I was lucky enough this month that a few of my early shifts and X days allowed me to attend a couple of local races.
First one Ormidale 10K in Arran, it was a lovely sunny day and Arran was looking stunning. Quite a few of us Tortoises turned out for this one as we all like a wee trip across the water. This was my first time running this particular race, it being out on the main road, round a traffic cone & back on the main road.. the biggest undulation was getting on and off the kerb. I'm just sure there must be better routes on the Island!
About 50 folks took part and I felt I was running eyeballs out from the start. I really don't have a fast pace so this was causing me lots of problems, particularly when I turned at the cone and new I had to keep up the pace for another 3 miles. Tried my best, finished and wished I'd tried harder, new I could have etc.. why do you never feel like that when your running? As it turns out I finished 30 from 50 and 1st F35.. ha you can only race who's there :) got my first sub 50 min 10K in about 5 years!!
Feeling full of new found confidence I thought I might as well try out a local hill race. Kaim Hill in the small town of Fairlie. I mean , how hard could it be?
Well I soon found out. Started of on a nice downhill tarmac road and off goes the field like it's a 100m sprint! I get to the corner and turn onto the path that leads to THE hill.. in last place.. so much for my new found speed and confidence!
This was my first ever hill race and soon realised everyone went really fast so they could start walking sooner! Took my first few skulls within a few hundred meters of starting the hill, I just plodded slowly and was quite enjoying being able to catch people. Soon it was across the small burn and onto what can only be described as moorland.. on a steep hill. Immediately it was hands on knees and push, it then kind of evened out to just taking really large steps over the heather. I was still catching people in dribs and drabs and an unfortunate Bella guy went down a couple of huge holes and into bogs right up to his thigh.. ha.. I'll not go that way then.. evil giggle.
Eventually I went past him and struggled on wards and upwards, the leaders zooming downhill. I did eventually get to the trig point, round I went and feeling really good and strong start belting down the hill, well it looked easy when other folk were doing it. I soon realised I was not a mountain goat, I was stumbling in every direction and my ankles somehow managed not to break! that I think was more luck than anything. I had to slow down considerably and soon felt like a wee delicate girl as I ooed and ahhed and picked my way through. Once I hit the stony path I sped up and finished really strong but I think I may have to practise this bouncy jumpy through heather and bracken running style.
Then unfortunately it was back to backshift and I managed a couple of dog runs in the mornings. Went to the club to discover they were doing mile reps.. I managed 3 sub 8 mins woohoo.
So having my 2 well deserved days off Mon & Tues. Monday Bryan was on holiday so no running. Tuesday I was up at 0445 and heading to Balmaha at 0530. Best time of the day. My plan was 21 miles to Beinglas. I set of real slow my back pack stuffed with water, coke, a bottle of perpeteum and 4 jammy pieces. Another pocket was stuffed with jelly babies and a whole bar of Mrs Tilly's delicious tablet. I thought I would try mixing real food with the perpetuem to see how I got on. Snacked on the jelly babies from the start, had a jammy sandwich leaving Rowardennan and finsihed my bottle at Inversnaid it seemed everything was going well. Felt fine and had no tummy problems.
Even though it was bright and sunny there wasn't much heat to be had and I didn't take my jumper off till Inversnaid. Kept my gloves on. I was still plodding real slow and keeping the sweating to a minimum so my water and coke were lasting well.
I have given leg 3 of the relay to do this Saturday hence the reason for my route. I have only covered it once and that was in last years Fling. I was pleasantly surprised with how runnable Rowardennan to Inversnaid was. I knew I would soon be hitting the rough stuff, and had plans in my head on how I was going to get through it. Run when I can walk when I can't etc, but my impatience soon took over and I was jumping and scrambling, twisted my ankle twice but nope, I was still going to get through at a decent pace.
So of course I eventually get out the other end and start of towards Beinglas, but oh yes.. legs are trashed and I fell twice, bouncing up like a bouncy thing before anyone saw me lying greeting. I stopped at Beinglas finished my coke and ate a couple of sandwiches.
Quickly turned round only this time I was more determined to take it easy. I had clocked 21.73 miles at half way in 6 hours. (this holds no real baring to the pace as I stopped many times for the dog to have a paddle etc). It was getting pretty warm by this time and I started taking on more fluids. I felt not too bad plodding towards the bumpy bit and stuck to my plan. Walked lots, no scrambling or jumping. Inversnaid again, another sandwich topped up my water from the hose! and plodded on. The hills towards Rowardennan were a huge drag and I got kind of impatient again.. ran up as far as I could walked/ran etc. Got into a good pace and soon arrived in Rowardennan with my water bottle empty again. Found the spickit on the wall, filled up again and was soon on my last leg to Balmaha.
Again got into a feel good pace (not quick) and managed to run lots of the uphills. I struggled slightly with the distance as my Garmin had packed in just after halfway, the last few miles seemed never ending. Came to the last climb and actually felt better as I now knew I was almost there.
Up over down and along the short road into Balmaha.. oh the joys 5hrs 50 for return leg.
I did take some photo's but my phone's bluetooth has given up.. I'll maybe get them on later.
Again I had my moments of oh how am going to manage 95, I guess I'm more scared of the unknown.
My food and drink were ok, I could have eaten more but being self sufficent for 40 odd miles there is only so much I can carry.
My next LSR I'll take on the top side definatley with the descent in Kinlochleven being part of the run. Can't wait.