This was to be Katrina’s longest run so far in her build up to the Highland Fling in April. I’d deliberately chosen a tough route as Katrina had not done the section from Inversnaid to Beinglas yet.
Over the last few weeks a few people had said they would like to join us for the run so in the end there 12 running various distances with 9 doing the full 35miles.
Caroline and Karen set off about 9.15am, followed by Caroline’s brother Christopher and friend Keir. The two guys were ‘only’ doing Drover’s Inn to Inversnaid and back so were keen to push a bit harder.
At 9.30am after our traditional photo the rest of us (Katrina & I, Kirsty, Ryan & Becki, Willie, Richard, Steve & Gyp) set off.
I was keen to run with Katrina today and make sure we set off at a nice comfortable pace. For the first few miles I led the way and tried to check everyone was together but I could sense that the pace was probably too slow for Ryan & Steve in particular.
So I paused to take a photo and the four guys went on and we didn’t see them again except as they passed going the other way.
To be honest it worked out really well as everyone had someone to run with at their own pace. Ryan & Steve (with Gyp) ran together, Willie & Richard followed by me and the three girls!
I encouraged Katrina to see the run back to Inversnaid as our warm up and we kept to that running well within ourselves and enjoying the chat and scenery. The weather was perfect. Cold but clear blue sky with no wind at all.
A mile or so we reached Inversnaid we met the guys heading back. Firstly Chris & Keir who were going well. Then Ryan & Steve followed by Willie & Richard. We also saw Karen & Caroline who were running steadily.
I stopped to chat to the guys and found myself having to chase the girls to catch up. We didn’t stop at Inversnaid. So straight round and head back to Beinglas. We now had a 17mile run going the right way.
We calculated that to run 35miles we’d have to go a mile or so past Auchtertyre which I thought would be quite hard mentally but we’d face that when we got there.
On the single track we settled into an order of Becki, Katrina, me and Kirsty. Becki was setting a good steady pace and Kirsty liked being at the back! It is the first time Kirsty had run this section and was not really enjoying the rocks!
One of the things I love about these long runs is the chance to get to know people better and over the course of the run we all chatted with each other and encouraged and helped each other.
I ate some mashed potato with cheese which went down very well. Plus some licorice. I think I drank 500ml of water in the first 4hrs or so.
We ran a little faster on the way back to Beinglas even with a couple of minutes stop at Dario’s post to remember the great man, admire the view and take some photos.
When we arrived at Beinglas we decided to have a quick stop to visit the loo, eat some food and replenish our water bottles from the tap. Here I had a custard with fruit which was lovely. Plus some of Kirsty legendary banana cake!! We saw Karen & Caroline so knew that they weren’t too far ahead.
The weather was getting quite warm now so I stopped and took off one of my layers I was starting to overheat a bit. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. After the weather we had in January I think we deserved a good one!
As we approached Derrydarouch we could see that Kirsty had gone past Caroline & Karen and we were slowly catching them as well. Once we were past Carmyle Cottage and under the A82 we caught them on the climb up the main path.
The five us ran together and caught Kirsty after a mile or so. Karen was wanting to do 25miles so we worked out she’d have to keep going until we entered the forest above Crianlarich before turning back.
The most exciting bit of this leg was the herd of Highland Cows on the path at ‘Poo Corner’. They were standing in the middle of the path and not for moving. So we gingerly made our way through them. Except for Becki who climbed over the wall and avoided them completely!!
It was late afternoon by now and as the sun was starting to go down the temperature dropped. So back on with my second layer and gloves on. I felt better immediately. I find if I get too cold my body has to work hard just to stay warm and it’s harder to run well.
Karen left us as we entered the forest leaving the five of us to continue on. We had another 3.5miles before our turning point. It was interesting how at different points in the run different ones had high and low points.
Katrina had a low point during the last few miles to Auchtertyre. She felt pretty tired and her knees were sore. We worked out that she’s not eaten anything since Beinglas, about two hours ago. Once she’d had a pancake and some sweets she felt a lot better and got going again running strongly.
Not long before we came out of the forest we met Ryan, Steve & Gyp who were on their way back. They were running really strongly and were having a great run. It was a shame I didn’t get to run with them but good that they had each other for company. Gyp looked as happy as ever!!
We crossed the road and made our way to Auchtertyre. Just before we arrived we saw Richard & Willie. They too were going well though Willie was finding it hard going at times. They said they had turned at the Green Power Box about a mile after Auchtetyre.
I thought the last mile or two before we turned was going to be hard knowing we had to retrace our steps so I pushed on until we got there so there was no discussion about turning early!!
Kirsty & Katrina were with me so they turned and headed back and I waited a couple of minutes for Becki & Caroline to show them were to turn. I had my milk shake at this point which tasted really good.
Once we’d turned and were heading back everyone was a lot happier knowing that each step was heading in the right direction!
Caroline’s throat was hurting but she ran really well and despite thinking that she’s be on her own stayed with the group.
I reckoned we’d be back to Drover’s Inn after 6.30pm so was wondering how long we’d have to run in the dark for. We had our head torches so it would be fine.
We crossed the A82 and entered the Forest again. I don’t normally like out and backs but the views were superb today and different on the way back it wasn’t a problem. Through the forest we separated a bit but by the time we came out we were all together.
Caroline was leading the way and took off down towards Carmyle Cottage. I assumed we would catch her at some point before Drover’s Inn but we didn’t!
So the four of us ran together looking forward to getting to Drover’s. Becki couldn’t wait to get her feet in her fur lined boots, Katrina wanted a beer and I was looking forward to some food. Not sure what Kirsty wanted!
With about 30mins or so to go we put on the head torches as it was getting a bit tricky to see! Ryan who had finished his run came out in his car to see if we (well Becki mainly!) was okay. He took a photo for us!
We all finished strongly and quickly got changed. Kirsty, Ryan & Becki headed straight off home while Caroline, Katrina & I went into the Drover’s for something to eat and drink. I hd a lovely plate of chips and cheese!
So a really great day out. I was really pleased for Katrina completing her longest run to date. Next up is 42miles at the end of March and then the 53 mile Highland Fling at the end of April.
Personally I was interested to see how I felt running at 15mins a mile rather than say 12mins a mile. I felt really comfortable all day and my legs feel really good. That is very encouraging as I prepare for the Lakeland 100 race.
If I could run the first 60-70 miles at a similar pace I’d be doing really well and hopefully could hang on to the end. I ran with quite a full backpack which felt comfortable as well.
So thanks to everyone who ran yesterday. It all worked out really well and it was great that everyone had someone to run with at their pace.
Here are the figures from the run …