I was really looking forward to the Fling this year, mainly as I knew I wouldn't have to run 53 miles. Cheat or what? I had decided right at the beginning of the year my main race would be the WHW and running 53miles at this point in my training just wasn't what I felt I should be doing. Not that I have some ingenious training plan squirreled away that I'm working on, just that it would take too much out of me.
So yesterday I was picked up at 0830 :) by Bobby and we drive to Drymen. Bobby was doing the 2nd leg and returning home, I was meeting up with the rest of Team Tortoise and jumping into the big car. We waited at Drymen (arrived way too early) on Robert appearing, he came in just under 2 hours with Hazel and George right behind him. Hazel is a blind runner and I just can't imagine the courage it takes to run on flat roads never mind terrain like the WHW, and she makes it all look so easy, a very very special person.
Bobby had been bouncing like Tigger and set off like a whippet out a trap. He was mega wound up. Natalie set off moments at his back. We all jumped in the car and headed to Balmaha. Arrived in plenty time for a toilet break and to see Bobby arrive with Nats right on his heels. Oh Tortoise race is go.
Onto Rowardennan and we had to wait a bit for Bobby , he came in just as Fraser was on his way back from the car for his hat, it was starting to get warm now and even I had taken off my gloves jacket and jumper. Fraser ran in With Bobby, chip handed over and we wait on Nats. By this time it's my turn to be bouncing like Tigger :) running back and forth to the loo. I wasn't so nervous as excited, couldn't wait to get going. Nats comes in I get the chip and make off.
I kept to an easy pace, didn't push myself but went faster than I would normally. Can't run a 13 mile race at 53 mile pace! I ran up most of the hills put of Rowardennan, walking at only 2 points where it got steep and seemed sensible to save the legs. I was passing people all along the way, Flingers and walkers. One runner went past me, I watched him push hard up a hill and thought.. yip, see you later pal.
I plodded on running really comfortably and really enjoying myself, must have had a smile like a cheshire cat all the way. Into Inversnaid and I stopped to beg a bottle of water, I had been in such a tiddy earlier I forgot about water!! Mr hill push disappeared at this point, I had kind of caught him to about 50meters.
After my wee recce on Tues I new how I was going to run this section. Walk basically. No bouncing no scrambling no jumping just sensible fast walk good foot plants no trashing of the legs. I stuck rigidly to this plan and slapped myself hard when I got impatient. I caught a couple of relay runners here but it was brill coming out the other side of all those rocks and being able to run hard. I pushed all I could, past lots of walkers, flingers and even a few relay runners.
I have been trying to psyche myself up when running, keeping my mind positive and not let the demons creep in. Talking myself through my breathing helped and continually telling myself I was strong in body & mind kept me chugging along.
By the time I got to the stile I was reeling in Mr hill push who was walking at points that were not hills, this spurred me on and I soon ran past.. yess.
Before long my little stint in the Fling was over and I handed the chip to Mags. She was soo going to enjoy the Bogle :)
We went back to the cottage, showered and toddled to the finish to wait on Ian & Mags. Ian had already finished when we got there, slightly disorientated and exhausted. Mags was about 30 mins behind, she finished looking good with a big smile. Well done the 2 Tortoise teams :).
We waited on Tim finishing, the only Tort to run the 53 miles but he was having a pretty bad day by all accounts. Fish suppers called empty stomachs and we all deserted poor Tim. Muriel was there till the end though. Well done Tim.. great effort after such a rough mid section.