Tuesday, 31 March 2015

"This is NOT a holiday camp"

That is what Donnie told me whenever i mentioned the word holiday or wine to him. "This is a training camp"

Never a truer word was said.

Keziah's OH took us through to airport and we headed straight to bar for bottle bubbly to celebrate
A- being on holiday (or so we thought)
B- her huge PB and win the day before at Kelso Marathon
C- being generally fabulous

I then stocked up on snacks for the flight rather than pay exorbiant prices only to leave them on my seat where we were waiting to board! aaaargh

Hey ho. I bought a toastie and some red wine and calm was restored. Donnie picked us up from airport and it was about half hour car journey to our destination. Charlie was cooking dinner for us and i cracked open another bottle of wine only for Charlie to grab it off me and pour some into the pot, i nearly choked on the bloody wine. Oh the waste....

We were told to be up and ready to leave at 9am the next morning. We were heading up Puig Campana. A rather large looking rock that was our outlook. this was view from our kitchen window.
 Link (roll over me to see where I go)
omfg. 2 hrs later we were top and had done about 3 miles. I had visions of Ian getting a call saying i'd fell off Mountain and died, actual serious.
When Donnie announced at the top that tomorrow we were doing a Tempo run up same way i told him i wasn't going up that way again. I was genuinely scared of falling down mountain as my foot kept dislodging rocks and anyone behind me (poor Keziah for part of it) was dodging rocks big time. Donnie ended up going behind me to help guide me and to give me bit more confidence in case i did fall. Donnie goes up there is 55min normally! crazy.

We were out for about 6 or 7 hrs that day, it was meant to be bit longer (that only covered about 18 miles!) but we were all knackered. Me because its longest i've done in long time, Charlie arrived day 2 days before us and had already done long runs and Keziah cause she'd ran Marathon Sunday
. That's the beauty of Donnie recceing area and knowing it well enough to be able to cut it short thankfully. The terrain is so hard,rocky and stony and unforgiving on feet. My poor feet were aching. It was clear by end of first day that this was indeed no holiday camp. I found out later it was higher than Ben Nevis

Home to great dinner cooked by Donnie, and wine consumed by me before we all crashed. Mine & Keziahs room had an ensuite bathroom, one big problem. it had 4 steps up to it, big ones. It was ministry of funny walks and noises as we made our way up and down those steps throughout the week. Just as well we have sense of humour.
Next day was 9am start again and we set off the 2 miles uphill to the bottom of *that* mountain. This time i was going round it and meeting them hafway round, they were going up and over. So i had gradual climb and the had vertical one again. Know which one i prefer !i knew i had a bit of time to kill once i arrived so i ran round where i was and did a bit of hill reps totting up another 4 miles before the guys arrived. We then set off down the mountain and back to house to top off a 13 mile (3hr) day. That was the morning session.

Evening session was a night run. Boy was i nervous about this. We drove out to somewhere, dont ask me where but we did climb quite a bit and it was beautiful and sunny when we set off and for first hour or two. Constant climbing again and at one point me & Keziah were on a bit of low and Donnie shouted to us "only 60metres to top" yahhoo. Only it wasnt. It only 60metre to top of *that* hill (mountain) we still had another 3 peaks to go. jeez. Views were outstanding though
and we got some great pics. Headtorches on and we got to peak, boy it was peaky. The climb down was more than a little steep and we may have screamed a bit. Well maybe Donnie didn't. I was kinda glad it was pitch black!

We got back down to land rover track which was about mile from where car was, it then that we just stood spellbound at the stars sparkling like diamonds in the sky, along with the sound of silence. Donnie was getting Charlie to close his eyes and un downhill, madness. You can't buy moments like this. Back to car, home along bumpy windy road for anther great dinner (Donnie is great cook) and more red wine. Well I bloody needed it before tackling the bathroom steps again ;)

Next day was long run again. Donnie showed us route on PC, we had bit of a drive to get to where we were leaving car. It was steep. Shock. Each day so far we'd climbed higher than Ben Nevis. This was no holiday, have I mentioned that? Off we set for long run, we had a lovely mixture of terrain here. Still lots rocky stuff but some lovely trails through forests, and the glorious colours of the trees which looked stunningly gorgeous until you tried to grab hold of one and realised it was full of thorns! Ouch. Mistake made over and over.
 Only this time we went a bit off track. Couple of times we headed down trails to find they stopped and the drop, and I mean drop down was too stupid dangerous to contemplate. Weather was still glorious and we were unconcerned. Until we got to bottom go hill at one point where a house was and two dogs had ran at us barking and snarling, this had happened about an hour previous and Donnie had saved us all, no messing with a former marine. He confronted said dogs and scared them off. This time they weren't back down and me & Keziah were hiding behind a tree and eventually Charlie came and joined us leaving Donnie to deal with dogs! Lol luckily the owners came out and called them off. They also showed us to a water pipe where we all refilled our bottles for rest of run ahead. It was a hot day and we had fair bit to do.

