mightve as well have thrown them in the many many icy cold rivers i was passing through. I started to lose will a bit. Hadn't seen a single soul since leaving Ian and i was feeling really sorry for myself. I started walking bits i could've ran, through sheer despondency. Crazy i know, clearly if i'd ran i'd get there quicker and clearly it would get me out of the hell that i was in. You start to not think straight after a while though.

There are no more pics to be seen, i couldn't feel my hands and thought they might actually fall off.

I kept thinking, please god, please let Ian have realised how bloody awful this weather is and to have taken car to Lundavra to save me. I got to Lundavra and guess what? God wasn't listening. More despair. 2hrs 5mins from Kinlochleven to Lundavra

About mile and half down track Ian came bouncing towards me, first question i asked was "where's the car?" I was told it was at the Leisure Centre. More despair. "Can you run on ahead and bring it Brave heart Car park please? "

"no, that's not where the race finishes"

"but i have fuckin hypothermia" i said

"you have NO idea how cold i am"

"yes i do" says he.

aaaaaargh.More despair.

"C'mon, keep running" he says, keep moving, it'll warm you up.

" Yes, it will, but a nice warm car will warm me more, cant you just bring it to car park, I'm not bothered about a poxy mile along a poxy road"

"No, every time I've known someone to drop out of a training run early they drop out of race"

I gave up trying, he wasn't for moving.

Pete Duggan suddenly comes bounding towards us, moving like a gazelle through the sleet and mud and quite chirpily told us he was running home (to that fabled town) At that point i thought he was barking. But then i also thought i was to be fair.

As we got to the decimated Forest the rain finally went off, we got up the last climb & Ian pushed me to keep running and running which tbh is fairly easy on such a steep hill. He told me he wanted me in under 10hrs at that point, that pushed me on. Got to Braveheart Car park, and i had one mile exactly to go once i reached the road.

I got the Lochaber Leisure Centre in 9hrs 58mins. I'd done it. Last section took me 1hr 37mins.

Popped into Leisure centre for shower and struggled to get clothes off over my head , shower was brilliant though and as soon as i stepped back outside after drying my hair, guess what?

It started Raining again.....

We stopped off for bite to eat on route to Glenshee and eventually arrived there around 10.30pm in need of a drink. Cant thank Ian enough for the support those 2 day, especially those last miles. Not that i appreciated it at the time mind you.

If i had £1 for every person who said to me over the weekend, it was "character building".......

Cateran Marshall blog and run aftermath blog to follow..........

Monday, 16 May 2011

Tick Tock

Time is moving fast and suddenly it's only 5 weeks til WHW race, how did that happen?

Been running to/from work still and having good & bad days, not sure if I've been fighting off some bug but some days I've felt as though i might as well crawl, my chest has felt tight and I've been really hot. Other days it's totally fine. Most odd.

Been busy wee bee though. Last Wednesday we volunteered our services to Adrian to Marshall at Scottish 5k Road Champs. I was on registration and Ian was directing people to correct lines.Then i was handing out Medals and Ian was directing again, in finishing tunnel this time. Amazing to see these guys, the first three came in under 15mins, crazy fast times. Special people got hugs and kisses with their medal, i did get asked by some why i wasn't offering that to everyone though lol

On Friday i had booked day to to see Jemima, it's seems to be only time we can see each other as weekends are really busy times for both of us. We booked ourselves into The Scotsman Hotel for a spa day. Jemima got us a great deal which included full use of facilities and full body massage.

Have to say it's not one i would rush back to, for a Five Star Hotel it's lacking in detail and customer service wasn't great either.We headed off to gym first, it was first time i've been back since my tumbles at the Fling. My knee has been bit niggly on stairs and it was bit sore kneeling on bosu ball whilst doing weights. We still had a great day though then headed out for late lunch at our favourite Howie's armed with bottle bubbly. We've decided we should get new jobs doing as Spa Critics, our favourite so far is Norton House Hotel. Couldn't fault a thing.

Bit of pub crawl with cocktails after then i had to go meet some other friends for a Birthday dinner. Ultra training is tough work you know....

Saturday was spent watching football all day,disappointed in Man U game but we won League anyway so it's all good. Then it was over to Phil & Liz's for a truly a fantastic dinner and all round brilliant night. Sunday i got to explore parts of Perthshire and was taken out for 10mile trail run with Ian & Doctor Phil. It had mix of everything, the first 4miles being uphill! When it came to downhills Phil bounded down like a mountain goat showing no signs of the injury he's been having problems with. I probably held the boys back by a good 10mins as i think they normally do it in 1hr30 but it took us 1hr41. I just cant run up the hills like they do.... I forgot my camera and was gutted as there were some spectacular sights, it's a beautiful area and a fabulous route.

All round fantastic weekend.

