Wednesday, 5 September 2012

My first ever race win

Not a title i ever expected to have on any of my blogs.

After hearing everyone rave about how good last years Glenmore24 was i was really looking forward to doing it.

Having never done a 12hr race before I'd no real idea what to expect of myself. I think closest i could compare it to race wise Highland Fling which took me just over 11hrs. But this was different kettle of fish, it was 4miles loop of Glenmore Forest Park, only looped race I'd previously done was Perth 50k which meant 21 loops of Inch Park. Again completely different as that was totally flat.

I read Fionna Rennie's blog to try and get a feel for the terrain and had look at pics to see what was in store. So that was my total prep i guess.

Had a chat with Ian about it and he said i should try and aim for 100k, or 62miles if you like. He said he'd done that during 24hr race at Perth, i think he was laying down the gauntlet saying that but ever so subtly So that was the target. Ambitious? Who knows. Every since the WHWrace I've been conscious of every twinge in my ankles. Having survived the Clyde Stride with no issues i was hoping for more of the same.

We weren't best prepped to be honest and few days before still hadn't decided if we were driving up in morning, staying over night before or what. That is until i got a txt from the Lovely Louise demanding we go stay with her and offering her support services as well. Well how could we possibly refuse? As soon as Ian got home from work we headed up North and around 4 hours later arrived in middle of nowhere in the land of the Pixies to be be greeted by the ever smiley Lou.

My goodness we were spoiled rotten from minute we stepped through her enchanted cottage. We were quickly ensconced in her squashy sofa in front of the roaring log fire with drinks in our hands. We got a sumptuous dinner of Smoked Salmon then Venison stew.  Dinner of champions Lou joked.

Few more drinks after dinner and off we went to bed where i had the best sleep ever. Not sure if it was exhaustion from the long day, the wine or the fresh country air and complete silence but boy did i feel well rested when i got up in morning.

Breakfast of bacon sandwiches and a pot& half of tea and i was more than ready. Oh and fruit pavlova, how could i forget?Louise had had made a HUGE pavlova the night before but no way could we manage to eat anything else so we guiltily had a bit in morning. Breakfast of champions Louise Joked.

We headed down the road to Glenmore Forest park around 11am, and after picking up my number i went round catching up with people and getting lots of hugs. There was a little tented village and Ian said he'd set up next to JohnK so i knew where to find him when i came round the loops.

My one and only plan was to try to get 100k, other than that i planned to just run. Soon enough we were all lined up and off we went. Round the campsite and up the wee hill, which of course we all ran, i wondered if we'd run that again or if it was the usual "I'll worry about my legs later"

I ran pretty much all the way of that first loop i think. I was surprised to find how hilly it was though. ||For some reason I'd just thought it was going to be a bit undulating. hmmm. Anyway, i got round that first loops in around 35mins and got told off by Ian. He looked a bit worried and said I'd gone off too fast. I said I'd slow down and next lap i think i was about 37mins, again he said it was bit too fast.

I knew I'd slow down myself so i wasn't too worried. I deliberately not worn a garmin as its done me a lot of good last few races and taken the pressure off the constant checking, maybe it would even stop me falling over ;) By the third lap i was settling into a nice steady pace. I perversely liked the long hill that led to/from the water station at halfway and i always stopped to get a drink here and always ran up hill after, whether it was the nuunn drink s giving me a wee boost or fact that it was halfways point i don't know, but i always felt pretty good getting to there, even if it was bit of slog to get there.

Think it was 4th Lap that JohnK and i ran most of together, this is the lap currently posted in his blog, thankfully i am dubbed out in favour of music as we we chatted the entire way about all sorts, including football which I'm sure you'd all have found riveting! I was ditched by John and picked up Louise to run next lap with me. She was like an excited bunny and chatted all way round which made those two laps just fly by. By this point i was aware i was in lead, what a strange sensation that was. I say strange cause I'm not entirely sure  liked it. It added pressure which i couldve done without. Ian was updating me on every lap about how far ahead i was. Saying that i didn't change anything in what i normally do. I didn't stop at base camp,i never stop at checkpoints.  i told Ian & Lou what i wanted and they'd meet me at bottom of first hill and walk up with me while i took what i needed then i ran off. Not that i take much, i was alternating between irn bru and energy drinks. My lap 6 i asked for half a banana, Ian nearly fell over lol

So after that i had half a banana every lap, i knew it was keeping Ian happy to see me eating as i never usually do during Ultras (except whwrace) Round and round i went, at some points getting almost blown over and then coming into deeper forest and feeling proper stillness. On my 12th lap i knew light was beginning to fade, Bill was at the midpoint drinks station telling people to remember head torches for next lap which id planned on anyway. Louise was with me on this lap and she ran on ahead to get head torch, buff and tshirt to change into as it had got bit chillier since sun faded.

Headtorch on and i set off on my own as the light was fading. It was truly beautiful. I turned headtorch on soon as i was up first hill as first mile is quite rocky and i wasn't taking any chances having managed to get round thus far without any trips or falls! Problem with the light is that every flying beastie for miles made a beeline for me, god knows how many i swallowed, twice i stopped to cough my guts up

 I got to halfway point and not only was it properly dark by then i was very glad of the drink to wash down the beasties, this was around 9pm and signified 50miles point for me which gave me another wee boost.

Ian joined me on next loop at 52miles and i said i was glad i only had 2 more loops to go, He said i could easily do 3 in the time i had. This played with my head a bit as I'd only planned on 2, and i wasn't sure if head was in right place for another after convincing myself i only had 2! Louise came on next loop with me and which would take me to 60miles and i said to her this would be my last. If i got in after 11pm then i would be  put on the "the wee loop" which was a 325metre loop around the campsite which went up the first hill then down other side then back round again.

So i went on bit of a go slow, even though i knew i had 9min lead at that point and couldve kept it i really didnt want to go round again. At halfway point we met Antonia who had been pootling round backwards for most of day supporting folk, was great to see her smiley wee face so often.. She had came round on her own and got bit freaked out by the pitch darkness so joined me and Lou back to base camp. After the big long hill there was a big downhill, the penultimate time i ran it my thighs had started aching so I'd taken foot of pedal so to speak, whereas this time i stopped and walked bits. Reckless perhaps but i didnt want to get in before 11 and i my thighs hurt and i knew i had another hour of running to go anyway. 60miles. done. Ian told me i needed to d at least 10 loops to get my 100k, 10? fuck, 10!

We got back to basecamp at 11.05, as i shouted my number to Ada i said "small loop?" she said no! eh? what? nooooo. But it was misunderstanding and i was indeed sent that way. Wow that loop was small. before too long there i was round again, yikes this would be a long 55mins. On the other hand it was just superb. Every few minutes I'd have people screaming out my name, it was brilliant. I gt my head down and just dug in. I was two and half loops in when Ian told me 2nd lady was in.

Omg panic. This really was beginning to get stressful. I had worked hard all day,i wasn't going to lose it now. I put my head down and just got on with it, i overtook Carolyn at one point and she caught me back up again. I knew i was still 2 &bit laps ahead but it was still stressing me right out. Every time i passed everyone they were screaming and shouting telling me to tuck in, to dig in, keep my head down
 My god, how on earth people cope with leading races all time i have no idea. It kinda took my enjoyment away the longer it went on.

After about 40mins Carolyn and me were going up hill together and started chatting. Turns out she reads my blog "hello, waves" and follows me on twitter!  its a mighty small world. We agreed were both done in and knowing we were 1st and 2nd and that 3rd was nowhere nr us we decided to ease off a bit. So instead of hurtling ourselves down the hill we jogged down, after 11.5hours of racing hard i think we deserved bit of break.

We got bit of stick once we got past everyone in camp site to get going again so did, and we ran last few laps together. We just got to bottom of hill when everyone started counting down so we sprinted up hill together and got to top as hooter went off to signify end of race. We walked down hill and through a wall of people clapping and i was really quite overwhelmed,  had no idea how many miles I'd finally clocked up but i knew I'd done enough. I won, i only went and bloody won.

