Sunday, 27 April 2008

The Highland Fling

Where do I begin? Since I wasn't at the start (getting up at 3.15am is not my idea of fun) I'll start at the end with 2 gory photos! Was it a bit slippy in places guys?

The Pastor's knee

The Runner's hand
Fortunately The Runner got a lift to the start at Milngavie with some fellow Strathearn Harriers who were running. So I got a long lie until 7am. Woohoo! However, leaving the house on time wasn't easy as Isla our old dog decided to go upstairs. She's not allowed up anyway but her hips are too stiff to negotiate coming back down. She's also getting a bit confused in her old age so it was a battle to get back down. Result? 20 mins late leaving the house. No problem I thought, I've left loads of time to get to Balmaha. Didn't account for a tractor and trailer holding up the traffic for miles! (Ever seen a petrol tanker overtake a tractor on a winding road at a blind summit? Very scary!!)
I arrived at Balmaha 5 mins before The Runner! 'We're a bit fast,' he said! Luckily I had a flask of coffee already made. But it was a bit of a tight one. So I followed my own rules of lying through my teeth and not telling him my hassles even though he was very grumpy! After he left, I spoke to my friend The Flicker whose other half McStecko was running exceptionally well.
At Rowardennan, I spoke to loads of people. Some I knew well and some I knew I knew but couldn't remember their names. I'm finding more and more I'm useless with names. Only adults though. Put me in class of 30 kids and I'll know all their names by the end of the day. The Runner was in and out very quickly here. In fact he was so quick, I forgot to ask and he forgot to tell me when he'd be at Beinglas! And since we've had such a busy week we hadn't discussed times or produced our usual timesheet. I was really annoyed as I'm useless with times and numbers (and also dates! Remember this is the woman who sent her son back to school a day early last year!!) Hmm, I see a theme here.
I arrived at Beinglas and fortunately bumped into Mr Race Director. Now he's a man who's good with times. He was able to give me an estimated arrival time for The Runner. Phew! I also spent time with my favourite guy Beardie and his daughter The Cool Chick. They were there to be the back up car if anyone needed assistance after dropping out. I also spent some time chatting to the Pastor's Posse.

Cool Chick

The Pastor's Posse

The Runner was in and out of Beinglas quickly. As usual he asked for the only thing I didn't have in the bag! We arranged to meet (at a precise time) at the underpass on the A82. By this time the sun had come out and it was becoming a pleasant day. I took some photos while waiting.

(Blogger won't let me delete this one!)

Gorgeous waterfall but not a good idea to stand next to it when you need the loo!
After this stop, it was straight to Tyndrum (and the loo!) for the finish. I spoke to loads more people. I met my German Friend and his wife for the first time. He looked really tired after his great performance. So did McStecko and the Scot Wot Lives Down Sarf. Well done guys! As ever, The Pastor looked fresh as a daisy, apart from his knee. The Runner came in strongly despite being covered in mud and blood. I must admit to being relieved he finished safely as I didn't think he was mentally or physically prepared for the event. But as ever, we've learned from the day and will take on board some new things for the big event in June.

Look, he's smiling!
We'd just got back to the car when we met Dunking and his wife The Kiwi. He was stiff and sore but pleased with his run. I'm sure McStecko will put a full report on the Harriers blog later.
Well done everyone who took part. It was a great race superbly organised by The Pilot and his Helensburgh Lass. Congratulations on all the PBs and especially to the Running Fool on his silverware! Is everyone ready for the full race now?

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Grumpy Bugger!

The week before a big event (eg The Fling on Sat), The Runner is the grumpiest bugger you could wish to meet. As usual he has a bit of a viral infection (No3 son has the same thing and has been off school for 3 days) and has so many aches and pains. On top of that, work is especially demanding this week. So he's tired, sore and moaning the face off everyone. I'm glad I don't work with him.

So, roll on Saturday. At least on Sunday he'll have cause to be sore and I'll be kind to him. That's if I don't kill him between now and then!

Good luck to everyone running in The Fling!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

A bit of role reversal

This is my 8th year of being The Runner's backup. So when I announced my intention to take part in The Moon Walk (a full marathon through the streets of Edinburgh during the night of June 14th), he kindly offered to be my backup. A night without sleep should be no problem for him and it's for an excellent cause.

Now I have to confess that I've only ever walked a little bit of the WHW before. Several years ago when we were members of Troon Tortoises, the club organised a relay event. The Hippy Chick and I walked over the hill from Bridge of Orchy to Inveroran Hotel. I think everyone else ran a section. We then had a meal in Fort William and stayed overnight.

So this morning we went for a walk on the WHW. I needed a good 10 mile walk and The Runner loves any excuse for being on the Way. Even if it was at a much slower pace than he's used to! We parked at Milngavie station and walked for 5 miles. We turned and came back the same way. It was tough going (for me). There are a lot of little climbs. Throughout the first 2 miles The Runner pointed out all the places where runners get lost. I must confess that I've always thought 'How can anyone get lost at the start?' Now, having walked it I can see exactly how you can get lost in the dark!

