Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Highland Fling

This was my 4th Fling this weekend. 4th! I've only finished the damn thing once though.

My first Fling was very special in so many ways but I've already blogged about that. 2nd i fell once early on the again a mile from BeinGlas. I thought i'd done some real damage and pulled out there. Last yr i felt great for first 15miles then started to feel crap. Coming across poor Ellen lying with broken shoulder in Forest near Rowardennan confirmed another Fling DNF. Again, it's there in my blogs.

But things were being sent to test me before getting anywhere near the race. I originally had planned to run with my whwrace crew. Susan & Nick. But Susan got injured, then Nick did too. And Ian had football so i had to change plans around a bit. Nick told me he was still coming to support me, which is quite incredible considering he lives in blooming Lincoln.

So this year was going to be different, i was getting to end if i had to bloody crawl there. Training has been going well and i was confident, but you never really know whats going to happen on the day. We arrived in Tyndrum the night before and had much fun meeting up with all the usual suspects. I slept really well and was raring to go by time 6am came around, which for me is a perfect race start time. Quick photo call with club mates and we were good to go.

I had specific instructions from Ian and was determined not to mess things up. Bit difficult reeling it in now that first section has been upgraded so much, had to keep pulling self back so as not to suffer later.I loved that so many good friends were marshaling, i got kiss off both George & Karen at Beech Tree then Neil & Caroline at Drymen, love it. Puts proper spring in step that does.
 Got to top of conic and much to my surprise i also found Ian. Quick chat/kiss and i was off back down. Plenty people passing me taking advantage of upgraded path but i was being mindful of my quads for latter stages.

David caught me here and we ran into Balamaha together and then headed to toilets. I was in and out there and on my way again.Not long after coming off the first climb after Balmaha a relay runner passed me rather speedily. He then proceeded to run towards guy in front and can only describe it as manhandled him out way! When guy protested the relay runner shouted "I'm in a race mate"  guy responded "aye, so am i!" how rude!
yeah you're in race but a mere 12miles compared to the 53 we were doing it's fucking rude to do that.  Rest of relay runners were great btw. whoever you were, hang you re head in shame, doubt you'll be reading this though, guessing us Ultra runners aren't important enough.
 Arrived at Rowardennan bang on schedule and after lovely hug from Fiona R i was off again. Arrived at Inversnaid again bang on time again. More kisses and hugs from Karen & George and off i go again.

I struggled this section, lots of people were passing me here. Not sure if it was because i was slowing down or if i was being sensible still. There is so much jumping off rocks and trees here that i was ever mindful of my ankle problems. Every time i jumped off a rock, cause lets face it there is no choice here, i felt crunching. I was probably over paranoid but after issues I've had i didn't care. So i took it easy and i calmed down and let people pass.

Which meant i came into Beinglas feeling good. Dropbag here had a bottle irn bru, can red bull and a miniature of vodka. Helen Munro was much amused (thanks for pic) and i took that and took off. Took slug of redbull and poured vodka in then called Ian to let him know where i was. I was around 30mins behind schedule here and was worried it had all gone pear shaped.

Not so said he, you've got 2.5hours to get to end, you CAN do this. You know what?after that phone call i knew I'd put everything i had left.I also txt Nick to let him know my time. I came across Duncan McGoohan about mile from Beinglas (he was everywhere!) and he kindly took my empty can and off i went. Just after Derry Darroch i came back onto trail then came a cropper, tripping on smallest stone. Smashed knee hard and landed in pile of cow poo.

Lay there shouting FUCK. Hurt my elbow which was bleeding but my knee was really hurting. Oh well, not lot i could do except pull self up and get on with last 9 miles eh?
In fact it probably spurred me on. I started seeing people in distance and targeting them, passing them and setting new targets. I ran through Cow poo alley as others were tip toeing round edge, fuck it, i'd already been lying in it did it matter if it got all over my shoes?