  <<<<<<< my wonderful team

thank you so much Ian & Louise, you really were quite superb and kept my spirits up for 12whole hours.

Here is profile of big loop taken from Ians Garmin. So i went up that damn hill 15times.
I bow down at the feet of the 24hr guys.
I've borrowed JK's pic of all those hills (he did one more lap than me and did over 65miles,coming 2nd overall) wouldve been  interesting to see the profile of the last wee loop, i ended up going round it 17 times in the end! Total mileage was 63.89 miles.
1st Lady, 3rd Overall results

Thanks to Mike & Bill for a superb, beautiful race.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


Up until last week Ian didn't have place in the Devil. He did mail them in April asking to be added to reserve list but after spotting he wasn't on he had to mail them again. Actually think all RD's should get guaranteed entry to the Scottish Ultra's but that's another story. He got call on Thursday offering him a place then he ummed and aaahed about it. I told him to make up his mind one way or other so we knew what we were doing and he decided he would run it. He loves the Devil race, its his favourite part of route.

So the boot (or rather, trail shoe) was on the other foot for a change and it was mine & Susans' turn to support him for a change.Susan's wee boy Alex was also joining us,starting him young so he's ready to crew for Susans Whw attempt ;) We headed up to Tyndrum on Friday night, stopping off for dinner en route and once we arrived we headed straight to bar for small refreshment. We were met with smiley faces and pink hair, no prizes for guessing who I'm talking about, their reputation precedes them :)

We were both pretty knackered after busy week so headed off to bed, Ian set his alarm for 4.10am, i intended getting up 5 mins before race started. Only things didn't go quite to plan. Next thin i knew Ian was jumping out bed saying "its 5 o clock!" Cue bit of panic as he set about trying to get breakfast down quickly, get dressed, have quick coffee then head off to register.

Once he got back we got organised then headed off to start. Susan was busy driving round the Highlands familiarising herself with random places she'd never been so was arriving a bit later. I was getting txt telling me, be there by 6.30, be there by 7, might be there by lunchtime. Ok, last one maybe be a porkypie.

I waved a happy Ian and rest of runners off & promised to be errm, somewhere on route to support, at some point. I headed back to room for cup Tea and to lather self in killthemidgie spray as i they were swarming like evil blood sucking demons & were dive bombing on every available piece of skin.

Susan arrived at 7 and we quickly packed car and headed up towards bridge of Orchy, arrived to find a sea of midgie nets but spotted Robin Womble & asked if we'd missed Ian and by how much. 10mins, bonza. We headed along the road towards Victoria Bridge, lucky i was there really cause Susan wanted to turn around and drive along main road.

We arrived again to find everyone hiding under midgie nets and it was no wonder.Managed to work out JohnK & BillH  were there but no one else.  My god it was hellish. I quickly got my backpack on headed up hill. UUrgh, it wasnt my finest hour. Running up a hill straight into glaring sun blinding me  trying not to trip up fuelled by a cup of tea and dodging all the runners coming towards me, most of who i couldn't see til they stood on me lol

Eventually came across Ian and asked if he wanted anything. "a new body" he replied. Oh dear. Told him that wasn't so much of an option and asked if could perhaps get him anything else. Banana & coke was request so off i skipped down the midgie infested hill eating some to make up for lack of breakfast. Protein apparently. When he arrived at car he told me he was thinking of pulling out! I walked up road with him whilst he ate banana and drank and  told him not to be so silly, to get across Rannoch Moor and see how he felt after that. 

Off he went with a grump in his step.

And off we went to Glencoe. Great to see the Midgies didn't follow us and we got out able to see who was around us instead of relying on going right up and peering into nets :) Was surprised to see Team Giblin there and asked if Paul had secured last min place but no, they, like many have been sucked into this world and come out just to cheer on, because they can. Lucy was there with a very excited kipper, that's the name of her dog btw,she hasn't suddenly turned into a freak fish lady. JohnK was there too, Katrina was having great time and always had smile when  saw her.

I headed off into the trail looking for Ian, passing many a runner who said "you're going wrong way" bet they all thought that was original ;) I high fived a few folk and congratulated everyone i passed. Soon came across Ian, asked how he was "rubbish" he said. found out what he needed and ran back in to make sure we were ready for for him.

When he got in he said he was ready to quit again. I said just run on and see how you feel.He said he'd been walking , and singing. "I'm Ian Beattie and I'll walk if i want to, walk if i want to" lol if he is still singing there is still hope, i had wondered why there were no other runners around him mind you ;)
 He agreed & we set off to meet him just after kingshouse so he could eat some cheesymash. We were now getting comments from all the runners about popping up all over the place. we brought cool box from car so Ian had seat to sit and eat. He arrived and seemed almost happy, who knew.. Maybe the cheesy mash spurred him on.

That didn't last long really and he spoke about pulling out again. I said we'd go to bottom of Devil and meet him there and he could decide then.He was just wearing his waist pack and plan was to take backpack from bottom of devil.  He wasn't exactly enthusiastic and off he went with a grumpity grump, grump grump grump.

We parked up and sat waiting on him coming in. I was half convinced he'd walk straight to car and jump in. Alex had got his TeamGB Mascot out and stuck it on side of fence, he said it was his TeamG-Beattie Mascot :o) Had good chat with fellow supporter here, she was moaning cause her husband Rob was taking too long, and had taken far too long to finish Clyde Stride. She was very funny indeed and making us laugh a lot. Turns out she used to be Debs M-C support, so i guess she isnt used to being kept waiting!

Ian arrived looking on top of the world, or perhaps not. More talk of pulling out. Said he'd walked most it, with no singing this time. Oh dear.No songs. Not good. We came up with plan of  me running to Kinlochleven with him, not sure who came up with that idea but that was the decision. On went the backpack and i asked Ian if he wanted  anything, he asked for a lucozade so i popped one in pack and of we went waving farewell to Susan & Alex. We passed cheeky Dave Hetherington here and he had a good moan about the weather. I told him it was rather nicer than the apocalyptic weather we got on WHWrace but he disagreed.

We made good progress up the staircase overtaking 5 runners and quite few walkers. Until Ian had a bit of a moment and complained that not only was i going too fast but that I'd been asked to come with him so he could talk to me, not to other folk. (I'd been chatting to a fellow runner lol) He soon snapped out of it when i threatened to throw him back down though ;)

Wasn't long before we got to top & Ian was in his element pushing on down the hill.  I'm more conservative on downhills after all tumbles I've taken so i struggled to keep up with him sometimes. Always caught him on the hills though as I've got good wee power walking legs. Next moment took place when he asked if i had any Bananas. I didn't. He hadn't asked for any. He said i shouldve known, i shouldve asked him. It was a fail. He actually said fail.
Now i know it's "all about the runner blah blah" but i'm not getting called a failure by no one. He'd only got there because we wouldn't let hm FAIL. Anyhoo, it was soon sorted because we dont like to be grumpy for long :o) And on we went, the Bananardrama forgotten.

We ran most of this and when we were about 1.5miles away he told me run on ahead and get organised. I asked he wanted a Banana ;) He said yes. Off i went like a rocket and i passed few more folk. One quipped  after seeing me again that I'd been just as well running race.

I got into Kinlochleven & found Susan & Alex. We got everything ready that he'd asked for. BANANA, drinks, tshirt, backpack.

In he came and i waved him over to car but he pointed towards pub. I presumed that meant he wanted to go to to toilet and sat on car boot and waited. And waited. And waited. Susan headed off to pub to use loo with instructions to kick Ians arse if she saw him. Me & Alex continued to WAIT. I saw ALL the runners we'd worked hard to pass go through, then some more.

Just before it got dark i wandered in direction of pub in search of Walter Mitty.You can but cant hide. Bill was sitting outside drinking a pint & said to me "he's in there drinking a pint"

Just as steam started come from my ears Ian & Susan appeared. She found him sitting at the bar having a coffee ffs! What is this, the women's rural?

