Wednesday, 22 May 2013

All Bound for Moo Moo Land

The Cateran Trail Ultramarathon


The blog is brought to you by the tune Karen (race director) played at the pre-race briefing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPjggN-KByI

We're justified, and we're ancient, and we like to roam the land... seems to fit some of us ultrarunners ;-) some aren't that ancient, although we might feel it after 55 miles!

Regular readers of this blog will recall that I said I wasn't going to do any more ultras after the 2012 West Highland Way Race. I changed my mind when I remembered that Karen had very kindly allowed me to defer my entry from last year. I ran the race in 2011 with Iain but last year I had an ITB injury from the Fling so I decided to marshall instead. The best thing about the race is that it starts and finishes at the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel and every room is taken by folk involved in the race. This means that it's really two nights out with a race in between :-). Eight members of Stonehaven Running Club were taking part this year and we travelled down in three cars. No-one wanted to car share with me and Iain for some reason(?!) so we didn't meet the rest of the gang until we reached the hotel at 8pm. We checked in, dumped our bags, then proceeded to work our way round the bar hugging everyone! Too many friends to mention, it was great to see everyone again. We also registered and received these goodies:


I love the bag and it is in our club colours too. I enjoyed two small glasses of white wine and two large glasses of water while I chatted to various folk in the bar including Dave & Carolyn K, and Minty. At 8:45pm all the other Stoney folk said they were going to bed! They were taking the race seriously ;-). We decided to stay up to see Flip, Anna, Dave H, and Darren who were driving up from the North East of England. Great chat followed with everyone getting their excuses in and saying they were going to be last (yeah yeah) especially from David Heatherington! Also chatted to Neil and Marc from our club who were on sweeping the last hill duties. Their other job was to spray paint the arrows at various points and we suggested some inspiring messages for them to write. We went to bed at 10:45pm to cries of "you're taking this race seriously" but didn't sleep much due to the noise of the wind. 

Breakfast time came far too quickly for my liking (5:45am). The day had dawned still windy but dry which cheered me up considerably. Here are the SRC ladies at the start:




The two ladies on the left are Claire and Nicola S who were doing their first 50+ mile race. Margaret is next in the pic and she unfortunately got lost and did 6 extra miles at last year's race (eek!) so her mission was to finish 55 miles without crying. Nicola R and Jo are the other two and they are training for their first WHW race this year. I'm crewing for Nic R (lady next to me). We had a vague plan to all start the race together and see how our paces compared and then split up if needed. The other people I planned to run with were my husband Iain and my friend's twin brother Alex. Alex was also attempting his first 50+ miler and had come up from Buckingham to do the race. His wife Laura met him at every checkpoint.

7am arrived and we were off, with Mike and Donnie zooming off in to the distance. Our little gang set off at a more leisurely pace except for Margaret, Jo, and Nic R who went ahead quite early on.

Time to complete section to  Dalnagair Castle( 6 miles): 1:11. (2011 time: 1:10)

The gang 8 miles in:


Bit further on, with Carol too, who I enjoyed talking about the WHW race with:


Time to complete section to Glenisla (9 miles): 1:45 (2011 time: 1:46) Race time elapsed: 2:56 at 15 miles

As we reached Glenisla I realised that there were actual 'real' toilets there and Claire and Nic S were going to use them, so I thought I would. Meanwhile Iain had other plans and wanted to keep on going and refused to wait for me. I didn't think I'd catch him up so I changed my mind and carried on with him and Alex. I was looking forward to the next checkpoint at Den of Alyth because I knew Alex's sister Kate and her husband Ali were going to have a run out to meet us from there. The rain had started by then but I felt grateful that we'd started off dry and it had stayed off for a few hours. We met Kate and Ali a few miles out and it was nice to chat to different folk. Alex and I were met by Kate and Ali's son Oli at Den of Alyth:





















Time to complete section to Den of Alyth (11 miles): 2:40 (2011 time: 2:36) Race time elapsed: 5:36 at 26 miles

I was feeling quite strong at the halfway point just after Den of Alyth. We caught up with Dave K here and he said he'd been thinking of stopping but had been persuaded to carry on to Blairgowrie. Also saw Anna. One of the nicest parts of the race is Drimmie Woods and I wish it had lasted longer as it's such a good surface to run on. There had been more road than I remembered and it was taking it's toll on my feet. Alex kept spirits up with his chat including a movie quiz. Sample question: Name the only trilogy of films Tom Hanks has appeared in.*
Anna caught us up in the woods not long before we saw the spider's web, scene of 2011's shenanigans with me, Iain, and Anna's boyfriend Flip ;-). Unfortunately the web was broken. We saw a few spray paint messages from Neil and Marc including this one:


