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 ;)
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.