Oh and guess what? yup, wanted to pull out. I said "you cant bloody pull out at Kinlochleven" he said "yes i can, i can do what i want"
Susan suggested i ran to Lundavra with him/ I looked on horrified. What was meant to be nice pleasant sunny girls day out supporting/sunbathing at checkpoints was turning into a grumpy mans trek. I know he good Ian is over this section and i was worried I'd hold him back.

I reminded Ian that he loved this part of route, that he always overtook people here and looked forward to it, even during WHWrace. This seemed to do trick and i walked along road with him til the trail started again and sent him on his way. Ian shouted out instructions to Susan about how to get to FW as we set off in car. Clearly worried we'd end up in Fort Augustus or somewhere.

We headed straight to Lundavra from here & i was delighted to see Johnny Fling with a superb picnic all laid out. I was even more delighted spot a bottle of wine! woop. I was warned that it was Lorna's wine , i think he was scared for his life if he offered it out without the nod.  Lorna however was far more forthcoming and quickly poured me a big glass/cup once she came over.  :) now *this* is what i call supporting. Julie was here with huge saltire waving and cheering everyone on.

Had great time here shouting at everyone coming through. JohnK was here again waiting on Katrina, who came in with huge smile saying "really  like this last bit"  Thomas suddenly appeared looking far too fresh for having just won the race in an incredible 5.35! He headed off into the trail to find Silke whilst Susan got changed for her stint in running out to meet Ian

Alex decided last minute to run with her and off they went. About 20mins later i saw them all come over hill. Alex put a sprint on with instructions of what Ian needed (Bananas!) he is only 10 and ran all way and back, putting on sprint finish bless him.

Biggest shock of day was Ian was smiling.

Turns out he'd been throwing sticks for the Wilderness Response Crews dogs! He was happy cause he'd been out playing with the bloody dogs. Somewhere along the lines i think he forgot he was in race, maybe he thought he'd just stumbled across it by mistake. He also stopped for a chat with Thomas, oh and to speak to the twins. Right wee social occasion this.

Never mind, he was happy, this was good for 2 reasons.
1. It made me happy
2. I wouldn't have to run with him.

I sent him off with instruction to catch Colin Knox who'd passed through about 5 mins before him and off he went. We stayed around for wee while before setting off for finish line.

We popped into shop and i got Alex a wee pressie to say thanks for being super support and bought a wee flag to wave, not quite the same size as Julies but hey ho, we have to do best with what we've got!
 I blagged an ice cold beer off Bill and we sat waiting on Ian finishing, cheering everyone in. I knew that he'd be running as he always makes me run this bit which i always find bit of struggles after all that downhill.

He came round corner and ran to finish looking HAPPY. And he was. Personal worst for him but his last long run was the Cateran back in May so he cant complain really. You kinda have to train for races if you want a half decent time.

So Team GBeattie - Job done.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Running Naked on the Clyde Stride

I had never planned on running The Clyde Stride, i was supposed to be recovering from WHWrace and was just planning on going along and supporting Ian.

But best laid plans and all that. Giving that i only did 50miles i recovered pretty quickly so decided that rather than supporting i might as well run. And what better way to run than with company? I asked Susan if she fancied it and she quickly agreed. After bit of banter on twitter with James Adams who said it wasn't a real race if we wore our Gamins we both decided to leave them at home.

Having ran my last 2 races without it i had no problem with not being a slave to it was quite happy going *naked* once again. We had no real plan except to just run together & to enjoy it. The main focus for me was to get round uninjured and for my ankles to be ok.

Ian unfortunately ended up having to pull out after getting his wisdom tooth out the day before, that coupled with fact that he was on antibiotics for a chest infection put paid to his race. Bad news for him, selfishly good news for me & Susan. You don't need support for this race, there are sufficient drop bags along the way  but it's always nice knowing I'd see him out & about.

We stayed at Ian's Mum & Dads' the night before giving us bit of lie in which was nice.  Got to start around 8.15 to find a busy car park full of excited runners and Mrs Mac running around organising folk, she had also organised some sunshine which was a blessed relief after the apocalyptic weather during whwrace. Julie was her usual efficient self on numbers duty even though it was her Birthday weekend, how did we ever get by without her?

Susan arrived off train with a flurry of others and we quickly got stuff in car and got ourselves ready.

Quick catch up with Andy  >>>>>

And few others and it was soon time to head to start.

This was first proper opportunity we both had to test our our new Vests too, I'd ran to & from work in mine and 14miles in Pentlands last week but it was no real tester. I wasn't sure how I'd get on with it after being used ot having 2x 500ml bottles with me for Ultras, which is strange cause i tend not to drink a lot! I'd packed a jacket even though it was a glorious day as i wanted to test out the storage. Anyway, it's Scotland, the weather couldve changed at any minute..

Ian had planned on being at first 2 checkpoints so we only put in drop bag for the third one. We set off and chatted as girls do until suddenly we were upon the first checkpoint, Ian told us we were at 8.30mm pace. Ooops. Perhaps a tad too fast. We had felt comfortable all the way though chatting the entire time, its an easy stage to go off fast on.

It was fairly hot so we'd been drinking probably bit more than normal for 10miles so we both topped up our bottles and set off in pursuit of Kirsty from Strathearn who'd just started 2nd leg relay. Going through some very overgrown fields and not being blessed in the height department we all but disappeared as we tore through the very long nettles/grass/whatnot. Great fun :o)

I totally couldn't recall this part from first year and i wonder if that was part of previous detour? In fact there were lots of bits i didn't remember and it was far prettier than i remembered!
 We managed to get ourselves lost in the woods and looking at the very detailed route description along with pictures, we still had no clue. 4 of us stood by road looking perplexed when a car pulled up asking if we were lost, she clearly knew we should've  been and sent us back down road with instructions to go back into woods and cross bridge when we saw it. Thank you whoever you were! We are donuts.

As we got to bridge we saw a whole host of runners including Colin & Tim who clearly went correct way, hmm just us then :o/

Having no garmin meant we had no clue of distance really so had to guess randomly. There was quite a few of us who came into CP2 together. I very rarely stop at checkpoints tbh but Susan would stay all day if she thought she could get away with it. I refilled my bottle and took a wee bottle Irn Bru which i popped into front pocket. So while she faffed around i had a chat with Ian, then Julie, then Muriel then John oh and then Katrina. I eventually told Susan to shift it and off we went about 25mins later (OK, it might not have been but it felt like it) ;)

As we set off towards Strathclyde Park i kept Susan amused by telling her I'd went wrong way round water last time, and i wasn't only one mind you, we had to end up calling Mrs Mac who told us we were a bunch of numpties and we were on wrong side of water, nightmare.

Susan was flagging a bit here, and drinking a lot. She was halfway through her bottle by time we got through park. Luckily i had plenty and also had stashed money in my snazzy wee magnetic pocket.
 I was struggling too, i had bit of pull in groin which was sending pain down front of my thigh. I put it down to the amount of tarmac in first half and that we'd gone off too fast. I had it coming off Pentland hills last week once i hit road too, Walking only exacerbated it  and i was limping so running was best option. Running on the grass instead of the pathway alleviated it and meant we didn't have to dodge the many families out enjoying the glorious sunshine.

Miles 25-30 were probably a bit of a struggle. I had stones rattling around in my socks and was desperate to get to checkpoint and take them off to try and clean them out a bit. I was surprised and delighted to see Ian here. It meant to could get a change of socks, superb!

Have to say either of us had noticed even wearing our vests by this point. They really are super light and despite the weather we had no chaffing issues. Getting the bottle out was so easy which meant refilling was never an issue.

I had to practically drag Susan away from here, she was tucking into a bag of crisps and i told her eat and walk :o) luckily she was being very compliant unlike some other runs we've had when she has just plonked herself on a nearest rock demanding a rest lol.

I said to Susan that if she wanted a walking break to shout 50 to me and we'd do 50 walking/50running steps til we felt we could run further. And we did, a lot. In fact the Mojo was firmly back and we stormed this section. There was quite a few sections which were super muddy & slippy and had had to literally hang onto fence to not fall over. On one part i fell and scraped arm along barbed wire and another i went to grab fence, tried to avoid barbed wire and grabbed bunch nettles instead. ffs. Still, pain in hand takes away pain in legs right?

