Saturday 23 May 2009
I woke fairly early and made sure everything was packed and ready. We dropped off Jo & Emma at work and then drove over to Marco & Debs’ house in Alexandria (via Argos to buy a new vacuum cleaner!). Katrina then headed home all excited to try out her new vacuum cleaner! We arranged that Katrina would aim to get to Bridge of Orchy for 6pm in time for our arrival.
Davie and Sharon were already there and so we set off to Balmaha, arriving just after 10am. Sue A had already set off at 8.30am and there was some discussion whether we would catch her. I had suggested she start at 9am but I think she was keen to get more time between us! Stuart left at 9am so we did have some ahead of us to chase!
After a group photo we were off at 10.15am
Section 1 – Balmaha to Rowardennan (7.89miles in 1hr 27mins 09secs + 6min 41sec stop)
I was keen to run at a steady pace all day and was a little concerned that Marco, Davie and Sharon might want to push harder but everyone seemed happy to stay together. Marco’s hip was a little sore and he hadn’t run much so was a little cautious. Davie had to drop out of the Fling with a sore IT band so he too was happy to take it steady. Sharon was fit and well and just wanted to run with the boys!!
We had a good first section. I spent time chatting with each of the others and the time flew past. I ran at the back of the group most of the way mainly because I was taking photos of the route and each time I paused to take a photo I lost a few yards!
One of the key aims of this training weekend was to get my eating right. One of the things I wanted to work on was eating small amounts regularly. I like to run with just a small bum back but there is no room for any food. So on Friday I bought a small bag which sat snugly on my stomach. I was ideal as I could carry food without any hassle. I was also running with a rucksack but I only opened that at checkpoints.
Throughout the day I made sure between each checkpoint I ate either a kelloks eleven’s bar, a nutria grain bar or a tablet. Plus some jelly babies, haribo or mint sweets.
At Rowardennan I drank the first of my special energy milkshake type thing. It went down well.
Marco, Sharon & Davie at Rowardennan
Section 2 – Rowardennan to Inversnaid (7.17miles in 1hr 21mins 51 sec + 4min 41sec stop)
I set off slightly ahead of the others but in no time we were back together and then I was at the back of the group again taking my photos! We decided to walk the first part of the hill and run easy up the second part. We were all running very disciplined and sensibly.
A word here about Marco! I must say I was very impressed throughout the weekend with Marco. He is such a talented runner and his potential in this race is to run a very quick time but he has, so far, he has let himself down with suicidal early pacing. We spent a lot of time over the 2 days chatting about this and I really felt that things were clicking into place. Because his hip was a little sore he was happy to run that bit slower. Then he realised that he wasn’t that much slower but it felt so easy. I would love Marco to get it all right on the day and post a time which reflects his ability. But only he can make it happen. I for one can’t wait to hear how he gets on.
Again we were all chatting away and before we knew it Inversnaid Hotel had arrived and were ready for a bit more to eat. The rain had been pretty constant all day and even though we were soaked through it wasn’t too cold. Well Sharon might disagree as she looked colder than the rest of us …. but there is a lot less of her!
Section 3 – Inversnaid to Beinglas Farm (6.67miles in 1hr 26mins 52secs + 5min 06sec stop)
Just as we left Ian ran and we had a quick chat. He was on his way to the Rugby and nervous about whether Falkirk would stay up.
After about 25mins or so a bit of a gap developed between the other 3 and me. I decided to just keep going at my pace and if they were away that was fine but more than likely they would slow down and wait for me at some point.
It did feel strange suddenly running on my own for a while but every now then I caught a glimpse of them and realised they weren’t too far ahead. We passed a good number of walkers all day and one group stands in the memory as they were singing songs as they walked.
I’d caught up by the Dune Bothy and then we ran into Beinglas together. About a mile before the Farm I suddenly noticed that Davie was limping badly and he said that his IT band was really sore. It was not a good sign as we still had 18miles to go today never mind another 35 tomorrow.
Another quick stop for more food and a photo and we were off again.