Got to Crianlarich and had forgotten Gavin was going to be there, another huge hug and i was on way up into forrest. Another mile on who should appear but saint Nick!
Now i knew he was coming but i had expected him around the wigwams perhaps, he was at bottom of hill 5 miles out and when i spotted him to took off up hill. I soon caught him though ;)

we carried on picking people off and chatting away happily. By wigwams i was bursting and had to run to loo and as i came out Keith Ainslie passed me, i was suprised and told him i thought he'd be way ahead of me, he told me he'd been chasing me since Beinglas!

Told Ian this yesterday and he told me i couldve got sub11 if i'd not gone, told me i shouldve peed myself and that i'd be getting cleaned up at end anyway! lol. No race is worth that much, sorry!

So no i didn't sub11, but i was very happy indeed with 11.05 which was a PB by a about a minute.Had few glasses of red at finish and quick catch up wth everyone. Delighted to find out my  clubmate Fionna came 2nd, so delighted for her, only got beaten my a minute too! We got 1st ladies team too as well as mixed team prize. Not bad for wee club - go Harmeny!  Sean cleaned me up at end and made me scream a bit but i was ok really.

I'd told Nick not to let me stay too long at end (no willpower me) as we(he!) had to drive to Fort William, get cleaned up, food and sleep to start all over again in morning in Tyndrum but thats another blog. We headed off still meeting loads folk and hugging/ catching up as we headed to car, Nick joked that it's like walking along road with Julia Roberts. Shame he's no George Clooney ;)

Got to Fort William and all i could think about was a hot bath. Checked into my room to find a shower. I actually nearly cried, i also swore. Then i found out i only had 2 towels. ffs, 2 people were originally booked in this room.
 towels? Oh, and no hairdryer> wtf. Travelodge fail.

I txt Nick to say was ready and off we went for a massive Indian meal and few more glasses red and i was tucked up in bed by 10.30 ready to face next days challenge.

another blog to follow.

Monday, 1 April 2013

No hiding place

This year has always been about quality over quantity. Getting stronger not and not worrying over mileage, or what other people are doing.

Ian set me plan at start of year and i added to it by getting  Donnie as my PT to strengthen me up. First race of year was day after D33 which we were marshalling at. we had original plans to stay whole weekend but Ian wouldnt have seen his boys and we decided to race on Sunday after being offered places in the Kilomathon. After having a great 10mile training run the previous Sunday where i managed to beat Ian he set me a mission. He said i had 2 objectives, one was to beat him, other was to get under and hour (its 13.1K) have to say i was quite confident but it was big fat fail on both counts. Clearly Ian was having an off day previous Sunday and i just couldn't hang onto him, he did indeed get under the hour but i snuck over it in 1.02. Was bit disapointed with that and could blame long day standing around in freezing cold and not getting home til late but i wont. on a more postive note i was 1stFV and 134th overall out of 800finishers so quite high up in field. you can only race who's there an all that..

Seeing Donnie once a week and i usually leave studio with jelly legs, if i swear at him he gives me extra to do and his counting is sometimes dubious when he says, 5 secs to go, then 5 secs later says 5 secs to go but i always seem to forgive him by the end of the hour. Probably too tired to argue by then mind you.

Yesterday was Perth50k although it's not my favourite terrain i do love this race. It's very well organised (thanks to Adrian and his team) and it's super social. With me being a social butterfly it's my kinda race. The race is 1.48mile loop of North Inch Park in Perth, this means 21 loops which sounds mind numbingly awful but because we get to see the vast support crews 21times it makes for fun running. If you're daft enough call that kind of thing fun.

I'd ordered new shoes last week and they arrived on Thu which gave me time to give them a couple of miles test, you know what they say, never run in anything new.....