It was great to see supporters out on the course and same faces kept popping giving us encouragement which was lovely. We got to once section where we crossed road going back into wooded section we had thought that we were perhaps about 6 miles away from finish but we were bit downhearted to find it was 7, yeah i know its only a mile but its a mile we thought we didn't have lol I had said to Susan we'd stop at 3pm for cocktails. And we did. Had them stashed away in my bag.

I tried to keep Susan's spirits up and tired to keep her running whenever i could. As we came along a road i was again surprised and delighted to see Ian again. Susan seemed to think this was an excuse to stop again but i soon got her pushed on ;) at least we knew just exactly how far we had left though so it gave us no illusions 5.5miles easy.

Ian had warned us there was a stretch of road ahead, a hilly stretch of road. He exact words were "its a bit of a Jeremy hunt" :o)  As we got onto the road the saw Bobby just up ahead and couple other runners, i told Susan were were targeting them, She just looked at me and said nothing.

Took us wee while but we did indeed catch them, turned out it was one of my twitter friends Ross, lovely to finally meet him. He had his pal also called Ross running with him who kept running ahead taking pics, Ross kept telling him to turn it off so he could take a walking break lol.

So onwards we went and after catching Bobby again in another wooded section and asking him how far he said we were on 37miles. I shouted back to Susan that we only had 3 miles left and to get a shifty on, and she did! Overtook another couple of people here too and before we knew it were running into New Lanark! woohoo, i wooped and shouted down to finish "I'm coming to get you!" 

I'd warned Susan that we ran practically past finish line before heading up one last hill, I'd also warned Ross about this when we passed him which made the other Ross say "why did you have to tell him that, I'd only just got him going again!" lol i said there was no point in getting a nasty surprise

One last descent down towards the finish line and we were dodging people along the path who really didn't want to move, suddenly anther girl appeared from nowhere sprinting past and asking how far to go, i said "just a few minutes" and off she went. I got through *whole in wall* to see finish line and few folk shouting at me, but i waited on Susan coming through before running to finish line together.

I think looking back I'd given this race a bad rep, the first year all the signs had been nicked or turned round and nearly everyone got lost, this made me a right misery and probably spoiled the nice parts of race which i mustve blotted out.
Great tshirt, medal and goodybag and a superbly organised race, massive well done to Lee and her team, thank you.
Thanks hugely to Ian who kept popping up just like a Genie when we needed him most. And last but not least, Susan. I loved Saturday and hope you enjoyed it as much as i did.

If anyone is looking to purchase a new backpack then i couldn't recommend the Revolution enough. Its extremely lightweight, so much so we totally forgot we were wearing one, that's a first. Especially on a hot day like it was. The bottle is probably easiest bottle I've ever used with a twist top which makes it very easy to use, i hate the pull ones which i usually have to do with my teeth! I had my phone nicely stacked away in zip pocket and had sweets stashed in another pocket. I even got in car with it on forgetting i was wearing it!
 I'm bit like kid in toyshop or in my case a girl in Kurt Geiger and keep going to the store looking at the rest of the packs now with greedy eyes.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Put to bed

As i said in my last blog i put the race to bed and managed to sleep soundly til Nick woke me up in morning and asked if i wanted bacon rolls & tea. Silly Question. I got downstairs to find him busy in kitchen cooking for me, Susan & Stephen. He'd already been along to Leisure Centre and delivered some to Ian too!

My crew had wound me up about the fact  i'd pulled out at 50miles and they'd been eating all day in anticipation of running, it didnt stop them wolfing down the chinese i bought them later though.. ;)

So Susan & Nick had got up in morning to take opportunity to run,it was a glorious morning quite the opposite of previous days madness. They came back full of enthusiasm, buzzing with  stories of the amazing guys still battling on to the finish. I remember getting up last yr after a full nights sleep and seeing people pass by to the finish, proper steely guts that takes i reckon.

Looking back i've been looking for postives to take away, the negatives can stay back on the hill leading to A82 where Ian met me  i'll give it a kick on my next training run

So here they are- Positives
I have an amazing support crew, who selflessly support me and looked after me til minute they left, and STILL want to come back for more.

I got to see the first couple runners finishng. And wow what a brilliant and eye opening thing to see, Terry tore round corner as if he was Usain Bolt, PaulG wooped and cheered and pumped his first whilst tearing across car park. Both finishes made me goosebumpy.

I got to spend bit more time with my crew, they'd selflessly taken a lot of time & effort on my part, i felt a bit guilty about pulling out because of that but after the laughs we had in car after felt better. It meant Susan couldnt moan at me all way from Top Devil til Kinlochleven, it also meant no singing from Nick as we stomped across Rannoch Moor, a place he still hasnt stepped on.

Susan & Nick WILL run it one year, they've now both admitted that. I will endeavour to be half as good crew for them as they were to me.

I got to see the first couple runners finishing. And wow what a brilliant and eye opening thing to see, Terry tore round corner as if he was Usain Bolt, PaulG wooped and cheered and pumped his first whilst tearing across car park. Both finishes made me goosebumpy.

Got to go back and see others finishing and spend bit time talking and congratulating people, making tea,helping out wee bit.

I'm not broken, i didn't end up in hospital.

I was back in my heels by sunday night :)

I've recovered and i have diagnosis, and a way forward.

Huge  thanks you to every single person who volunteered and got this World Class race off the ground. Living wth Ian i get to see the sheer amount of work that goes inot the race from minute entries open in November. It's not without it stresses either. I hope i managed to thank all the marshalls i saw at CP's and didnt envy them out there in that weather fighting off the evil Midgies who were out in full throttle. Ian saw every single finisher in and didnt get to bed until Sunday night, i'm sure JohnK , Sean and others were in same boat, superb effort all round, well done everyone

On Wednesday we made decided at last minute  to run the Botanics 5k, this is a special race for me as it was my first ever race back in 2005. I'd never ran before then, well except when i was forced to at school anyway.  I  remember training for it, mainly on a treadmill and once a week outside and vowing to never run again once race was over with, i loathed running!

But i got my medal, and tshirt and was SO proud of myself. The rest as they say is history,,,

I decided on Wednesday not to run with watch or Garmin and to just enjoy race,watching my posture and technique and being ever aware of ankles. My finishing time was 24.04, a mere 50secs away from my PB. Have to say i was pretty damn pleased. Ankles felt fine although left one was bit twingy  next day so i strapped it up and i'm ok again. Ian had never ran it before and really enjoyed it too, he got 20.44  Think the organisers were delighted to see the  Chairman run, although he is on the results as a girl! lol

Great event and i reckon it gets lots of people running regularly like did. There tends to be lots of teams of people doing it which makes it a "one size fits all" event.  Bit like Glasgow womens 10k i reckon.

Been loving reading everyone's blogs about the race. I've laughed & cried and felt every step in some of them. Massive well done to everyone who finished the WHWrace and to those who didnt? Well we can take the postives and take them to Milngavie on June22nd next year at 1am.

 I'll see you there.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Best Laid plans

Don't always come to fruition.

I'm not sure i could've been more ready for this race, which makes this blog that bit more difficult to write i guess. My training had been spot on, i'd had no issues in the 2 times i'd ran the Devil course nor when i did my double run starting at Balamaha.I had a superb Crew.  You have back up plans for certain things but injuries are something we can do nothing about.

The day started trying to test us. Ian had left me with breakfast in bed and went off to pick up a van then headed to Run&Become to pick up goodybags & Merchandise. He hadn't anticipated the roads around R&B being closed to a bomb scare though! At least he'd have had a good story to tell everyone just why they didn't get their goody bags mind you. Drama over he got van packed,then called me to say "dont panic but there is no room in van for our stuff, i'll head home and have a think about what to do"

Never start a conversation with Dont panic folks, you know it's only going to be bad news. What did i do? I burst into tears after putting phone down and looked around the living room at the sheer amount of stuff we had to get to Milngavie. I recalled the car being full to bursting last yr. Then i went through to bedroom and sat on bed with a million thoughts flying through my head. Another phone call from Ian followed telling me he had solution and nt to worry. He got home to tell me solution.We'd drive to Milngavie in our car unload car then Ian would drive back to Edinburgh then back to Milngavie again. Jeez. Poor Ian, it worried me the sheer amount of driving he'd have to do in the lead up to a crazy weekend of sleeplessness.

