Monday, 23 May 2011

Goat Fell & The Cateran

This is a bit long, hopefully not too boring!!

I'm obviously an old hand at these hill runs now.. Goat Fell being my 2nd
Firstly I totally underestimated everything, no whistle, no waterproof trousers, stupid shorts, short sleeved T shirt under my vest and to add insult to injury, my fake tan went horribly wrong and my legs were like streaky bacon but with a spectacular orangey glow!!

Just as well I can laugh at myself... cos everyone else was

To the race, Bill kindly lent me a pair of waterproof trouser and Ian gave me his spare whistle, thanks guys. I was all set. A wee bit of hanging around at the start to get numbers and kit check and it was actually quite warm, maybe the short sleeve T shirt wasn't such a bad idea.

I set of in my usual place, last! Bill managed to keep up with me and we plodded the first mile into and through the castle grounds. Bill soon was on his way but I was happy just to keep at the same pace. Onto the climb and I managed to keep my last position for a good wee while.
I did eventually start to catch people but the field was well stretched out. I got to the boulder field feeling ok, walked strongly still running what I could till it got ridiculously rocky and steep. By this time the front runners were coming back down and I found myself taking to the rough ground, long way round and stopping and waiting on them get by. Seemed only fair.

I eventually got to the top myself, but not before my legs had turned to jelly and I was pulling myself up on all 4's!! It was a good bit colder and windier up here but I reckon it shows the effort I was putting in that I never got cold or even considered putting my jacket on!!!
Bill had gone down first with Ian close behind. I wasn't too far behind but both of them shot almost out of site very quickly on the way down. Eventually they did disappear from sight I slid bounced bounded and tripped as quick as I could passing a few people, even had to manipulate my way around an auld git who just wasn't for moving.. pointing no elbows

I was being very very careful of my footing but still managed a few scary toe pokes. By the time I reached the deer fence I had caught someone who had injured his foot so was taking it easy for a bit, then some guy went whizzing by. The wounded guy picked up the chase and they both quickly pulled away. Ahh crap I thought, fight for it!! So I decided to simply trash the quads.. and walk the tarmac if necessary. We are now running on much better path and going into the forest. The wounded guy really went for it and was out of sight but Mr whizzy was floundering and boy was I chasing. Got by him and pushed on fast as I could go which was pretty amazing because by now I had lost about all feeling in my legs and I think only the one foot in front of the other motion was actually keeping me upright. Mile 8, 7:35 mile 9, 8:39 I really bricked it hitting the tarmac. First part was not too bad but by the time I got out the castle grounds and onto the road I was simply only moving forward, which was enough to get me to the end.

2hrs 13 of pure hell... loved it. Then we went a short walk to the Ormidale pub, just to pass the time waiting on the ferry!! Great Torts day out.

Friday morning I set out to run 25 miles along the RAW. Long story short, packed the car got to Ayr in the tipping rain all set to go only to discover I had left my rucksack at home. What a f# numpty. No water/food/money clothes. Standing getting soaked again looking at an empty boot somehow hoping it would magically appear I totally spat the dummy, petted lip tripped me up and I was for heading home in the huff. (not that I was over dramatic or nothing). Then I looked at Munro, all excited tail wagging bouncing about at my legs.. well I couldn’t just stick him back in the car! So I made a deal with him, 10 miles max. 14 miles later the sun had come out and things weren’t so bad after all. Not what I had planned but hey ho.

Then Saturday was the much awaited Cateran Trail. I was looking forward to this.. but not. I mean who in there right mind looks forward to running 55 miles up hill down hill and through bogs?? Anyway there I was all hyped up and trying not to be super excited. Plans had been set in stone a few weeks back. Run at the back, take my time don’t get carried away and most importantly finish feeling fresh!! Well I knew what I meant. This was my big mileage weekend that could either make or break me and my delicate confidence before THE WAY.

It all went to plan brilliantly. I just didn’t expect to get caught by the sweepers in the first half mile but I guess that’s what happens when you’re last! I ran with Stan, Ellen, Keith and George. Stan ran on to get Caroline, he was worried she’d gone off to fast and would pay later. Soon we were all running in a little group, parts breaking away and mostly me at the back. George was chaperoning Ray who was ahead.

The route itself was really good, terrain changing constantly, short tarmac sections but mostly grass or trail. Never been so close to a bull in my life.. those beasts are just humungous. By checkpoint 3 we had caught others and had to leave Stan & Keith behind.

From this point on it was Ellen Caroline and myself in a wee group. Chatting away and keeping a good easy pace. Caroline was having issues with a throat /lung problem and was in quite a bit of discomfort. It is difficult when you can’t see the pain or injury but she was chugging along very determined it wasn’t going to beat her. As the miles went by the legs got sorer and the drop bag goodies got less and less appealing but I did manage to keep getting some food in. Tried a caffeine gel.. have decided these things just don’t work for me. My stomach is obviously very delicate! I’m glad I’ll have back up for The Way.

By check point 6 it was tipping down, I had yet again underestimated the weather. My rain trousers were back in my bag in the hotel, fat lot of good they were doing me there!! I had lost my gloves at some point earlier. Only had my jacket and buff. Ellen lent me a spare pair of water proof trousers and her thin gloves (she was definitely prepared) Sean gave me a lovely warm woolly hat.. thank you’s (sorry about the condition they were returned in).

After leaving the checkpoint we fast walked up the path and over Glenshee, ok maybe it was harder than that but the bad bits quickly fuzz in the head and only the good bits stay. The descent was nothing short of hilarious. A mud slide no less, arms and legs askew at every angle trying to stay upright. By the time we got to the high stile one of the guys we had passed earlier had caught up, oh really!! Gladly we were onto much better grass now, with Caroline at the front me behind & Ellen cunningly going very slow over the stile to hold him up we bombed the last wee bit. Our legs which moments before were numb lumps of lead had transformed to those of a fresh gazelle… oh the sight of that hotel had never been so welcomed. Through the last gate across the road and finished. Ellen wouldn’t finish with us as she was sweeper but she deserved the clapping and hugging as much as the rest of us. A huge thank you girls for making it a fun day out.

I made it back into the bar mid prize giving. Everyone getting presented thier individual Quaich. I was well chuffed.

Thanks to Karen George and all the marshals, without yous there would be no fun days out.

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