3 day week this week but there'll be no resting. On Thursday i'm running from Balmaha to Tyndrum (on my own) and Friday i'm running to Fort William (with Ian)
I'm actually a bit nervous about it. This is followed by marshalling all day at the Cateran,we're at Den of Alyth then Enochdhu for those of you running.

I'll be a cheap date by Saturday night i reckon....

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Baby Talk

After being "told" by coach that i wasn't allowed to do the Fabulous Cateran Ultra it meant i was given the go ahead to do the Baby one instead.

I'd done this last yr for first time at last minute, i'd never stepped foot on the Cateran trail and even though it was only a week before the Daddy race i decided to head up & recce it, race report back there somewhere with lots pics if you're interested.

After last weeks shenanigans even the baby one looked unlikely. I rested all week and decided to run to work on friday morning to test it out, only 3miles but i was on feet for rest of day so all in all 10hrs in total. Leg fine, decision made.I needed to get running trails and restore the confidence that was bit knocked during my somersaults at Fling.

Donald very kindly offered to pick me up (again, thanks!) and we were picking Gav up enroute.

Arrived at Glenshee and parked , first thing we saw was a bum sticking out a boot. In shape of one George Reid. He still hadn't decided whether he was running or not but said Karen wasn't. They'd been out playing in the Cairngorms for 4 days straight after Fling & had clocked up some mighty impressive mileage and dizzying climbs. After bit of nudging he decided to run.

Quick change of car and down to Blairgowrie to pick up numbers. Here we are modelling our lovely beanies >>>

Quick photo with teammates, and we'd all decided we were just there to enjoy the day.Gavin hadn't been on route before and has been specifically marathon training of late and was happy to stay with me, George as i said earlier has been mountain goating and is still in rehab so equally happy to hang around. So a Ultra running Legend and a 3hr Marathoner, quality company i reckon. I'm not worthy.

After saying he was going to take it easy Donald took off into the distance showing no signs of fatigue from fling. Iain who said he *out to enjoy himself* did same.

Met Karen running towards us about mile from first checkpoint, she was planning on running wee bits and bobs with Jane but as it turned out Jane took wrong turn and ended up pulling out. It didn't stop her joining Karen and being great support instead.

10miles passed very quickly and although we were all melting in the humidity we were all enjoying it, Gavin especially so who treated it like one long picnic and was stuffing his face every time i looked at him! He was loving the route immensely and singing wee songs, clearly this is why he is on my tip top crew for WHW, singing songs is all important.

Half Marathon left and the sun was beating down on us which weirdly made it slightly cooler than it being so humid. Gavin decided to push on with 8 miles left, George & I were happy to carry on just enjoying our day out.

Got to Enochdu which i remembered as being last checkpoint of Daddy Cateran to find the Angels that are Jane & Karen waving and offering us ICE COLD ginger beer. It was heaven and just what we needed for the climbs ahead. Lots of them. Yes that's as hilly as it looks.......Luckily the higher we got the more of a cooling breeze we got, that almost helped from the endless climbs. Funny how i found these hills easier in the Daddy Cateran last yr than in baby one, felt same again this year. I think i must find my mojo around 30miles or something... George was storming on the uphills and i was starting to lose him, Elena also caught us after chasing us for best part of 7 miles.

After what seemed like endless climbs to top there is about 1/4 of mile downhill that is rocky,slippy, marshy and bit dodgy underfoot. I've called it Karens crazybitch hill. It's impossible not to throw yourself down it at great speed!I managed to catch up Elena here after she'd overtook me earlier, then further down once it evens out to proper runnable stuff albeit steep downhill runnable stuff i caught George (& Karen, who'd ran up hill to meet him) who's quads were reminding him of the crazy stuff he'd done earlier in week. Elena caught me again chasing a Pb and i was quite happy to let her pass, Jane was also halfway uphill taking pics.

I bounced down hill quite happily and got gate held open from wee kids who'd been shouting Elena on down the hill. Finished in 4.35, around 10mins slower than last year but i was quite happy with that to be honest.

All in all it restored my confidence which was the grand plan.

You know what they say, when you fall off the bike best thing to do is get back on. It's such a great wee (tough) race and a stunningly beautiful route.

Many thanks to George & Gav for the company and to Donald & Iain for the chauffeuring.

Great day out with friends.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Recovering & Reflecting

So it's been 5 days now since my first DNF and have had time to reflect and think about my decison.
Meet little miss Somersault >>>>>

First of all thanks so much for the many comments, emails & txts I've had, I'm truly touched by people's concern. I was one of lucky ones & didn't end up in hospital, hope the ones who did have a very speedy recovery.