Traffic was atrocious in Edinburgh due to flooding, Royal Highland Show and general rush hour stuff. nightmare. Ian called & told me i should go have dinner without him as he wasnt sure what time he'd get back. My son had arrived by then so we headed down to Burnbrae for food. Ian managed to make it back by 8ish and i'd ordered ahead but it meant he had to eat quickly then  dash straight off to regristration and get van unpacked pronto.

Rest of crew arrived just before Ian headed off & Ian went off happy to hand me over and concentrate on race.Everything was then taken back down to Nicks car to repack, goodness knows what anyone in reception though about enormous amount of stuff going back and forth, it mustve been like an odd version of the generation game, with no cuddly toys.

Managed to grab a few hrs sleep thankfully and we arrived at Milngavie station in plenty time for briefing and catching up eith few folks. THe atmosphere was electric as always and you could almost feel the excitement & anticipation in the air. Before we knew it we we lined up & ready to roll. 95miles lay ahead, i had visualised running every single section. I was ready.

Weather reports were horrendous but hey ho, we deal with what we have to. I started off with fairly lightweight waterproof and a vest as it was quite warm. Within abut 2 miles i was down to vest as i was so warm, ony problem was the midgies were ut in force, they love this weather and i felt they were really going for me this yr. By time we reached Beech tree the rain started,it was no shower, it was torrential. THe chatting seemed to grind to a halt from fellow runners and everyone just concentrated on moving forward and getting through the endless gates on that section. I was drenched through and i suddenly remembered i'd told my crew to head straight to Balmaha and get some sleep! oops. Wasn't about to call them andpanic them so i just got head down and got on wth it, only water after all and it wasnt cold.

Luckily my crew are more sensible than me and after seeing the conditions decided to head to Drymen anyway, i was suprised to see them & delighted they'd brought me a more heavyweight jacket and and dry hat worrying that it wouldet colder on climb up Conic. Off i went on next section feeling pretty good. Headtorch stayed on for at least a good half hour longer than last yr. Turned it off on approach to Conic where i caught up with Mark Keddie. We had good chat as we headed up the hill talking abut our ankles, Mark had similar problems during GEDM as i did last yr. Conic  more like gorge walking with the river just pouring down, but we made godo progress and i let Mark head down hill ahead of me taking it VERY easy for 2 reasons. 1.-it was like a mudbath and superslippy and 2. i was preserving ankles and quads for fire road much later on.

Nick was by the gate leading into forest and asked me what i needed, tea and muller rice & change shoes  were my only requests and he headed off back down hill. I came off hill to see Ian, gave him quick kiss (he later told me i nearly knocked him out with my cap lol) and headed of to crew. Great getting so many shout outs here from other crews, love it.
 I sat down and my crew got to work drying me and changing top/jacket/shoes and sending me on my way.

I popped in to say a quick hello ot Lucy in Oak Tree and headed back out with spring in my step feeling great. I actually felt as good leaving there as i did on my double run day. Happy and fresh and raring to go. I enjoyed to run to Rowardennan, i recalled how bad i'd felt during fling and i was relishing it. Passed Lex Melling on this section and we had quick hello and hug and on i went. I got to Rowardennan to although i insisted my sealskins were keeping my feet dry Susan insisted on changing them. Actually it was great call, my feet felt great with clean dry pair on. Cup tea and muller rice again and i headed off again feeling pretty good but also a bit sad that i'd not see my crew for a very long time.  Met Antonias fiance here who said she was just ahead, i was bit surprised but told him i'd not be trying to catch her.

I really like this section, i know most folk hate it but i've always embraced it.The uppy downy hills are enjoyable & i ran walked few of them as i had in training but soon decided to just walk the steeper ones again preserving self for later.  But my enthusasm soom faded the closer i got to Inversnaid, the rocks were super slippy and the rivers swollen so that crossing was really a tad scary.I felt everytime i had to jump from rock or climb up or down one then my ankles were getting scarily sore. Felt sick to my stomach, were were barely into the race, please god dnt let this happen. Got into Inversnaid and was delighted to see Karen McK and her sis (& dog) got big hug and headed to get drop bag. Few folk were sitting in torrential rain eating but i had no desire to get colder & wetter so i took it with me thanking the Marshalls. Ate all my mullerrice and drank some lucozade and headed on enjoying the non rock climbing for a wee while at least and hoping my ankles would loosen off.

Again the stupid rocks and stupid climbs were sore, the times i had to jump down and even going down the steps at RobRoys cave my bones felt like the were crushing every step down. I was getting despondant. This was not part of the plan. I could maybe cope with it late on in race, but not this early on. Finally the bone crushing rocks were left behind and i was so relieved. Relief really didnt last long though as i soon found running on flats was now starting to hurt. Robert Kinnard passed me here and we had bit of chat, was nice to see a friendly face when i felt so downbeat.

Only relief was uphills, not often we're desperate for hills but i found myself marching up Darios hill, stopping and telling him "you're having a fuckin laugh surely " Downhills were becoming ever more painful. I concentrated on getting to Beinglas, i thought about last yr and knowing id gone through a bit of down around here i just told myself it was the same.

But i knew it wasnt. Dina & Other marshall were superb. My dropbag had gone ammiss but there was a food mountain from previous drop bags so i had more Muller rice and a drink and sat there for wee while, my face mustve told a thousand stories as Dina & other Marshall were asking if i was ok, did i need anything etc, they were superb. They thought that the weather was getting to me and offered me chance to sit in car with heaters on but i declined,thanking them. Weather schmeather. Throw locusts at me, i'll deal with it. . I txt my crew as planned to let them know i was leaving Beinglas and told them i needed tea & drugs, and i let them know i was struggling.

Yes it wasnt great getting constanlty rained on when i felt miserable anyway but it wasnt a factor in my head. I left everyone enjoying the shelter on Canopy and headed off and soon caught up with guy ahead who asked me if there were much more hills. lol.

I ran walked where i could and found downhills worse again and then got worse & worse over the runable stuff.Soon saw a runner coming towards and soon realised it was Marco, stopped for quick chat and he told me all right things that you tell Ultra runners and off i went again
 Ian from Dumfries caught me here and we stayed together for a while, me pulling ahead every so often and him catching me on the flat sections. Going through to tunnel i stupidly turned to talk to him and stood up nearly knocking myself out in process. I was seeing stars i swear. Ian checked i was ok and i told him maybe it would take mind of my stupid ankles. It didnt

We headde up hill towards cow poo corner and i lost Ian here but didnt have strength to push on, i was throwing myself int rivers to try and aleviate pain and numb it, it helped for few minutes i guess. JUst past Poo corner i saw Nick and he gave me big hug. I was a bit tearful here knowing it was a crucial time. Stephen soon appeared to looking worried. They went back on ahead to Ben Fogle, i arrived and Susan gave me hugs, drugs and tea. We chatted about what to do, could i go on? Could i do anothet 45 miles in this pain wth the option of it getting worse and ending up in hospital again.

I really didn't want to make that decision. This was not part of the plan. My visualisation had me going up that hill happy with a cup of tea, waving goodbye to crew knowing i'd see them again soon.

The reality was that i left there with the decision hanging heavy & knowing the next 3 miles were crucial. There were as many downhills as ups so it would make the decision for me. Hugs from Susan & Stephen felt ever more important and i'm a bit teary even typing this;

Nick walked up hill to picnic table with me,hugged me and told me i was fabulous. I didnt feel it. Tim D passed me here and he was making good progress. I soon realised that i was going slower trying to run downhill than i was walking it. So i walked them, and they still hurt a lot. I got to that last bit of downhill where you end up in tiver and have to climb out steep bit rock. I couldnt get out river, i didnt have strength in my ankles to grip onto rock and i stodd there thinking id be there til someone came along and pulled me out. Somehow i managed it though and decision was probably made there & then.

