Sunday, 9 April 2017

3 nights, 3 hotels,a few wet miles on the way & a little help from my friends.

Last week it snowed.

It was no huge surprise to be honest, I mean my ayephone told me it would. The day before I ran to work in a vest and Lorna Mc pointed out to me I wouldn't be in vest next day She was right, as was my ayephone.  Just as I stepped outside at 5,48 or thereabouts the first few snowflakes started to fall. By the time I was  miles in it was full blown snowstorm and I was finding it difficult to see. I stopped to do a live video ( as you do) as I wasn't sure anyone would believe quite how bad it was.

I mentioned in video that we mustn't let weather affect or stop training run (never have) and I've always said "it could be like this on race day"  Now I did say in the video that if its like THAT on race day then I'd stop drinking champagne AND I'd eat my hat, a woolly ronhill one in case you weren't watching.

I am now a bit worried my sick & twisted crew will ship down some snow.

I took last Friday off work with the plan for 2 days running on WHW route. I've actually not done a big back to back in a long time so although I've been running pretty strong this year it was a big ask for my wee body. Originally I was doing it solo as it was Ian's financial year end at work but the pull of long run on his favourite part of whw was too much of a pull, or maybe he was going to miss me...

So I'd made plans to do it alone, kinda. Plan was to get train to Milngavie and Carol would pick me up and take me to Oak tree. Slight change to go meet Lorna for catch up Glasgow then meet Carol but we still got Oaktree in end. Had lovely dinner with Carol then she went home only to return at 8am to run the first 7 miles with me.  I wanted to leave pretty sharp with a long day ahead of me

Weather was pretty dreich but certainly warm enough for us to be in vests. given that Carol is a small ultra chatty wee blonde and i'm an ultra chatty wee blonde it was a talkative cocktail as opposed to a Molotov cocktail. The  7 miles went in a flash & I sadly waved goodbye knowing I had a lonely 35 miles ahead.

Even though I was on my own & having done this route so very often I made good progress and got to Inversnaid bang on target. I was happy to find hotel open so popped in to use toilet and dry off for few minutes, the rain was relentless but it still wasn't cold. I set off for lochside knowing the rocks would be a bit treacherous, I was right. It made for pretty slow progress, last thing I needed when on my own in middle of nowhere was to injure myself, i'd barely seen a soul since rowardennan, one guy I did pass almost had heart attack, clearly not expecting anyone else to be daft enough to be out in that weather.

As I got to top of Darios hill suddenly the wind picked up and I had to stop & put jacket on as it really chilled me. I decided to nip into Beinglas & get cup of tea to takeaway but once I was inside I decided to run garmin off for  mins and dry out-warm up a little knowing I still had 22 miles to go.

Every waterfall I passed was ferocious, some you'd not normally notice as they trickled down hillside were so full & noisy, rather beautiful. No such thing as bad weather.. Cow poo alley was pretty disgusting, I had to get through herd of cows who gathered round the calfs and glared at me, I shouted shoo like Ian showed me to but they laughed in my face and stood their ground. I was hopped over the style I thanked them for not killing me. If anyone had come along and saw me speaking to cows I'm sure I'd have got a strange look or two but hours on your lonesome can do strange things.

Rollercoaster passed quicker than normal, passed few groups of kids doing DOE and soon enough I was at road crossing. Got to field to find these signs, I followed the advice. I'd suggest anyone out there running soon does too.
Unless you like disappearing into more soggy bogs. not long after going under road I got to river crossing (where there is now a bridge!) and bumped into Mel, first runner i'd seen all day. She said Noanie was just ahead walking the dogs and sure enough there was Rufus & Sam bounding up the trails, I shouted on them and they ran to greet me then probably wondered who hell this drookit wee thing was.

After a lovely Hug from a surprised Noanie I set off up road with her, we were about mile & half away from Tyndrum and it was nice to have bit of company after 8 hrs on my own. I decided a wee walk break would do me good and give me bit more energy for my last 10miles. I bade her & dogs goodbye at Bytheway then ran off on my final stage.

Stopped off at Brodies for a mars bar after realising I hadn't eaten all day. So walked up hill eating that, it gave me spring in my step for my favourite part of course. Still the rain came down, heavier than ever, but I could see ahead there was bits of blue skies peeking through. Saw few more runners from training weekend & had quick chat with Tina before running on. About a mile out from Bridge of Orchy a miracle happened-it stopped raining. 9 full ours of rain and it stops when I have half an our of running left, go figure! Nice to get jacket off and back down to my vest for last push up & over Jellybabyhill. As I crested said hill Ian called me to say he was just leaving Edinburgh & expected to arrive around 9pm.

The glorious sight of Inveronan hotel, speaking to Ian and the killers on loud put a smile on my face & a spring in my step for the last downhill of day. Got into my room and did a victory dance to find I had a bath, was dreading arriving to find a poky shower room. You can keep your icebaths, after a run (a very wet one at that) I need a soak in a hot bubbly bath and boy did it feel good. Coupled with cup of tea, bag of crisps and a cup of tea it was pure dead brilliant.

Can highly recommend this wee hotel, friendly attentive staff, lovely cosy room and superb food. No wifi, no signal on phone and the tv doesn't even get a signal but none of that mattered. Ian arrived 9pm sharp and  we had few drinks in bar before finishing off wine I'd brought with me.

Lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs & smoked salmon and Ian set off in car for Bridge of Orchy so we could get train back there next day. he was running from there, I was lucky enough to have Lorna, Emma & Louise for company for start of the day. Lorna & Louise were doing 5 out & back and boy did those 5mile pass quickly .We waved them off and me & Emma who was running to Kinlochleven (from Tyndrum) set off again and were surprised to see Kingshouse hotel appear rather quickly. Amazing what chatter and not constantly looking at mileage can do.

We got down to Kingshouse to find 4 very tame deer wandering around, now although its fabulous to see them up so close its kind of sad too. They know they will get fed by tourists but its not the stuff wild deer should be eating really. Still lovely to see them. Emma was uber excited!

After a few pics we set off on that god forsaken section to Altnafeadh and the devils straircase. Again this section which usually fills me with dread passed quickly and we were soon climbing up the staircase pondering when Ian would catch us up.  I like the Devil, I never find that climb nearly as bad as the climb out of KL.

We got to top and they may have been some larking around.
Off we went of the never ending descent in the mythical town of kinlochleven. About 3 miles down Ian suddenly appeared behind us just as another runner ran towards us to stop for chat. I gave Ian a quick kiss and he powered on ahead. few mins later we stepped aside to let a runner who was hammering it g past us, we watched in awe as he ran on then skipped up hill past Ian as if he wasn't even on a hill.

Further on we came across a group of walkers, think they were Italian, they stood wither side of trail whopping, cheering & high fiving us, utterly brilliant. Ian said they did same to him. wish I'd got pic but we were laughing so much from the reception we skipped on down the trail . We were now trying to work out timescales as Emma had a bus to catch to get her back to her car. As we got into KL we ran up road to see bus sitting there, we asked driver when he was leaving and he said "now" oh, wait till we get a selfie said we! haaha he did too.  I sadly bid farewell to Emma and tried to talk myself into positive frame of mind for next 14 miles and *that* climb.

As I ran through the town I came across this>
I stopped for a moment and thought about my Mum, and I knew she'd be very proud of me. It gave the positive boost I needed and I ran on with happy thoughts of her in my head.

here is great excuse to put my fundraising page. >>>

As I set off up the trail Ian called to warn me of a possible turn I might miss. There was bit in path with no sign that means its possible to go uphill when in fact you should go left & down. I have been known to get lost but I was ok, although I did see a few walkers head up that, maybe they wanted to though...

Eventually I got to top and once round corner and properly onto Lairig mor I started spotting Ian in the distance in his yellow fling tshirt. It was taking my mind of things watching I'm appear & disappear up and down hills or round corners & I wondered if I was gaining on him. I knew with all those miles in my legs i'd be hard pushed to catch him. Eventually Lundavra appeared and as I wandered up that hill it made me think of last time I did it in the race, good times.

Its a few miles in before you start to see the forestry work that's closed that part of route for past 6 months. At first its just lots of branches and debris all over path making it easy to trip up on my tired legs and catching in my shoes a fair bit. As I crested hill to where main part f feeling was I found 2 bewildered  foreign walkers who were standing on top a muddy mound  just looking around in astonishment. The path totally disappears and they weren't sure where to head. I picked my across the mud mounds and found path again and they gratefully followed, after that part its easier to see the trail even though its mostly covered but they'd be able to watch me in distance as I ran on ahead.

The forestry commission did say they would re open the path on April 1st and they stuck to that, but I do think it was perhaps a tad too early, I'm pretty sure its all been cleaned up now but it would've been confusing to anyone who didn't really know the route. Not that I passed anyone on Lairig anyway but still.

I used to love running through that bit of forest but hey, that why these trees are planted as I explained to the tourists who were horrified and asked why on earth they'd do that. I guess its just the shock of the devastation. Anyway, I was soon enough on fire road and on the never ending road to Braveheart car park. I passed the famous30mph sign and couldn't resist a photo stop by the leisure centre where I got a bit emotional thinking of my last finish there .

Another half mile to go and I arrived at Hotel just as garmin clocked 34 miles. 77 Miles done & dusted, two very different days. Challenging conditions but I loved it all.

Felt strong on both days and finished still running strong and happy. Was surprised to arrive at check to find Ian hadn't checked in but I soon found him next door in pub. Nice wee rehydration was in order for sure and well deserved I felt.

Next day we went for wander around town and seafront to loosen off legs before getting train to Bridge of Orchy to pick up car. Oh my goodness, what a stunning journey that is, right through middle earth ;) passing through Rannoch moor and the most remote station in the UK. Breathtaking scenery. Its nice to sit back & enjoy.

We stopped off in Tyndrum for spot of lunch at Real food café & managed to catch up with John, Noanie, Gavin, Lorna, Mark and few others who'd been on training weekend. Lovely end to a great two days training.

Had to celebrate once home...

As I write this one week on, I'm pleased to say I recovered pretty quickly, a good indication of where my training is at. I took 2 full days off and was back running by Tuesday. Nice easy cutback week. London in now calling.....


  1. great running, great read and glad Ian was able to get a run too :) Well done x

  2. I need to
    Be mentioned more.



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