Waking up on Sunday i was stiff & very sore, didn't stop us waking up stupidly early though. I got cooked a rather wonderful breakfast and afterwards i decided to put some savlon on my now unbandaged legs. Biggest mistake ever. I have never in my life experienced pain like it, i was pacing the floors and trying hard not to cry and try to get the cream off but it was too painful. About half later i threw up my breakfast,never again do i want to go through pain like that. Not sure if there was maybe still some grit in leg or what caused it but I'd rather get a tooth out without anaesthetic instead of that pain.

Few painkillers and about an hour of dabbing leg to get rid of the Savlon aka acid off my leg and i started to feel better. It was a beautiful day and we decided to head out into sunshine for walk to stretch legs and sit in sunny beer garden. Great decision, beautiful day and legs were fine (except for the cuts bruises and sore knees) no after effects from my run, but i guess i only did the 41. Ian was fine too though and had finished the whole race. All good.

Unfortunately i was working on Monday but luckily only til 12 so at least it eased my legs into being back on feet all day. I'm waking up way before my alarm every morning, clearly my body is confused by the concept of rest and wants to run. I've ran wee bits to bus stop to test out how knees felt last 2 days and felt OK but achy by end of day but I'm certainly healing as the days pass.

I thought I'd get a big comedown and that I'd be angry/upset about pulling myself out Fling, i expected it to hit perhaps a few days later but it hasn't. I know i did the right thing,last year I'd have carried on, i know i couldve got to the end even the heat wasn't bothering me so much. But last year my focus was the Fling, this year the focus is so much bigger and luckily i have some common sense deep inside my blond head. So it's all good, really it is.

Last night saw us roaming, not in the gloamin but to Troon. Few months ago Ian decided that was going to be the race to mark his 100th 10k so duly entered us both then told me it was few days after Fling. Fine and dandy i said, I'll be ok. Clearly i hadn't anticipated events and i wasn't so i had to put on my supporters hat for this one. I'll leave all the details for Ian to blog about as it's his moment but most people probably know from Facebook or JK's blog. First people we bumped into were JK & Katrina who was looking very relaxed and happy and went on to get cracking Pb, well done!

It was 11.30 by time we got home and my leg was really achy by then having been up since 5.30am and on feet for most of day. Today has been ok so i may or may not attempt a wee run to work tomorrow. This will determine a whether i should turn up for the cateran 23 on Saturday or not. If leg/knee feels ok by end of day (ie-10hours on feet) then it's do-able, if not then it's a non starter, i guess we'll find out tomorrow.....c'est la vie and all that

Weirdly this week i feel like I've been eating more, not less. Does anyone else get like this when injured? Is it just boredom or is my body genuinely hungry from the weekend's efforts? Usually i get hungry the day after not the week after! I wont need to worry about falling down hills soon I'll be rolling down at this rate......

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Not quite to plan

Best Laid plans and all that....

I reckon my training has been spot on for this and i was as ready as I've ever been for a race. No nerves just excitement. Even getting up at 3am wasn't so bad. Not what i said at 3am though, oh no.

We headed off around 4am to pick up one mad Aussie and safely ensconced we set off for Milngavie. Arrived to find carpark full of excitable. First were the Running goddesses that are Sharon & Debs, looking fab as ever. Nervous excitement at start and wasn't too long before Briefing from the ever lovely Murdo "the rules are, there are no rules"Excellent, I'll just get a lift to Tyndrum then shall i?"

Hmm maybe not, not done all this training for nothing you know. So off we go, in first 12 miles i met Iain who's video I'd watched from previous years race the day before, he lives in Twickenham but is from Aberdeen. Also met Louise from south coast who lives in Aviemore doing her 2nd Ultra who'd already had a tumble but was soldiering on regardless. Love the people you meet in Ultra's we're all a friendly bunch aren't we?

Got to First checkpoint bang on schedule and headed off for next section. Sun was shining and it was quite frankly a glorious day to be out on WHW, i felt happy & relaxed. Just past the Drymen where the Forests are being cut down i took a tumble, luckily 2 very nice young men walkers picked me up and offered to patch me up (i was bleeding) but i needed to shake off the shock and carry on running so i thanked them and ran on. They called me "hardcore" lol

Before too long i got first glimpse of Conic Hill, looking amazing in the sunshine.

I really don't mind conic hill at all, i think there are far worse climbs later on in course too worry about. Coming down is harder than going up though.

Caught up with Susan & Fionna here and had chat with them, up and over Conic hill without too much problems and i was very cautious on my downhill having fell earlier. Lots of people were bounding past me but i didn't care,i was tad nervous of falling again and knee/hip & ankle were hurting a bit. Met George & Soph on downhill. Soph saw my leg and offered me her vast medical kit but again i declined and carried on. Got to Balmaha , picked up stuff and carried on. Toilets were trashed, and i don't mean a mess i mean trashed, smashed to bits. Thankfully the ever wonderful Oak Tree was across road and i popped in there. My garmin was telling me it was low on battery and although it's done that before and been fine i decided to take it off. This was after all a training run, it had been drilled into my head enough by Ian and with falling i decided i was going to be a bit careful and not worry (too much) about time.