As i made my way gingelry down the hill i suddenly saw Ian come up hill to meet me. My crew had alerted him to my issues and he wanted to check on me. I cried when i saw him. We had a chat about what was sensible and he told me it was totally my call. I knew that anyway and iknew it was game over. We got to bttom of hill and Nick appeared again, we told him i was pulling out knowing i couldnt hobble another 45 miles and he looked a bit relieved. Ian had parked in layby and was heading up to FW so we said our goodbyes and i headed across road with Nick. Stephen ran out to meet us and we walked in towards Auchtertyre with heavy hearts. Stephen ran on ahead to alert Susan and by time i arrived i was shaking with cold and soaked through, even though i'd changed gloves hat and buff at Ben Fogle. I knew then i'd made right decision.

Susan had cupasoup ready for me and whisked me off to toilets where i was stripped down and redressed in warm dry clothes.  Getting into the car afterwards i felt relieved rather than sad.

We headed up road went to cottage before heading along road to see winner Terry Conway storm home as if he was running a 5k. Amazing! next up was Paul Giblin who was screaming & wooping from the corner, loved it.

Crew wer tired & hungry so we headed off to get chinese, we popped back to drop one off for Ian & Doctor Andrew Murray asked to see my ankles. After fiddling with feet and examining them i was taken inside to show t 2 of his colleagues. Finally after a whole year, ending up in Hospital and having several diagnosis thrown around i was told i had Dorsiflexor Tendonopathy.He has also suffered from it and look at what he does, there is hope.  So finally i have something to work on..I was told to go home and ice and elevate, then strap them up so i did.

Back at cottage the crew started dropping like flies and went off to bed. I was sittng by window txting Ian when a runner went past and wide awake. My head & bodyclock were still in racemode big time. I got call from Jules to say Andy was at braveheart so i went outside to high five him on hisay past. Once back inside i decided to head back along to Leisure Centre, i'm so glad i did. Got to see quite a few finishers and crew and Ian of course.Andy had a funny turn so i was glad to be there to look after him as Sean was being kept busy with few casualties around by then. Once it got past the  time i'd got in previous yr (2/3am) my body eventually said sleep so Norman kindly gave me lift back and i finally put the WHWrace 2012 to bed.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

2nd Day- Tyndrum to Fort Wiiliam?

Although i felt pretty damn good all day Friday despite the heat, i was glad to finish and actually tempted to walk back to river and go lie down in it.

Instead i went to room and lay down there as my legs started to stiffen up. Had cup tea and 15mins lie down then a lovely shower and off we went to Paddy's for food. My legs were stiff and sore i  said to Ian i couldn't imagine running 43miles next day, i know I've done it before but when the tiredness and pain kicks in the self doubt also does.

Ian told me the human body was a wonderful thing and I'd feel differently in the morning. After food we wandered back and sat in garden and had a drink but i was fading fast and ended up in bed by 8.30pm! Think heat of day finally got to me, i know how tired i feel after sunbathing all day, this time i was sunbathing for 8hours with a wee run thrown in for good measure ;)

I really didn't sleep well at all, i never do after a long run. Maybe the adrenalin is still pumping round body and confused at sudden rest and its fighting back? Who knows, maybe I'm just weird. Ok, yeah i know i am. 6.30 am and i was up and making tea and making sure Garmin was charged up Ian was of course right and my legs felt fine. .Sun was already bright in sky so i expected more of same except fact there would be very little shade in this section.

And this time i had company. Ian had mentioned to Paul Houston from my club about my double day and he mailed and asked if he could join me. I was hesitant for a couple of reasons. One being that Paul is a 2.40Marathon runner for starters. I warned him I'd be slow, be taking lots walking breaks and oh, that I'd be slow! Another reason is that i guess after last yr i wanted to mentally get through it myself.

Regular readers will recall the hell on earth that was last yrs double run, well the 2nd day anyway, i had everything except locusts thrown at me and i was throwing toys out pram by time Ian met me at Lundavra lol.

But i agreed anyway, and just hoped Poor Paul could put up with my dawdling. He appeared at 8am to meet me and before too long we set off into the sunshine sun creamed up to the max. I love the section from Tyndrum to BoO, i love the landscape ahead and windy path sneaking around the hillside, i think it's stunning, and it's runnable, well most of it is actually. I recall loving it  during the race last yr knowing I'd be picking Susan up to buddy me across Rannoch Moor. Little memories of last yrs race popped into my head throughout my 2day run, funnily enough all fond ones. First funny sight was  an abandoned pair of sandals, they were pointing towards the hill and it looked like someone had stepped out of them and decided to take off barefoot into the hills.

Either that or they were sick of getting stones rattling about inside, i think i prefer version we said though.

 We got to BoO to find a crowd on bridge enjoying the glorious weather and we stopped for couple pics before heading up hill. Cue first fall of day. Luckily it on the hillside into the mud and pain free, just muddy. Up we went and through the deer gate. I told Paul to remember and have a look back at the view, we can sometime forget to drink in the surroundings when we're in a race and it would be shame to miss all those glorious views.

As we skirted the hill Paul remarked there was a runner coming up behind us, i remarked that she better not be showing up by running up the hills when we were walking but she wasn't. Still, she did catch us soon enough though and it only tuned out to be Antonia. Quick chat revealed she'd just set off from BoO and was heading to Fort William too. I said we were also doing that but had came from Tyndrum and said we were out to take it nice and easy, all about time on feet. Antonia said this suited her fine so she fell in line with us and 2 stooges became 3 Amigos.

We hit the tarmac at bottom and it was here i realised i'd forgotten to fill my water bottle, fail. I had plenty juice with me but no water so popped into Inveronan hotel and they kindly filled it for me. Onwards towards Rannoch Moor, the dreaded Rannoch Moor.

As if it wasnt hot enough without being out there in that god forsaken place! Still it meant ot got show Antonia & Paul my future house, they were quite impressed, especially when they found out it also had servant quarters ;)

It was past the gates that Me & Susan had spotted a herd of Deer last month when we did this route, i guess they were staying well in shade today though, lucky them. We had the benefit of the trees for first mile or so then of course it opened up and its blistering heat time. It wasn't too long before Ian joined us which surprised me somewhat, i hadn't expected to see him till at least half way but he'd motored (on his feet that is) across from Glencoe.

So now 3 Amigos became 4 Mustketeers, or something. Rannoch Moor actually passed quite quickly with lots of us around and fair bit of chat to pasite place but i was glad to see the Glorious sight of kinghouse as skirted the corner. Ian had ran on ahead and was driving down to Kingshouse so we could restock.

Neither Antonia or Paul had been on this part of route so letting them know what lay ahead was also taking my mind of things too. We got to Kingshouse and Ian refilled our bottles and sun creamed me up. Antonia and i nipped in to loos then ran on not realising Paul was waiting at car for us, oops. Quick call to Ian and he was soon with us again and we headed towards the Devil's Staircase spotting this Deer just past Kingshouse.

Paul had ran from bottom of Devil but Antonia was new to it, there were tons of cars parked at bottom as usual and lots in car park opposite so we expected to see fair amount of walkers but actually only passed one couple. In fact we hardly saw a soul the entire day unless we got near a town, i think the heat was beating people to retreat. I certainly got fair few comments from walkers the previous day saying they were struggling to walk in that heat never mind run.

Think we made top in fairly good time and got wee bit breeze the higher we got which was welcome. We stopped for drink and few pics at top before heading down the never ending descent to fabled town of Kinlochleven. I'd warned Antonia that the town keeps popping up then disappearing then told her a few tales of when i supported Jen the first yr and i did this in the dark with 2 headtorches between 3 of us, and it was my first time ever wearing a head torch. Oh how we leaned that year! lol

Ian met us in Kinlochleven and we got some lovely cold cans juice in the pub, barmaid kept asking *diet or normal* was she trying to tell us something? haha i said you can tell we're athletes we're all going for full sugar ones.