Ian had set me an objective again and this time i was determined not to let him down. Or myself for that matter. The quest was for sub4.30 this would mean an 8 min pb for me but i thought it was achievable and i was confident. I pondered about wearing garmin or not and decided against, it can be as much as a hindrince to me as a help during races sometimes, guess it depends on your mood but if my pace drops below what i'm aiming for it can knock me, not always. It can spur me on too but i decided against wearing it. We see the clock every 1.48miles anyway so no big deal.

It was pretty damn baltic when we arrived and i had planned on running in my vest, i pondered about changing but wasnt keen then Debbie said she had arm warmers that i could borrow. I told her i'd always laughed at them thinking they were ridiculous and she said i'd laugh no more. Have to say they were proper warm n toasty and it meant i could keep my precious vest on. Soon enough we were being called for race briefing and we lined up at the side to make sure we didnt interupt the 100k runners who'd set off at 7am. I set off a bit too quick, i knew that but i was trying to warm up my frozen toes, i knew i was going too fast as i could see Sharon Law ahead for the whole first lap lol was on 3rd lap i think before i actually started to defrost.

Thing about this race is that there's no hiding place, you can pretty much see start/finish area from wherever you are and there are always other runners around. Ian was helping out doing the timings so no  hiding from him either, who needs garmins with all that going on! I'd been told what lap pace to aim for so i just ran as steady as i could and kept eye on clock every lap. Support was brilliant, my fellow racers were fab and encouraging. To see these guys zip past you doing the 100k as if they're out on an easy jog is really quite inspiring, and so many say *well done, doing great, etc* as they pass. It was like a who's who of the Ultra world, great to see so many familiar faces and even better to see how well they were all doing. I was truly inspired. My fab PT Donnie was doing his 1st 100k and first road race and was passing me making it look far too bloody easy!

On saturday Fiona posted on her facebook page saying " if you're struggling, slap a stupid grin on your face and do a lap for me"  so when i felt the going getting tough thats what i did. My last 3 laps were for you. On my penultimate lap Marco passed me and said it was his too, i tried to keep him in my sights but he soon long gone even though he'd been racing since 7am and was doing the 100k!
 I had a bit of a moment when going through start/finish and someone shouted 2 more to go! I shouted back NO, one i said, and they repeated 2. Luckily Ian was right at funnel and shouted last one Sandra! And even though i'd counted them myself i was bit freaked out. What if i'd miscounted, what if Ian meant i had one more after that. aaargh. Luckily Karen and George saved the day by cycling round to tell me i WAS on my last lap, phew, i wasn't going mad. Not sure how i'd have coped having to do another after thinking i was done.

I crossed the line in 4hrs 26mins and 50seconds. splits and results from both races here
results  Job done.
this pic wasnt the end, JohnK took it probably halfway though, think i was trying to fly instead of run.

Have to say i was a bit teary at end. I never stopped once. Not for toilet break, not for drink, not once. I've never even done that in a marathon, i've always stopped at water stations and drank a bit/walked bit. So to do 31miles without so much as a teeny break i was well chuffed. I'm getting stronger and my training is starting to pay off. Thanks to my fabulous coach Ian for devising my plan and for making me believe and to my PT Donnie for making me stronger.

Talking of Donnie, he practices what he preaches and came 3rd. And Team Scotland retained the Anglo Celtic plate, superb work from Marco (5th) Paul (7th &also doing his 1st 100k!) great work all round everyone.

During race i  noticed my right arm was really sore, i tried shaking it out but nothing seemed to be working, It was odd soreness, from my elbow up to my shoulder, never had it before and mentioning to Debs & Marco after race they both said they've also suffered from it. After posting on facebook this morning it seems i'm not only one either. how very odd. Does anyone know why? Had uncomfortable nights sleep because of it but on plus side my legs are ok, its either that or body can only cope with one thing at a time! Maybe the DOMS will kick in tomorrow.

So i ended up with 12min pb which i'm very happy with. I reckon the secret is borrowing an item of clothing from the fabulous Debs, now if only i could borrow her legs next time.....


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...