Section 4 – Beinglas Farm to Auchtertyre (9.63miles in 2hrs 04mins 53sec + 2min 14sec stop)
Marco & I ran on together and Davie & Sharon were a little behind. We ran steady but the gap was getting a bit bigger and we were concerned for Davie. Just before Derrydaroch Marco had run out of drink and food and was starting to feel it. Being the generous soul I am I gave him a couple of Murray Mints. Graeme from Hampden had said to me even the effect of sucking on a sweet can be beneficial and that proved the case for Marco as it was just enough to keep him going until we reached Carmyle Cottage where he had stashed some supplies.
Davie & Sharon had caught up with again and we stopped for a few minutes to replenish. As Marco and Sharon were taking ages refilling camel backs I set off.
I was feeling good and just a steady pace going. It was quite nice being at the front and not following the others. It also meant my photos didn’t have their backsides in them!!
Just before the big gate before the forest Marco & Sharon caught me but there was no sign of Davie.
The three of us ran through the forest together. Once or twice we thought about waiting but we would get cold if we stopped and we knew Davie could ring Debs for a lift if he needed to stop.
So we pushed on and ran into Auchtertyre on target. Sharon went straight through but Marco and I stopped for a couple of minutes.
Section 5 – Auchtertyre to Bridge of Orchy (9.21miles in 1hr 38mins 52secs)
As we left the Farm we saw Debs who had heard from Davie and was trying to work out where he was so she could pick him up.
So we carried on as a group of three running into Tyndrum and then on to Bridge of Orchy. The rain was still quite heavy and it was getting colder. I had ran in a short sleeved top all day and still felt okay but I was glad we were running.
One thing I was a little concerned about my groin. A couple of years ago it was sore on the down hills but since I’ve been using skins or under shorts it’s been fine. But on the way down to the A82 I felt it and each down hill bit it was sore. There is a steep hill just before you go under the railway bridge and I was taking it very carefully. So much so that by the time I’d got through the tunnel and over the stile Marco & Sharon were away and I spent the next 20mins working hard to catch them!
We now had 3miles to go and we were all looking forward to a hot shower and something good to eat. Marco & I pushed on now with Sharon not too far behind. We spotted a couple of runners just ahead. Marco asked whether it was Sue but it didn’t look like her.
But obviously Marco was keen to find out as suddenly the pace increased and he was after them! It turned out to be Stuart and his friend Katie. We ran with them for a while and then once Sharon had caught up the three of us pushed on as the Hotel was in sight.
Katrina had walked out to see us and so she ran in the last half mile or so with us. One of her comments was, ‘this whw running is easy!’
We arrived at the hotel just after 6.30pm after a great days running.
Total for Saturday: 40.57miles in 8hrs 18mins 19secs (12.17mins per mile)
Overnight at Bridge of Orchy Hotel
Marco went off with Debs and Cairn to sort their caravan out. It was so good that Katrina had booked us in and within 10mins I was in the shower and enjoying feeling warm again.
We went to the bar for a hot drink, met Sue and her husband John and chatted until 7.45pm when we had booked a table for our evening meal. Davie & Sharon and Marco, Debs & Cairn joined us and we had a good time together.
The bunkhouse was fully booked as amongst others there was a group of Carnegie Harriers (including Fiona & Pauline) who were running the route over 3 days. We were told we would have a third person in our room but in the end they never came and we had the room to ourselves.
Sunday 24 May 2008
I slept well but woke about 5am. So I sat in bed and used my netbook to surf the web!!
We had breakfast at 7.15am and then I sorted out what I’d need for the day. Katrina was going with Debs and we’d leave our car at the Hotel.
Sue was starting at 8.30am with Mark (and his dog Mollie). Sharon also decided to start with them. She was keen to go and didn’t want to wait another hour! I knew that Thomas was starting at 9am from Tyndrum and so my concern was that when Thomas caught us Marco would be away and I’d be on my own for most of the day!
Sue, Mark (& Molly) and Sharon at Bridge of Orchy
Section 6 – Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse (12.04 miles in 2hrs 09mins 12secs + 5mins 19sec stop)
Marco hadn’t arrived just before 9.30am so I decided to get going knowing that he soon catch me. Half was up the hill I glanced back and saw John M in his bright whw top. He had started from Tyndrum at 8.30am and worked hard to get to bridge of Orchy for 9.30am.
So we ran together which was a bonus as I thought I might be on my own! On the way down into Inveroran Hotel I could feel my groin again and knew with a couple of long down hills into Kinlochleven and then Fort William it was going to be sore.