This is where it all went a bit thorn shaped. Back up hill past house and not big steep hill, through many gorse bushes and picking our way through rocks. We eventually got to top and looked down at non existent trail. But plenty of the evil but beautiful yellow trees. There was no other way, down we went, the boys ploughing on ahead, me keeping Keziah in my sights with her white cap, sometimes she'd disappear into the thickness and height of it al but I'd hear yelps and screams so kept following the voice. At one point I came to a halt though and we had to find alternative route, Donnie came back up to guide me round. Once to got to a clearing I found Keziah sitting down on ground, I joined her and we both laughed, oh how we laughed. Our legs were a total mess, we took off our shoes and emptied all the thorns out and sat picking the hundreds of thorns out our legs.

At this point we knew we were on nicer trails and route back to car but we were a bit worried as Charlie was flying home that night and time wasn't exactly on our side knowing we still had 40 min drive back to villa. Donnie decided to run on ahead and said he'd leave signs for us if there were any bits we could go wrong. We found wee piles of stones at one point then his water bottle and were playing the " what will we find of Donnie's next?" Game ended when we heard the sound of a car just as we started on another uphill ( god help us) we were saying " please let this be a white car" lo and behold it was. Me and Keziah jumped into each other's arms like we'd scored the winning World Cup goal then threw ourselves on boot of car hugging it. Today had been an epic tough day.

We had plenty time after all and we stopped of at a most beautiful little village in the mountains where we took pictures and compared scars bought some souvenirs and I had a most fabulous ice cold shandy.
 Somehow the toughness of the run started to fade in the sunshine, I think we were all proud of how we dealt with it all. Donnie promised us pizza that night and we had a happy content drive back. Quick  late lunch and we bid Charlie farewell and Donnie went off to deposit him at airport.
  Keziah & me argued over who was going in shower first. I lost. There were a few yelps but it wasn't as bad as I anticipated. I poured myself a large drink and waited on Donnie returning with our pizzas which we devoured happily with more red wine. Or that might've just been me. ;-)

The next day we were promised an easy day. 9.30am start in the glorious sun and off we set up the hill, todays delights were hill reps! 55 mins. With Donnie 3/4 up hill and running with us pushing us on each time.

think only reason I wasn't sick was because I sensibly didn't have breakfast first! We got bit of down time to sunbathe, have lunch then chill out before heading back out later in day for another run. Donnie asked how we were feeling, Keziah was chirpy and said, great! I was less chirpy and said *ok* I was feeling a bit tired if truth be told!
We set off up a new hill where we climbed p onto ridge where we got marvellous views once again. I started feeling a bit sick and Donnie fed me teddy bears, the jelly ones, not the furry kind. Ten minutes later they made a return trip and ended up mashed up teddy bears on top of a mountain. This was pattern for next 15 mins or so, every time I thought I was ok up they came along with all the water id drank. I was incredibly thirsty.

Donnie decided to cut run short, I felt awful and said I'd go back myself as I didn't want to spoil their run. They protested but I insisted, I had straight run back down road to village and was only home about 45mins before they got back, Only missed on about 4 miles as it was 2nd session of day. I think fatigue just got to me that day tbh. this pic was taken just before I was sick

After wee sleep I felt much better and we even got taken out for dinner that night in the metropolis that is finestrat and its finest Italian restaurant.

Last day and the weather wasn't looking good. Woke up to clouds and we couldn't even see the Mountain which faced us every morning. I was doing round the mountain again and Keziah &; Donnie were going up & over.  I bid them farewell at bottom of the vertical Km and off we went. Weather was very changeable but I was in vest until I got a bit higher and it got colder and wetter. I got to our meeting point and it was pretty cold. I didn't really want to hang around too long getting colder and I wasn't entirely sure of route all way round so I decided to back way I came, I txt Donnie to let him know and he called me to make sure I was ok with that (I so was!) I got totally &  utterly drenched on run back it was correct decision. Keziah & Donnie weren't too far behind as they'd got snow at top and it was pretty miserable.

Elevation pic makes it look like a nice shaped mountain for last day

Once we were all back and had a last lunch once again a triumph

Then the clouds disappeared and the sun made a reappearance. There was chat about a run later but me & K decided to let Donnie go running on his own and do his own thing instead of baby-sitting us for a change.

He did try and change our minds but we stuck to our guns and decided we'd go for a tourist run around the town. What great fun we had!

And there it is. Last run done. We were rewarded that night with a trip to the bright lights of Benidorm to Tapas alley where I made sure I sampled the local cava just make sure it was up to standard of course

To sum up the week, I was pushed way beyond my comfort zone many a time, did 83 miles and climbed higher than Ben Nevis many times. I came back from Spain stronger and more confident in my training than I've felt for a very very long time.

Donnie is will be organising this again next year and I will most definitely be signing up again, cant recommend it enough. Superb.

see here

Adios Amigos

Monday, 30 March 2015

Its been while.