Ian had said he didn't envy us running in this heat as he'd really felt it when he was running, I'm fairly lucky that it doesn't bother me so much, i think only difference is that i drink much more than normal. Said our goodbyes to Ian and off we headed to the rock face climb out of there. As we wandered along road drinking our cans we bumped into Lorna & David coming in opposite direction. Quick chat to find out their plans and i told them Ian was down road.  we set off again with a warning we only had cover for mile or so then it was brutal.

We cherished every slight breeze we got and i kept jumping in streams when i saw them urging P&A to do so too. A was nervous worrying she'd get blisters. P was throwing his cap in every one and chucking it on head and telling us stories about his crazies ultra runs in the Arizona desert, this weather was perfect for him, too cool perhaps!

Antonia was soon joining Paul with the hat thing and it wasn't too long before she was also jumping in the streams. The heat was really starting to get to us all i think. Both A&P were dubious about filling their water bottles from a a stream until i jumped down a bridge and filled mine up glugging the cold wonderful clear and beautiful water down like it was the best champagne ever. They tentatively started taking sips from their hands before realising it actually wasn't going to kill them haha

Actually it was after this that we all got a new lease of life, and after a bit of a lull and bit of quietness we were suddenly on the move again, running the uphills and fighting over every bit of water we spotted running through it splashing like kids do and laughing our heads off. It was bloody great, after a long slog up there we all had a new lease of life.

Onwards we went and about 2 miles out of Lundavra disaster struck. The new lease of life perhaps left us a bit reckless, we'd all nearly taken tumbles and i was surprised none of us had fallen. Suddenly i was flying through the air and landed with an almighty thud.

I lay there groaning and was picked up by A &P and i tried to put foot down but got pain shooting from knee.Antonia said she got a slow motion of it and could do nothing but watch me fly through air, i hobbled on a bit thinking it would ease like it did on first day. It didn't, it hurt to walk and the minute we got to downhill it hurt a lot. This didn't bear well for a stupid 3 mile downhill to Fort William and i made decision to stop at Lundavra. I tried to persuade Paul & Antonia to go on ahead and leave me to walk in and they could let Ian know i was on way but they wouldn't leave me bless them. Paul decided he stop here too as he had been out for time on feet and we'd had around 8 hrs by then so was happy with that.

We  (i) hobbled into Lundavra and i was relived to see Ian and bit panicked not to see car. I thought, omg, what if he decided to run here? I'd have been stranded, i wasn't though, car was there of course. We got in car and i the minute i sat down the pain hit quite badly. We set off on the windy road out of Lundavra and stopped at the vantage point over FW to look at view. Getting out car was bit of issue and started to feel sick and dizzy and thought i was going to throw up, i kept heaving thinking i was going to be sick but nothing came up. Could be fact that i;d actually ate nothing since my i had bowl porridge that morning then I'd taken some painkillers soon as i stopped. Ian said to me in car that "i' d have to rethink my strategy" as "i kept falling" !!  How do you rethink a strategy to not fall i wondered? I didn't trip or fall once during the entire whw race last yr, yet i still ended up with broken ankles. I fell 3 times over 2 days, twice i picked self up and got on with it, 3rd time unlucky and i didn't want to jeopardise my race my buggering knee up doing that downhill.

And  i'm glad i did. I did the Devil route only recently with Susan, it's not like I've not done that section many a time. I did 69+ miles over 2 days in apparently the hottest part of UK- mental. Took us 8hrs 40 the last 2 miles being very slow due to me hobbling along. 35.90 miles.

I'm ready to taper now, i need to properly rest in the lead up to this and wont same mistakes i did in lead up to Fling. I'm primed and ready as is my crew. My knee was agony on Saturday night and i barely slept as i really hurt whenever i turned over. But i was off Monday, slept for 13hrs and rested lots so I'm getting better every day.

Huge thanks to Paul and to Antonia for the company and for the fun we had jumping in rivers. Lets do it again sometime soon.

Ian was as ever superb support and i really couldnt do all this without him. xx

Ready now, well once I've rested for 3 weeks i will be....

Monday, 28 May 2012

Double Day Training run

After my disappointing effort at the Fling i really needed this double day to go well. I'd tried to get to bed fairly early when i could and wanted to be well rested. Got home on Thursday packed and waited on Ian finishing work. Once he was home and packed we headed off to the fabulous Oak Tree Inn.

Arrived to find it bathing in glorious sunshine and packed at all the outside tables. We quickly checked in headed to bar to fuel up. Normally we don't have starters here as i usually struggle to eat my main course but we were both starving so ordered starers and main courses of Haggis Pakora then Pizza, proper Athletes food.

Almost managed to finish, think only had 3 slices left and unlike last time had no Andy or George to clear my plate so i'm afraid they went to waste. Oak tree was as perfect as ever,love that place i do.

Ian had a whisky to finish off night and i had more wine, we went outside as it was still a beautiful night but soon realised that the Midge's had arrived earlier than usual and were in full brutal force. I've got many a bite to now prove that fact, little evil fuckers. So we retired back inside to try keep safe from them.

Had lovely lie in by not getting up til about 8am then headed off for breakfast I had one weetabix followed by scrambled eggs, toast, beans, haggis and a sausage :) and of course about 5 cups tea.I set off about half an hour later into the mist, Ian had said he'd meet me at some point but i didn't expect to see him til near BeinGlas farm and i was fine with that.

Within about a mile the mist cleared and the sun burst through the clouds clearing to a beautiful blue sky, this was to stay for the next 2 days as the temperature climbed upwards as did i. As i got to the beach i ran down by the water which was just lovely, i remember running along here during fling and stopping to walk, i knew at that point i wasn't going to finish the race if i was walking at that stage. I looked up to see Ian taking pics which was nice surprise, i skipped up beach and gave him quick kiss before running on.

My aim was to go out and and enjoy the day, take it back to hen i first started running on WHW and my first fling and soak up every bit and by god i did. I've never seen so many bluebells in my life, the way is awash with them and the smell, of wow it was like a was in bluebell heaven, just beautiful, All the bits of struggled on during fling were a breeze today, my mojo was back as was my love for the beauty around me which can be totally forgotten when you're having a rubbish run.

It was very hot though and i was drinking plenty fluids so made sure i filled my bottle at Rowaredennan, i also stopped here to put compeeds on as my shoes started giving me grief on the downhills towards there.

I ran walked all the hills to Inversnaid and passed lots of happy walkers who were all saying how impressive it was that i was running whilst they struggled to walk in that heat.

I was almost out of drinks by inversnaid  and bought 2 deliciously cold cans of irn bru and once again filled up my bottle of water. I drank one almost immediately and decanted other in drinks bottle. About 1/2 mile out of Inversnaid where the rock climbing starts i came across a family lifting a bug over a particularly big rock, i had to wait til they'd done that, climbed over the rock to find a grumpy looking woman (mustve been the mum) with her arms folded and a bright red face on that said "not moving another step" and 2 kids looking much same lol I slipped past them wishing them a good day.

Onwards and over and up and over and rocks and steps and more rocks and trees, you know the score. little running to be had on this section but i didn't care. i put my own advice i gave to Susan for this section when she found it a struggle and just looked on it as rest for my legs. Once i got to the clearing i passed 2 walkers then a big crowd down by the water who gave me a big cheer lol. Once i was back under cover and skirting the hillside i fell down like a sack of tatties! Clearly my legs mustve got a bit jellified with the scrambling and were shocked by running again. Luckily no major damage, just scrapes n bruises and a dent to my pride.

Onwards i happily went and as i got about nearer Dario's hill Ian appeared. Was good to see him and get a wee bit company again. We stopped and took couple pics at Dario's post, i know how emotional this is for Ian who was very close to Dario.

Once we got to beinglas i popped into the shop and bought an Ice lollies for us both  and more Irn bru and again topped my water up. Said my goodbyes to Ian and off i went again.Got phone call from work here which slowed me down a bit but once i finished my callypo i was off again. Spotted this on a fairly high tree on way to Derrydaroch, must be kamikaze sheep up there...

