Tuesday, 16 August 2011

It's all in the mind

Or is it?

After getting a last minute place in Devil and after Ian dithering all week about whether he was going to run or not the decision was finally made for me to run and him to support. I'd ran no further than to work since the WHW. 3 weeks off completely to fix ankles and short runs and races were the order of the day.

So i was a little nervous about whether I'd get round tbh, it is after 42 miles, quite hilly rocky ones at that.

Arrived in Tyndrum around 9pm and everyone was very kindly and patiently waiting on us before we all schlepped off to Paddy's. Pub was full of Ultra runners & supporters. Proper serious athletes that we are.The really serious ones ie- Karen, Tim, Anne etc all went back to cottage after couple drinks. The really silly ones stayed on to talk to everyone left in pub and drink even more.

Probably not cleverest idea but hey ho. In bed around midnight, up around 4am. Think i was still bit drunk when got dressed and ate my weetabix. I managed to remember my Chanel ribbons and a quick squirt of number 5 and it was time to head to start. 6am is perfect race start time for me, I'm usually out for my run way before that so i was raring to go. And son enough we were off.

I settled into a nice  pace and ran all the to BoO with Lorna & John Mac Lean, we chatted quite happily the whole way and we seemed to arrive in no time.(1.07) I hadn't expected to see Ian here as he said he was going for breakfast so i just said a cheery hello to the man in the midgie net until he started running next to me and demanded a kiss.

Strange man in midgie net chasing me....

Spotted Gavin just as i was about to head up hill and he rubbed me down with Skinsosoft and retied my laces, still on support duty even though he wasn't supporting me this time :) By stopping here (i never normally stop) i lost Lorna & John, both went on to have cracking races.

I was feeling pretty good here and got caught by my club mate Tom. He decided he was going to stick with me as he'd passed me early on in Speyside last yr and i ended up beating him by over an hour. I was quite happy to have someone tag along and it made the miles pass easily. Even on Rannoch Moor which was a hell hole of Midgie fog. Tom kept scratching and trying to get rid of them, i took one look at my arm and decided not to bother as it was exact same as last yr ie- pointless exercise.
evil, no other words.

Few miles from Glencoe and Ian appears, another unexpected surprise.I knew he was meeting me here but hadn't expected him quite so far out. He told me Julie was ahead with her Saltire and it gave me wee spring in my step, wish I'd stopped for photo now but i was on a roll. We got to Glencoe (3.15) after picking off around 6 runners, we ran straight through CP and said our goodbye's to Ian. Midgies seemed to disappear on this bit, same as they did last yr thankfully.  Tom was still with me and still happy as larry. It was good having the company for the road bit after Kingshouse and rejoin the Way as i really struggle on that bit for some reason.

The run towards the Devil's staircase passed really quickly as Tom was telling me the names of all the hills around us, he is a Munro bagger and knew them all so it was taking our minds off the running and the heat. The Devil loomed ahead of us, now here's a strange thing. I struggled up here last year and remember thinking "how the hell will i get up here on WHW race if I'm struggling now?"

My ankles were pretty damn painful by time i got to Devil on WHW but weirdly i seemed to get up there quicker, or were my ankles so sore i blanked out how long it took? Whatever the case it was a long slog up, and hot. We got to top and got a very welcome Jelly baby baby from the ever smiley Fiona. I was out of lucozade again even though Ian gave me new bottle at Glencoe,  i suddenly remembered a can of irn bru in my bag. I'd bought it after leaving the pub thinking I'd wake up with raging thirst, as you do. But it wasn't required and and it was like amber nectar at the Top of the Devil

The descent down was fun, we overtook a few people on our descent and with a few miles to go Ian appeared after trekking the 2 mile uphill. We overtook about 4 people just as he appeared and someone mentioned Ian's starring role in the WHW DVD to him just as we were passing them. This pleased him greatly, he then tried to take the credit for us passing folk, even though we'd passed around 12 people without his help so far! ;) It was brilliant getting on the move updates from Ian as to what was happening ahead, so i knew Lucy was pretty much going to win with Debs 2nd. Thomas was fighting it out for a win and Andy was in 4th. I may have mentioned in pub the previous evening to him that this could well happen but he is way too modest and poo poohed the very idea....