Me and Lucy at the start
Stunning views

5 miles

Quick break

Stuffing my face with a tuna melt panini. YUM!
And now I have sore feet (but no blisters!) My legs ache from my ankles to my hips but unbelievably my back is fine. Yes! The physio and Pilates must be working at last :)

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Yesterday's training run

We arrived at Bridge of Orchy just after 9am. We pulled into the car park and got out to have a quick coffee. As The Runner munched on a scone, we saw Ms Former Record Holder running over the bridge with her dog. By the time he left at 9.20am, she was about 10 mins ahead. I warned him not to try to catch her as she's out of his league!
The Runner has coffee and a scone before setting off from Bridge of Orchy

My entertainment for the day

Heating soup on my wee stove at Kingshouse

It only takes 15 mins by car to get to Kingshouse, so I had plenty of time to read my trashy romance novel (girl meets boy, boy falls in love, huge obstacle to overcome, happy ending). I managed to set up the wee stove and heated hot water for coffee and then some Magic soup (which had lentils added after reading in Runners World they're good for endurance). Ms Former Record Holder appeared over the hill 10 mins ahead of The Runner. She stopped for a very quick chat before heading off again. The Runner stopped for his usual coffee and soup and refilled his water.
Just as he was about to head off, a car pulled into the car park flashing its lights at us. It was my Outlaws on their way north for a walking holiday. The Runner didn't hang about as he has vivid memories of a few years ago where Father Outlaw drove up to see him during the race. Chatting to him cost The Runner valuable time as he felt he couldn't just leave. However, this time he had no such qualms! With a quick 'Hello, nice to see you, bye!' he was off, leaving me to tidy up and make small talk. After that, it was off to Kinlochleven.
It's double the distance on the road (18.7 miles) from Kinghouse to Kinlochleven. But I had plenty of time to heat up water and soup (you'd have been proud of me Beardie!) and read my book. Ms Former Record Holder arrived about 15 mins ahead of The Runner. She admitted to having sore legs since this was only her 2nd run on The Way this year. I offered her a lift back to Tyndrum with us when she'd finished. So even with the coffee and soup stops, The Runner was catching up. He didn't stop for long and set off to Lundavra.
I hate this part of the race. It's such a long way round (26.3 miles by road and only 7 miles on The Way). I hate the drive up there. Despite having a 4x4 I just don't feel safe on the narrow road. The locals drive like loonies, presumably because they never meet anyone coming in the opposite direction! Anyway, I trudged up to the shelter with 2 bags of stuff, just in case The Runner needed something. Despite having rice, soup, coffee, jelly babies and scones, The Runner decided to take a risk and try chocolate milk. Again, having read in Runners World that chocolate milk is good for when you don't feel like eating, I bought some on impulse (encouraged by No3 son who would drink it if dad didn't want it!) I think he was pleasantly surprised it worked. He set off feeling good.

The Runner overtakes an old git at Lundavra wearing an i-pod!

Leisure Centre car park

The Runner arrived at the finish in just under 7 hours, having passed Ms Former Record Holder at the Braveheart car park. I think he looked remarkably fresh. After a quick shower and coffee we headed for Tyndrum with our extra passengers.
The Runner took the opportunity to ask Ms Former Record Holder about her training schedules and race strategy (which is run fast and keep going as long as you can!) However, I laughed when she started asking him questions about how to avoid tiredness in the later stages! I guess all runners like to know each other's secrets.
After an excellent fish supper at Tyndrum we arrived home to settle down in front of the golf on TV. From my viewpoint it was a good day out. It reminded me of a few things and I've learned how to use a wee stove. Roll on The Fling in a few weeks!

Friday, 11 April 2008

My first 'training' session on The Way

The Runner is running from Bridge of Orchy to Fort William tomorrow and I'm joining him (in the car). It'll be my first outing this year. You'd think I would know the route backwards by now but it never hurts to refresh the memory. And it's a chance to give my new car a trial run.

Since I won't have The Bearded One with me to heat up the Magic soup on his wee stove, I'm going to try to do it myself. Last year I bought a portable gas stove in the sales but it's never been used. So I dusted it off and practised boiling water. No3 son declared it 'cool.'

It could all go horribly wrong and The Runner won't get hot soup or coffee at the right time. But better to find out on a training run than on the big day itself.

Good luck to everyone running the FLM. If my back wasn't f*cked (and I'd got off my fat backside in time) it could have been me as I was offered the club place. We'll be glued to the TV on Sunday morning to watch for familiar faces. I'll even give up my long lie!

Monday, 7 April 2008

Bedtime reading

I'm sure it won't surprise anyone to learn that since ultra running dominates our lives, The Runner likes to read about other running nutters. He often chuckles away to himself and regularly says 'Listen to this!' However, last night when he told me about an event (in the States naturally) called The Barkely Marathons I was intrigued enough to Google it and find out more. Just because it sounded so mad.

It's a 100 miler in Tennessee consisting of 5 loops but there is a 60 mile Fun Run if you're not up to the full event! There's a time limit of 12 hours to complete each loop and consists of 20,000 feet of ascent and descent per loop! The trails haven't been maintained for years and the course isn't marked. To prove you actually made it round each loop, you have to rip a page out of paperback books placed around the course with appropriately named titles such as Fatal Terrain, Curl Up and Die and Going Nowhere Fast! Runners who drop out are taunted by a bugler playing "Taps!" Entry to this race requires an essay called "Why I should be allowed to run the Barkely." Only 7 people have ever managed to complete 5 loops.

Have a look at the site and make sure sure you click on some of the links especially the one with a photo of the guy's knee with a hole in it!!

The pictured book was loaned to The Runner by McStecko, a fellow Strathearn Harrier who is running in this year's WHW. It's full of great stories about the extreme events to which some runners are inexplicably drawn. I thought the WHW race was bad enough!

ETA It was actually The Doctor who gave The Runner the book.

Sunday, 6 April 2008


There are many reasons why I deleted my old blog but this past week 5 people have told me they used to read it and miss it. So I've decided to revive this one. I recieved a card from Debs this week (btw I'm glad you like your socks!) where amongst other things she said there aren't enough girl bloggers. She's right! You boys are all about the competitiveness and your "I'm so hard I ran 50 miles at 5 mins mile pace the whole way!" approach to training. The blogosphere needs some feminine balance.

And of course I'm still here to tell tales on those who deserve it! Especially The Runner!!