As we approached Victoria Bridge Silke drove alongside and I asked her for some ibuprofen. She stopped further up the road and had one ready for me! Thanks Silke. It really did the trick as by the time I ran down into Kingshouse I couldn’t feel it.
John & I ran together along the Rannoch Moor chatting about the coming race and our plans. The time flew and with about 4miles to go to Kingshouse Marco caught up with us. He’s started 10mins after me and very sensibly had slowly caught us rather than pushing it too hard. I tell you he’s a changed man!!
Katrina, Debs & Cairn, Silke and Davie were all waiting for us at Kingshouse. I was following my small amounts of food regularly policy and it was working well again.
As we were eating we saw Thomas arriving. I said let’s go as he arrives – it’s good to make him work! Debs responded by saying, ‘it’s just as well you moved on from being a minister!!’
Marco, John & I did get away just before Thomas arrived but it didn’t take him too long before he caught up with us and then we ran to the foot of the Devil’s staircase together.
I knew that this was going to be Marco’s big test! Would he try and stay with Thomas or continue to run at a steady race pace? I’d said to him a few times I didn’t mind but he seemed keen to continue to run to run together.
Once were on the staircase Marco led the way and John was just a bit behind. Thomas, who had stopped with Silke for a bit soon caught us running and continued to run up the hill. Marco was happy to let him go and that was the last we saw of him until Fort William.
Throughout the 2 days I had been working on my schedule. Between each main checkpoint I had mini checkpoints every 3-4 miles. Throughout the 2 days we were spot on and Marco was enjoying finding out what the target was and seeing if we were on schedule!
About 2miles from Kinlochleven we saw John (Sue’s husband) cycling up the hill. He went past us and then I shouted where was he going. To see Sue came the reply. But we’ve not passed her – she’s ahead! Oh no came his response as he turned round and headed back down the hill! I knew he’d be in trouble as Sue’s last instruction at breakfast was that she’d like a cup of tea at Kinlochleven!!
We ran into see everyone at Kinlochleven in a very solid 1hr 48mins (which was 7mins inside my schedule!).
A quick stop for food and to find out the Football scores and we were off again.
Section 8 Kinlochleven to Lundavra (7.56 miles in 1hr 32mins 16secs)
John had gone off to the shop. I headed off just before Marco down the road. I was feeling really good and knew that this is the key part of the whole 2 day run. To be able to get here with enough energy left to push the last 14miles.
Marco & I worked hard up the hill and then once on to the Lairig Mor continued to run all the down hills and flats and half the up hills. We were both going well and enjoying the sense of feeling strong on this section.
I can honestly say that on no occasion during these 2 days did I feel I was struggling or running out energy. Yes my legs were tired but I was full of running right to the end. It was so encouraging having felt so rotten during the latter stages of the Fling recently. My policy of eating small amounts regularly and a variety of foods was certainly paying off. If I told once Marco once how happy I was with this I must have told him 20 times!!
About 3miles before Lundavra we passed a walker coming towards us. She asked us whether this was the whw race as she’d seen quite a few runners! We asked who was ahead and realised that we were catching up on Sue and John & Aileen.
We caught Sue (and John on his bike) first and then we saw John & Aileen at Lundavra. They were all going well.
Again I set off first and as I did so John M arrived. He must have worked really hard to catch us and I suspected he would find it hard to keep going at that pace and that proved to be the case as we didn’t see him again until the end.
After 15mins or so Marco caught me and we ran the rest of the way together. I wondered whether Marco might want to push hard the last bit but once again he showed true team spirit by running in together!
We arrived just in time to get a shower. But only just – initially they said they were closed but I pleaded – we’ve ran 35 miles and we’ll be really quick!!
Total for Sunday: 35.63miles in 6hrs 54mins 18secs (11.30 mins per mile)
Total for 2 days: 75.68miles in 15hrs 12mins 58secs (12.04 mins per mile)
So a great weekend and one that has given me a lot of confidence going into the whw race in less than 4 weeks time.
Thanks to Marco, Davie, Sharon & John for your company on the run (plus those we passed or passed us – Thomas, Sue, John & Aileen, Stuart & Katie, Mark) and to Katrina, Debs, Silke & John A for your support.
See you all very soon ….