Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Half the West Highland Way in a Oner!

2010-04-24 Highland Fling





Last weekend, Vikki and I took part in the Highland Fling 53 mile ultra race. The following is Vikki's blog as previously posted on Fetch (so you don't need to read it if you've seen it there :).

My 3 blogs will follow here soon....

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This race has been a long time coming. A wee bit of background: shanksi found out about this race last year and suggested we form a relay team to run it in 2009. I said yes, as long as I could do the easiest bit (ie first leg). We did the race and really enjoyed it, although shanksi had a bit of a mare on leg 3. We went to the ceilidh early and left as the ultra runners were arriving. Stayed in the Wigwams.

This time I thought I would go for the whole thing . The training runs we did were superb and I kept up my miles and felt ready for it. The D33 was a great training run. I was actually following a training schedule for Edinburgh marathon in May and adding more miles in and doing some back-to-back long runs on Loon Dod's advice.
As the day approached we had a slight hiccup in the plans cos my folks got stuck in Malta due to the volcano. If you want the details on that read shanksi's blog. We had to take the kids to Milngavie with us on the Friday which was alright and they enjoyed the meal at the Italian restaurant. I felt we couldn't get in with the Fetchie chat as we were dealing with them which was a shame. We all went to bed at 10pm and set the alarm for 4:30am
My folks arrived and took the kids home for us and I am so grateful, they are stars!
Met up with all the fetchies at the start and soon we were off. My plan had been to stay in sight of LD and Lintie for at least the 1st leg so I wouldn't get lost but they went too quick for me! I ended up running with lizogical and two non fetch ladies called Anna and Denise. I was telling them both about Fetch and hopefully they will join. The first leg seemed to fly by and we didn't get lost . Met shanksi at Drymen which was nice and then my sister rang me on my mobile; I actually had to say "I'm in the middle of a race!" while running past a marshal laughing at me. So on to Conic Hill. It seemed further away than on our training run. Not sure if that was because I was running slower? It all looked a bit different without the snow. Climbing the hill was so much easier and I caught up with LD and Lintie there. I absolutely loved bombing down the other side and it was just so much better than our dreaded icy training run. Next stop Balmaha. Met bouncytime looking strong and she left not long after I arrived. The marshals were great with the drop bags, I liked that they asked for your number then had them ready to had to you. I stopped for the toilet (so civilised using a proper flushing toilet rather than a bush!). Then on to Rowardennan. I remembered it was still hilly and just walked quickly up the hills. Saw Soph, can't remember exactly where, (my brain has gone). Rowardennan came and I stopped for toilet again and my running mates pushed on instead so I did the next bit on my own. It was much harder on my own and I was very pleased to catch Anna and Denise up. Next stop was Inversnaid. Everything was going well and Anna and I stopped for the loo again (sorry for this!) but Denise was feeling really strong and pushed on without us. Anna and I stuck together and helped each other through the next lochside section which has all the rocks and ladders and bits where you think you might fall in. Some of the fast guys were passing us here and even they were chatting and saying well done. It was such a friendly race
I felt Bein Glas was a long time coming but I was still feeling good. Anna and I got chatting about all sorts, even politics . We were so pleased to see Bein Glas and I was happy to see halfpint with my cuppa tea Also saw Soph again fiddling with her feet. I had a tin of gin n tonic in my drop bag but didn't feel the need so I gave it to halfpint to look after and she was a mate and didn't drink it! I had it on Sunday night.
Last section was in sight, only 12ish miles to Tyndrum but v hilly. I'd done this section a few times in training but never after 40 miles. The hills felt longer than I remembered and I walked quite slowly up them. I was still managing to run the flat bits and downhill. Anna was getting a wee bit weary and said I should go on without her which I relunctantly did. For the first 6 miles of the last leg I was still ok but then starting feeling sick and I ran out of water . One of the worst parts of the course was the bit with the coos. They were totally blocking the path and they had their calves too so I walked very slowly past them on a ledge. How very dare they! Now in to the final 6 miles in the forest bit I couldn't believe how steep both the ups and downs were. I had sore thighs and in the end was only managing to run the downs. Sophster and GraemeC1983 caught me up and were great to chat to for a while til they got ahead. I loved hearing Soph's crazy singing and shouting echoing round the woods. Anna's Mum (who'd been a star supporting her daughter everywhere) appeared and offered me some water which saved me so big thanks to Anna's Mum Eve. I got to the wigwams hurrah! Texted shanksi. Then phoned shanksi cos I thought it would be nice to have him run me in. Spotted him with a mile to go and we jog-walked the rest together. I managed to sprint the very last bit to the line and it was wonderful to hear everyone calling my name and clapping. Finished in 12 hours 45 mins which I am very very pleased with as I had been telling everyone who asked 13 hours. Big hugs from Loon Dod, Lintie, santababy, halfpint, Sophster and loads more

Saw more folk come in, MikeR, DaveK, M1nty, Hendo, flip, Andrinne from shanksi's relay team. Rob MacSunday, Pestomum, Bonsim007, and _andy not in that order! Was lovely to see Robbo7777 waited to give me a hug before dashing off.

Didn't get any stovies as they'd run out . So we went to the Real Food cafe for lovely fish n chips and free tea with Ribenaface, Julesy, Run2theHills, halfpint, LorraineS, IanS and loads more sorry if I miss anyone's name out. Then back to Tyndrum Lodge to finally get a shower and change in to my party dress. Met up with everyone in Paddy's Bar. Had to get a lift out of my seat by shanksi and R2H as my legs had seized up. Went to the ceilidh and immediatley had a second tea of chicken curry . Actually got up to dance at the end and sing along with Flower of Scotland etc which made me lose my voice the next day. Was a great day and fun night and I finally crawled in to bed at 2am Can't wait for next year! Everyone did so well and you should all be proud. What a wonderful race with the friendliest people and the most beautiful scenery And Denise has joined Fetch as UltraDenise
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