Lots of uppy downy bits on road to Rowardennan & again i was being bit cautious on downhills. Duncan Mc passed me here and gave me a squeeze, he was powering up those hills (and finished sub9!)Got to Rowardennnan at 5.05, 5mins off target. Had quick chat to Phil the doc and asked how Ian & Liz were getting on. Good & i don't know were the answers.

I was running fair section of this part with Tony & he said to me "crikey this is a really rocky part" I warned him that was nothing, wait til after Inversnaid! Again i only stopped to pick up my bags from Dave & Caroline at Inversnaid and headed off. Ran (ran, who am i kidding?) lots of next section with Ellen, Robert & Penny the dog.

I think i was probably a lot slower over this section than last yr, splits will prob tell story but i was tripping over every stone and banging my knee on every rock i climbed over. Gritted teeth and carried on though. At this point we were starting to get passed by the loads of boys who'd started later, not best place for passing but hey ho. I let Ellen & Robert go ahead of me and just plodded on myself, stopping briefly to say goodbye to the Glory that is Loch Lomond

I'm one of few folk who normally enjoy this section, but the constant banging on knee was starting to hurt. I headed off towards last checkpoint. Only few miles to go, Me & Susan had done this section few weeks back and bounced back along there. I wasn't quite bouncing this time but i was moving forward at least. I knew once i was at beinglas i had made it and I'd "only" have 12miles to go. Really you shouldn't think like that because you really don't know what's around the corner.

Penultimate Style climbed and headed down hill. When i say headed down hill i mean that quite literally. I tripped on a big rock and landed on more big rocks, i was lying face down on hill whimpering and luckily bloke who'd just passed me ran back and picked me up. I could barely stand and was shaking like leaf and close to tears. I told him to go on that I'd be OK and after walking few steps i tried to run. ouch. Walked bit more, tried again, ankle was really hurting, i thought i'd broke my bloody hand and my knee was smashed open again along with few more bruises cuts & scrapes to add to it, along with other leg too. Great.

Tried to keep calm and keep moving, kept trying to break into a run, it was a no go. I knew it was over. Decided there that I'd pull out at Beinglas. Got into there and after being cheered and clapped initially, the Marshall asked if i was ok and i said nope. Paul from my club spotted my legs, and my tears by this point and led me towards checkpoint. George came and hugged me & i cried on his shoulder. He took my hand and took me to the wonderful Neil who thankfully was there waiting to patch me up along with his helper Soph and her extensive medical kit lol

I told George to take my chip off, few people had said why not sit down for bit and see how you feel. I knew if i did that I'd make stupid decision to go on, i knew i could finish, and knew I'd prob still get around 11hr30 but at what cost? The WHW race had to take precedence. So that was that. After my chip was gone i calmed down a bit. Until Neil & Soph started cleaning me that is. ouch. Everything was hurting at this point.

I was bandaged up like Mr Bump, and getting shocked looks from people coming through. And even more shock when they realised id pulled out. Susan somehow found out before she'd even arrived at checkpoint! Everyone was really lovely and looked after me big style. I decided to hang around there til Ian came through in case he also heard before arriving (he did!) and was worried. He made noises about pulling out too but i wasn't having any of it, no way were we having 2 DNF's to go home with! I assured him i was OK and I'd see him in Tyndrum soon enough.

Paul drove me to Tyndrum and bought me an ice cold crabbies. Never has a drink tasted so good. After that we headed off to finish to watch everyone come in. Great too see some cracking times and wonderful to find out Kate & Debs were first & Second. Susan, Karen, Mike & Andy all scored Pb's and were super happy. David had come a long way and was so looking forward to this race and I'm glad to say it lived up to his high expectations Well done everyone, so proud of all of you who finished with a smile.

Got stopped every 2 mins by people asking what the heck i'd done and hugging me. Ian came in then headed for shower and we stayed to watched presentations before getting lift back to Milngavie with the lovely Andy Cole, thanks for saving us from bus!

Thanks to everyone for your concern. Hopefully most of it is superficial , I'm very sore this morning but being well looked after. Weirdly enough my legs are feeling no aftereffects from the 41 miles i've done, just pain in my knees from the bashing and smashing. Hand feels much better than yesterday so i think my drinking days are intact ;)

Bandages are off and here are results.

Are there any lessons here? I don't think so. It's my first DNF and that hurts but it's a fleeting disappointment, i couldn't have done anything different.I'm happy i made it 41miles and it was only a training run after all. There's bigger fish to fry this year. Gutted not to get my bubbly, especially as it was pink stuff, my fave!

Well done to Ellen & Murdo for yet another fantastic race. I fell in love with WHW only 2 short years ago after doing relay and it's changed my life.


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...