Time to resurrect this blog, cant believe my last blog was in June! shocking. Must get back to it.

So excuse me if this is long blog. I guess with facebook & twitter most folk know what everyone else is up to but I want to get back to blogging so I can look back and say *I cant remember doing that!* in my old age ;)

I did intend to blog after WHWrace last year to give a view from the other side. Even though I was meant to running I was pretty chilled out *just* being a helper.

 I helped at registration which meant to go to give out plenty hugs to lots of nervous runners and clip on the hospital band with glee. Then I shadowed Ian for rest of race. What an absolute  honour and pleasure it was to see Paul smash the heck out of his previous target & for Robbie to *only* come second having set out to beat Pauls previous record, which indeed he did. Was fab to see Fionna finish too. Certainly made up for not running myself

Just amazing.  We not only welcomed the first runner in, we also welcomed the last runner in. Then it was time to clear up & head to ceremony.

By this time we'd been awake since race started pretty much. We grabbed maybe 3hrs sleep at Oak Tree but other than that it was just case of knuckling down. It reminded me o first time I crewed in race for my friend Jen who got n just under 34hours. Used to say that was most tiring thing I've ever done but shadowing Ian last year topped that.

After ceremony we had few drinks in bar before heading off to bed with promises to meet Karen & George for dinner at 7pm. 2 alarms set and we slept through both. I got woken up by txt at 9pm from Karen asking if we'd eaten yet. First of all I didn't even know where I was, what day it was or what she was on about! Then it suddenly dawned on me and I screamed. This woke Ian up and suddenly we were rushing round getting dressed and racing up t pub to try get there before they stopped serving food!

This year I'm back running the race, its easier.

For the rest of the year I mainly ran half marathons which was a nice change. We did Loch Leven, Arran, Glasgow & Aviemore.  Ians 100th Half was Glasgow and his 100th Marathon was also looming. We were heading to California for our hols so it made sense to make Vegas his 100th. First stop was San Francisco which was wonderful. We hired bikes and road across the Golden Gate bridge to beautiful town called Sausalito, my first time on a bike in about 10years!

We visited Alcatraz and I resisted locking Ian in call although I was tempted.
Next stop was LA- where my cousin picked us up from aiport before heading
to Hermosa beach where she lives. We visited Universal studios which was ace fun, Santa Monica & we did whole Hollywood tour of course.

 Flight number 3 took us to Vegas. We were staying at the Venetian. I noticed that the hotels staff car parks were about twice the size of any hotel back home. The sheer size of these places are crazy. Our hotel had a canal in it with Gondolas, just madness. Day after arriving we headed off to Grand Canyon. Very long day but stunning to see. Blooming freezing it was too!

Next day we went to pick up our Marathon numbers. At this stage Ian had announced to everyone he wasn't running his 100th after all. He had been fundraising for SAMH and wanted everyone who had already sponsored him know. He felt he'd done too much this year and his running had suffered in the consequences, he wasn't keen on doing a death march.

When we picked up our numbers he still hadn't made final decision. It was only later that evening he said he would do it, the race gives you the option of doing half and you peel off the full course at about mile 9 so he knew he could do that if he wanted. So, decision made, Just go out and enjoy.

Not often you get to run down a closed off Vegas strip after all! As you can see he did indeed finish his 100th.

So back home to full steam ahead with Christmas. I was stunned & delighted when Ian proposed to me on Christmas morning. Followed quickly by "I think we should get married Oct/Nov, that way all the races are pretty much over"  lol

So that's what we are doing. November 6th this year.

So that was 2014. Year of the no Ultras but hey, I guess its good to give your body a bit of a break from it sometimes. Fast forward to January training weekend at Oak Tree which meant my longest training run since same weekend last year - gulp.

It went great, I felt strong and ran as many hills as I could. Just after halfway point I ran with Stuart chalmers and the miles ticked by quickly, we bumped into Keziah & Lorna about 25 miles in and we ran rest of  way with them. Great night again in Oak tree with the usual suspects!

 Next day we went for walk up Conic and surrounding area. I felt my shin was a bit sore after, as if I'd been kicked hard on it. Odd. Tried running on it couple days later and it just got worse. I rested it, iced it, all the usual and when I felt I wasn't getting any better booked physio.

At this point I had already booked & paid for training camp in Spain which my PT Donnie Campbell was organising so  I was bit panicked knowing it was only weeks away and I wasn't running at all. I was walking loads though, I was still out walking for same period of time I'd be running to and from work so didn't feel like I was losing out too much.

 On second visit to Physio I  felt like I was getting worse not better. In fact for 2 days after I was limping and it was sorer than it had been. He sent me off for x-ray to rule out stress fracture at this point. By day I got my x-ray I was starting to feel better. by time I left hospital I decided to run/walk back to work and still felt ok. So I'm unsure if it was the rest, the laser treatment or the ultrasound, maybe a combination of all of those. Anyway, not complaining, I was back and pain free. hurrah! Bring on Spain.

but that needs a blog in its own right....


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...