Saturday, 24 October 2009

Weekend in Tyndrum

Last Saturday, Vikki and I were going on a 25 mile training run on the West Highland Way, the start of our preparation for our attempts at the Highland Fling Race next April. Somehow, this turned into a weekend away for the whole family including the in-laws.

We set off on Friday morning and drove down to "Scotland's Theme Park". Unimaginatively named and, imho, unimaginatively put together, it didn't exactly impress that much, but it was generally good fun and I really liked the Tsunami suspended coaster, despite the somewhat tasteless name. In any case, the boys had a good time which is really what it was all about.

So, then we had to drive through rush-hour Glasgow and then follow various camper vans up the bonnie, bonnie, banks until we reached the Tyndrum Lodge Hotel and rendezvoused with the in-laws, got some food, then met up with legendary jogger ;), George, for a wee drink. George was sleeping in the car park, but joined us again for a pre-run breakfast. The run itself was really good - down the WHW to Beinn Glas for a bowl of soup then back to Tyndrum with great scenery and great company. My foot got sore on the way back so we ended up walking the last four miles but it was still good. We went for dinner at the Real Food Cafe - good food as ever, and the biggest mugs of hot chocolate I'd ever seen.

Andy and Rosemary had decided to go walking on Sunday morning - despite the lashing rain they got on the bus to Bridge of Orchy, leaving us to finish our breakfast and decide what we were to do. In the end, we headed down to the Sea Life Centre in Balloch to see some wee sharks and rays, some excellent looking fish, and some cute otters eating little baby birds. It was nice, and the boys got to touch starfish and sea anenomes which was cool. We returned to Tyndrum in the afternoon, then left the kids with the in-laws again and had a quick walk up the WHW to work up an appetite. Nice views towards Beinn Dorain on that bit, a hill we'll have to return to sometime when and if the Munro bagging gets underway.

So, all in all, it was a very fine weekend with lots of miles covered (in car and on foot), and I think everyone enjoyed at least some of the weekend :) It was also a significant weekend - after the run on Saturday, I decided that I'm going to go into the 2010 Highland Fling as part of relay team. Vikki has already sent off her entry - she's running the Fling solo. All 53 miles of it. We all know she'll be brilliant.

Photos from our run here

Photos of rest of weekend here

Monday, 5 October 2009

I ran my first marathon

... and I loved it for 22 miles, hated it for the other 4! That sums it up really.

It was great to meet so many fellow fetchies (too many to name) and everyone was so friendly and lovely. The Pasta Party food was fine, especially the carrot cake. We had a pleasant drinkie in Wetherspoons on the night before the race but I was sober and getting a bit nervous. Ended up leaving quite early and trying to get some sleep. I slept well until 3:15 am then woke up from my pre-marathon dreaming and couldn't get much more sleep. Too excited I think!
Our preparations all went to plan, we walked to the stadium, calling on Richard on the way and arrived on time to join the v long queue for buses. Then all the buses filled up and we were still standing. They said they were three buses short . In the end they managed to find some more buses but we left 45 mins late and some folk had to sit on the stairs on the bus. The journey to the race start was further enlivened by some poor bloke on our bus being desperate for a pee. He tried to get the bus to stop a few times but nobody else said anything. Whe the bus eventually did stop everyone bar 4 folk got off. The road was running with pee! I stayed on the bus, ready to take my chances with the toilets at the start.
They delayed the start of the race to give everyone a chance to go to the loo. Then we were off at last. Richard and I had agreed to run together and we had a strategy of not going faster than 8:40 miles. It was easy to stick to that cos it was crowded and we couldn't get past. I really enjoyed the run and the scenery was lovely. Didn't see Nessie though. The population of Dores turned out to cheer us on which was great.
By the time we got to 22 miles the leggies were getting very sore and I had eaten all my shock blocks. My water had run out too. I was really looking forward to the fetchpoint and they didn't disappoint although I couldn't say anything to them! The last two miles were very hard and I slowed right down. I told Richard to go on without me and he did a bit but I could still see him. At last I saw the stadium but then realised you had to run right round it before going in. I crossed the finish line in 4:06:56 and I was very pleased with that time. Considering I thought we would do it in 4:30 when we started training. I lay down at the end but managed to get up in time to see Iain cross the line at 4:31:04 which was a great time too.
I struggled to eat afterwards as I felt a bit queasy. Staggered back to the hotel to get changed an opened a bottle of fizzy wine with Iain. Tottered back down the road in my 4" heels and aching thighs to Wetherspoons to meet up with the fetchies in our party organised by santababy. She can get a booking in a Spoonies! It was a great night and I had a fun time but got drunk rather quickly (I know I am a lightweight) but I had 5 glasses of wine in all and I needed to go home for some sleep. Needed to get a taxi up the road as my thighs had seized up.
Well done to everyone who took part and to the supporters and halfpint and roobarb on the fetchpoint. Everyone did brill
Dave you are amazingly fast and Mike did great to beat all his PBs in one day. Well done all xx

Click here for pictures

When will the pain go away?

A few months ago, mrs s decided she was going to run the Loch Ness Marathon and I decided I quite fancied a weekend in Inverness to give her support. After a glass of wine, I thought I might as well do the 10K. Another couple of glasses of wine later and I had somehow decided that I would just run the marathon as well and the entries had been filled in.

And so started several months of long training runs, ending in a week of doing very little except eating before hitting the road with Ritchie C, dave_m and com160, not really sure how I was going to get on.

As it turned out, it was a great weekend and we met a lot of great Fetchies, before, during, and after the race.

The race itself started brilliantly - I felt really comfortable and trotted along at a decent pace, briefly catching up with mrs s and Ritchie C at mile 4 which came as a bit of a surprise to us all. They had pulled away by the time we reached the loch side so I was just concentrating on keeping it steady and enjoying the views. I reached Dores and made my way up the hill, starting to feel a bit tired, but still going and I got a welcome boost when Lintie appeared from the woods and ran with me for a while, chatting away all the time. She was great company but I felt I was slowing her down and encouraged her to go on. And then I hit the final, steep little hill after Scaniport and things took a turn for the worse. The pain in my legs worsened and I walked up the hill for a bit, hoping that the pain would subside. And it did...until I started running again. The next 5 and a half miles or so were pretty bad - my thighs hurt with each and every step. I walked a couple more times before the finish, but was able to run through fetchpoint which was a great boost, and ran across the finish line, which felt fantastic. I had completed my first marathon in 4:31:04 and I was well chuffed.

After soup and a tattie, we headed back to the hotel to get a shower and drink some celebratory fizzy before heading out to the pub for more drink, more food, and more chat with all the fetchies there (too many to name individually but you know who you are and it was wonderful to meet you all).

It was a really great weekend (except for those last miles) which just leaves the question....

What next?