Ian appeared not to far from Derrydarroch and ran back in with me, he spotted i was getting bit red so left me there and met me again at underpass and slapped on more suncream, he said he was heading straight to Tyndrum to check in so i probably wouldn't see him til end. I headed up hill towards cow poo alley.
 Was amazed to not only not see a cow in sight nor to have to plough through gallons of mud/poo at the famous alley. First time for everything!   >>

As i approached Crianlarich i got a bit emotional, i'd struggled a bit between Bein Glas and Here last yr during WHW race and i recalled Nick appearing in front of me and i was instantly lifted. He found out what i needed and ran on to have it ready when i arrived at Bogle Glen, where he & Susan walked me up hill towards the picnic table with my requested cup of tea. Love my crew.

I stopped at picnic table and took couple pics before heading off knowing I'd kicked the bum off most of the day. Always seems to get a wee bit longer as you approach the road crossing here as you hear the traffic as you get close then have to climb another hill! Wasn't too long before i was indeed crossing that road though and heading towards the wigwams.

This made me think of my first fling where Jules had surprised me by meeting me here and running the last few miles in with me. All these happy memories were just adding to a perfect training run.

Came through wigwams knowing i had less than 3 miles left and ran happily on, didn't see another runner until a mile away from Tyndrum where i saw 3, 2 who said hello (girls, not together) and one who totally blanked me when i said good afternoon. Charmer.

Got the gates where Ian was once again waiting and we ran that last wee bit together. I finished day one in 7hrs54mins. 33.37 miles with a smile on my face in glorious sunshine. Loved it.

Bits n bobs and catching up

This might be a long blog,probably best get cuppa. I'd blog more if our PC didn't keep bloody crashing on us but hey ho.

Since the fling Ive ran bits n bobs here and there to & froing from work and whatnot. Also ran Glasgow Women's 10k. Weather had been rather lovely on Saturday but by Sunday we had rain, crazy winds and it was Baltic, what joy. Lucky I'm not a fair weather runner. Ian had been invited as VIP guests so we were lucky enough to be in a nice warm chandelier clad marquee before the race  drinking tea, wasn't too shabby ;) Did wee warm up to the start and jumped around keeping warm trying spot people. Bumped into Kerry from Strathearn who told me she "wasn't up for it" but sprinted off like a gazelle soon as we started. I had kept pretty quiet about doing this race as although I'd PB'd at 10k distance during my last 2 half marathons i still think I'm proper rubbish at actual short races.

In spite of dull weather (rain held off thankfully, just windy & cold) i loved this race. It's an incredibly well supported and superbly organised race, cant fault it.There was around 3 unofficial water stations and bands playing every km or so, brilliant.
 And to top it all, i got a PB coming in at 47.12, still work to be done on my speed but Ive never claimed to be a speed demon by any means! Back to Marquee afterwards which was right at finish line, brilliant. Rain started lashing down big time about ten mins after i finished so was glad to warm and inside by then. Saw presentations, had few glasses wine and avoided the delicious smelling buffet as we were heading out for lunch with Ian's Dad after. Had bit of chat with the lovely race winner Freya Murray, what a lovely lovey person she is. We compared heights as i thought i mightve found someone as small as me but turns out she is 1and 3/4 inch taller, very specific she was too ;)

 I've been trying to put a wee bit back in by marshalling too. First off all at Self-Transcendence 5k (Incorporating Scottish 5k road championship) we'd also Marshalled at this last year so i knew it would be chockablock full of very speedy runners and i wasn't wrong.

First duty was handing regristration then i was on Medal Duty. Certainly not much standing around here as Winner was in 14.35 and 135 others in before 20mins had passed! I was certainly kept busy and at one point i was standing with bodies of young men scattered at my feet, i kid you not! If my hands hadn't been so full of medals I'd have got pictorial evidence, it must've looked some sight.
Ian was on official duties handing out Trophies to winners then it was home time.

Next stint was for the Cateran. Oh what a weekend.
Ian picked me up straight from work & we headed up to Glenshee straight away. Arrived to find a buzz of activity and Karen looking relaxed with sidekick George never too far away. Jane was quickly getting into the wine reserves so i promised to join her once we'd dumped our bags.
After dropping stuff in room and came out to find Susan had also arrived so we settled down in corner and ordered food. Ian was being good boy and sticking to water, the girls were on the wine.

Ian went off to bed around 10ish as did Susan and most of the sensible runners. Not so much for the Marshall's who don't have to be quite so sensible, we managed to drink Hotel dry of white wine really quite quickly, i take no responsibility here and blame Karen for not warning them i was coming quite frankly.

Flip & Anna eventually arrived after long drive and we stayed up catching up on stuff until the staff started hoovering around us, i blame the roaring log fire, it was difficult to tear ourselves away, nothing to with the alcohol. Got to bed around 1.30am.

Ian was up around 5for his pre race breakfast which hotel put on early as usual, i stayed in bed til he got back then got up to go for wee run. I had planned on doing 3 out & back and even though it was a glorious morning i just couldn't be bothered and turned about 1.5miles in and got back in time for everyone climbing over style for start of race. Quick hug and good luck to Ian then Susan and i stood back and watched them all race off into the glorious scenic sunshine.

I ran a wee bit out with George & Sophie who managed to arrive just as everyone raced off lol. Went back to hotel for breakfast then got ready for marshalling duties. Jane was driving me down to Blairgowrie where i was marshaling with Keith & Bob. As we drove from Glenshee suddenly Jane shrieked and said she'd saw a wee lamb stuck in fence, i hadn't seen it but we managed to turnaround and go back. I climbed over barbed wire fence to get to wee lamb who look liked had got wrapped up in wire from fence. As i got to it and looked to unravel it i realised the poor wee lamb was actually impaled through its leg :( then into its side :( how on earth the poor thing wasn't crying out in pain I've no idea. I left it with a heavy heart and we went to nearest farm to report it then headed off to checkpoint.

Got to CP to find a Smiley Keith waiting all alone, Bob was en route with the drop bags.
Blairgowrie checkpoint. is at bottom of a steep hill and heads straight onto a busy road, i was lollipop girl for the day. Gavin is usually on this section and i got massive hug from him the yr i ran race.
Only had one incident with one wanker who wouldn't stop, and it just happened to be when Andy was coming through, i shouted expletives at him (the wanker, not Andy) and i would've ran after bloody car and kicked it had other runners not been coming through.

Other than that it was a superb day, Ian came through looking happy he had been suffering with cramp but managed to shake it off. Was good to see him looking comfortable as we'd had a bit of tough time there during our training run. Susan came in with Louise, Susan was hobbling and Louise was saying she'd had enough after a fall and feeling crap in general. Susan twisted her knee and decided to pull out :( She didn't want to jeopardise making it worse by trying to plough through it, wise choice as the rest of route is pretty damn hilly and on a dodgy knee it wouldn't have been clever. Lou was persuaded to go on and take each checkpoint at a time, she ended up finishing :)

Once we back at hotel i ran Susan a bubbly bath and headed off to watch, shout and cheer runners in. Susan will be back next yr to kick the races arse, and i might even join her. One of the reasons she pulled out was to preserve herself for WHW race ie crewing for me, between her & Joopsy i am so incredibly lucky that they are prioritising me above themselves, completely selfless and truly wonderful. lucky person i am.
Because of the downhill finish everyone comes bounding down the hill then down to Finish line with a big cheesy grin. Karen was there to congratulate each and every finisher.Ian came in under 12and half hours and was quite happy with that despite suffering with cramp, its been his longest run for about 2 years. I ran him a lovely hot bath and brought him a well earned pint to enjoy.

 I cant sell this race enough, the scenery is breathtaking, the race organistation is second to none and the Race Director and her sidekick are just the best hosts.

The evening was superb. This time we managed to stay up til 2.30 and found it big struggle to get up for breakfast, Ian was up and out for walk before i even got out of bed and he'd ran 55miles. Think i'm losing my touch!

Double training day blog to follow, this one has gone on too long!


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...