Anna was having trouble with her quads and was finding it impossible to run downhill. Iain had sore legs and just before Blairgowrie he told Alex and I to go on ahead. I had my concerns that Iain would now DNF with Anna but I won't tell you any more of his story as he is blogging too and I don't want to spoil it. Alex and I arrive at Blairgowrie with Ada just behind in the pink:

Time to complete section to Blairgowrie (5.5 miles): 1:18 (2011 time: 1:25) Race time elapsed: 6:54.at 31 miles

Got a big hug from Sandra here as she was helping folk cross the road. Met Laura, Carolyn, Kate, and Ali too. Laura had mini pork pies and I had one. The next section towards Bridge of Cally was a bit desolate and it coincided with the worst rain of the day. There were strong winds too and the ground was very boggy in parts. I think it was in this section that we caught up with Darren. I asked him about Dave H and he said he was miles ahead. So much for finishing last! From then on every man I saw in the distance I thought might be him and it would be fun to overtake him ;-). During this section Claire caught us up after leaving Nic S with Iain. She ran with us for a bit but before long she was off in to the distance!

Time to complete section to Bridge of Cally (7 miles): 1:42 (2011 time: 1:49) Race time elapsed: 8:36 at 38 miles

Every checkpoint now was a blessing and I for one was very pleased to see them! Kate and Ali said they were going to Kirkmichael and would run out to see us again. Kirkmichael isn't actually a checkpoint but is easy to get to and is a few miles before the last checkpoint. It was great to see them again when we finally did. The section from Bridge of Cally to Enochdu seemed to take forever! Kate asked me if she could get me anything and I said a mug of tea would be nice. She said she'd see what she could do.

Time to complete section to Enochdu (10.6 miles): 2:47 (2011 time: 2:47) Race time elapsed: 11:23.at 48.6 miles

It was wonderful to see the Enochdu checkpoint with Kate and Sean huddled together under a brolly, Leon and Flip were there too. Kate gave me a mug of tea! Sean said it was his mug and he wanted it back! Sure, I said I'd see him at the finish. The tea was perfect and I drank that as I walked up the hill out of Enochdu instead of my tin of gin and tonic. I offered that to Alex but he declined. I kept the gin with me in case of emergencies. We were on the final climb up the biggest hill of the race, a race which includes 7,450 ft of climbs by the way. Luckily Neil and Marc from Stonehaven Running Club were sweeping the big hill and kept us company all the way to the top. About the first thing Neil said was had we heard the gossip about Flip? No I said, do tell! It turned out that Flip had pranged George's van! Poor guy, 25 years of driving transit vans and no probs then he crashes George's! Luckily no one was hurt. Flip also had to deal with two very irate dog owners, one on a motorbike and one on a horse accusing the race of making their dog go missing. We also heard that Nic S had tummy troubles and had to run-walk from halfway! Neil and Marc also gave us the great news that Jo was on for 2nd lady! We reached the Lairig Gate at the top of the last hill and Neil and Marc went back towards the people behind us and Alex and I ran down towards the hotel. I had about 20 mins to get down in time for a PB and so I really went for it. I saw Ada up ahead and ran behind her for a wee while but then I said sorry for passing her but I was on for a PB. Alex and I finishing with Ada close behind:


We  did it! 13 hours 14 mins, a PB for me by 7 minutes. It was a PB for Alex, the furthest he's ever run by 22 miles! Hugs from Karen and George, and lots of other folk who were watching the finish. And here I am
giving the tea mug back to Sean with Mike (2nd male), Jo (2nd lady), and Kate looking on:

Time to complete section to Spittal of Glenshee (6 miles): 1:51 (2011 time: 1:49) Race time elapsed: 13:14 at 55 miles

Also at the finish was Dave Heatherington smoking a fag. Quote from Dave - "I smoked 10 fags during the race, I even had to buy more from the shop, and I still beat you!". Thanks Dave :-). I limped off for a bath and was back in time to see Nic S finish. So proud of her. In fact I'm proud of all my club mates and everyone who took part, whether racing or marshalling. We couldn't have the race without you. Huge thanks to Karen and George. From our club Jo got 2nd lady, Angus did really well with a sub 12 finish, Nic R managed to finish in a great time despite tummy troubles, Margaret finished without crying or getting lost in 13 hours, Claire finished sub 13 for her first 50+ miler. Iain will tell you how he got on. After a huge plate of lasagne and chips and a bottle of white wine I finally got to bed some time after 1am. Very happy with my race, and loved it all, especially the afterparty! Thanks so much to everyone I ran with, especially Alex, you kept me going x
The quaich presented to every finisher:



*Toy Story

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