As ever the road to Painlochleven never gets closer and we headed on down passing John Pickard just over the bridge. Passed through checkpoint(5.35) and Ian ran after me with more drinks for me, i shouted on Tom to keep moving and he dutifully joined me on the road to hell aka the climb out that damn place.

This is where i think i broke him :(   he was slowing down and i kept waiting but he told me to go on, that he was slowing me down. I heeded his advice and plodded on but i really struggled here too and was much slower than last year. I stopped for last pic. If you look closely you can see Tom looking back to where we'd came from

So i was on my own again and it was to stay that way pretty much most of way across Lairig Mor, got plenty of cheering and well done's from the many walkers and it was a joy to once again see the Wilderness Response Team again.  I stopped at their 2nd checkpoint and refilled my bottle and drank 3 cups water. Many thanks guys, great job as usual.

Just as i left here i bumped into Karen & Helen who after mucho hugs and laughing at the Midge's stuck to me also gave me updates on the happenings ahead. Not long after i left them Ian appeared, i was still a couple of miles of Lundavra and was more than surprised to see him, turns out he got a lift up so ran out from there instead of the long trek up the hill. I was starting to fade a bit here and for the first time since the Devil i was passed by someone. My feet were really sore, my toe specifically which was odd as i hadn't particularly kicked  that many stones but i mustve gave it a bashing at some point.

My feet in general were sore actually and this was more of a problem than general tiredness or sore legs. I guess it's understandable after running for no longer than 45mins in the previous 7weeks.

Ian pushed me on as ever, thankfully. I didn't moan like i had that double day from hell, and i was thankful i wasn' in same world of pain that i was during WHW race. I recalled evey step i'd painfully hobbled down, and wondered how the hell i'd managed it on those ankles, made me quite proud of myself  & proud of Gavin for putting up with me!

Loved the run down but still walked the flat bits! And i ran walked the road part too, until i was *told* to run rest of it. So i did.

Finished in 8hrs 55min.

Around 20mins more than last yr but you'll not hear me complaining. Ian was as ever,just brilliant support.

But there was time for stopping, oh no. I managed a quick 5 min chat to congratulate Andy and say *told you so* then it was off to Leisure centre where i got a hug and congratualtions from Lucy. to quote Julie -his is on a par with David Beckham praising my performance in a pub team kick-around. Ridiculous but delightfully satisfying!
Lucy mentioned my neck was covered in Midgies, how delightful! Yet she still hugged me, maybe cause she'd borrowed Deb's clothes ? ;)

Quick shower which i nealry leapt out of after discovering horrid chafing on my back. I'd worn a tshirt, not sure why as i always wear a vest but it mustve been riding up all day and i had a mark the shape of my bag on my back. Ouchy.

Quick scout round hall to congratulate Debs, say hi to John, Katrina and few others then we sped off towards Edinburgh as we had a festival show to go to. Arrived home, dumped back and 5 mins later we were in cab (pre booked) in torrential rain heading towards Playhouse to see our show.Half way through, a few glasses of wine down and we were both fading fast. We'd shared a sandwich and half heartedly shared a bit of pasta in Leisure centre. That was it since 4am. Decision was made to ditch show before In started eating the person in front's arm and off we went to La Tasca.

Wine, food, bed. In that order.

Rested Sunday, ran to work Monday but my toe was superhurty so i rested for rest of week. Friday i was down in Leeds for a meeting, 4 hours in car leaving at 6am, 5hour meeting then 4 hours back. Long day but productive meeting.

On Saturday i had girls day out.  Lunch, champagne followed bymore champagne and few cocktails for good measure followed by more champagne.

Sunday we were up early to head through to Stirling and run a mile. Yes really. We do this a few times a year and iv'e missed last few so i promised i'd be there this time. Fuelled by said champagne i managed a wee pb and did 7.09. Some work to be done to get my sub 7 but it's all going in right direction.

Yikes, just noticed the time, i'm sure i started this blog when i was 22......


  1. Well done Sandra.

    That's a really good run on only 3mile training runs!

  2. Almost up to the Pirate school of training - no running and lots of alcohol!

  3. Congrats on a strong race especially after your ankle problems. You are a machine!



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...