Wednesday, 29 June 2011


It's hard to blog about running when ... I'm not running. 10 days gone and I have not run a step. 
I decided as I was going onto night shift week the Wed after the WHW I would use this as recovery time and take it easy. Funnily enough it has not been too difficult.

After only 2 days after my DNF my legs felt fine. No limping or aching. I took this as another indicator I hadn't tried hard enough! Nothing quite like glass half empty. I'm having to fight my demons, analyse and move on. I'm sure I'll come back stronger. Thanks everyone for you're advice and comments.

So tomorrow I move on. Tim has a wee run planned from Catrine to Auchincruive 15 miles. Hopefully the weather holds. I really enjoy this bit of trail as do the dogs! I'll maybe even go to the gym in the evening for a wee bit of X training. The gym part mainly because the PCB thingy has gone in the boiler (waiting not very patiently on postie) and cold showers, as much as they are a challenge are not much bloody fun!

Next race is the Devil. I've decided just to take it as it come. Keep the plan simple. It involves taking my camera and lifting my head to enjoy the views.
I also have the Glenmore 24 September 3rd. My back up has had to pull out so if anyone out there fancies standing at a tent for 24 hours (seat provided if you prefer) boiling kettles and heating soup I would be more than pleased to hear form you :-) probably more surprised!!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


What can I say to sum up the disappointment? I am finding it very hard to even write down the ups and downs I’m going through.
Did I try hard enough? Could I have pulled something out the hat?
Good questions.

Back to the start. I was so excited about this race. I had been planning it for a year. I had put the training in. All my slow long runs, all my other ultra races everything was leading to this night/day/night. I had planned my food, my clothes; my pace everything I possibly could. The weather was out of my control and as it turned out so was my body.

The Start

I tried for a sleep on Friday afternoon but gave up twice so no sleep since 9am. I reckoned the adrenalin would carry me through.
We arrived at Milngavie in plenty time. Registered, I got my lucky number 13. A few people commented on my choice of numbers but I’m not superstitious and me and 13 have always been good together. So off we go to wander the car park, I met a few folks and chatted but my mind was elsewhere. I just wanted to get going.

The race

I started of near the back of the pack, trudging my way along the first few miles. I was feeling good and relaxed and was pleased as the nerves now started to settle. I’m not sure of all the place names but the miles were ticking past, I was occasionally catching folks then others passing me. Got into Drymen in 2hrs 45 right on target.

 I had 2 weetabix here and a small coffee. I wanted to eat from early on to maintain my energy, I found this to work in my training. Onto the Conic hill and I was feeling good, walking at a nice brisk pace. Took my time on the descent and into Balmaha a few minutes ahead of my schedule. Here I took a banana and slice of bread and kept walking.


Now somewhere between here and Rowardennan I said goodbye to my race. I can’t for the life of me pinpoint the moment it went wrong or why it went wrong. All I remember is starting to feel icky sicky. Nothing too bad but enough for me to have no food at Rowardennan. I did take a small piece of crystallised ginger to help settle my stomach and a bottle of Perpetuem. I had brought this along for later in the race when I expected to be struggling to eat solids.

I set off running slowly and found myself looking forward to the hills as even slow running was making me feel sick. I walked the ups ran the downs. Soon I was retching and boaking, but as you do kept going thinking it’ll pass. By the time I reached my drop bag at Inversnaid I was feeling really quite ill. Had a yumyum in my bag and this put a smile on my face, till I tried to eat it. Nothing was going down and the yumyum went to the birds.

Bein Glas

Unfortunately that is how my run continued, into Bein Glas and I was so thirsty but within a mile I was slumped at the side of the track. Projectile vomit. Gadz. I had also put a bag of salted crisps in my bag here but they just glubbed to my teeth and I couldn’t even chew them. WTF? I continued to carry this bag of crisps all the way to Achtertyre with a faint hope that I might be able to get one or two down. Didn’t happen.

Off course I tried to replace the water but nothing stayed down and I yet again ran out of water. I called my support to meet me at the bottom of the Bogle, walked most of the way there but surprisingly I was still feeling able. Met Tim who had brought some other goodies with him but I could take nothing. Tablet, glucose tablets, jelly babies my usual sugar goodies turned my stomach and I couldn’t even imagine putting them in my mouth.
We arranged for some lentil soup to be ready for me at Auchertyre and I started looking forward to this.
I struggled over the Bogle and could barely run a step on the way down but my mind was set with one foot in front of the other will get me there. Once across the A82 I rallied a bit and managed to run almost the whole way to the checkpoint. There was lots of support along this stretch and it was so good to see people and be cheered on.


Weigh in at Auchertyre -7lbs. Not good. We made our plan. I would try eating my soup then walk to Tyndrum to make sure it stayed in my stomach. Plan was good. Leaving Tyndrum I could feel some energy coming back. A long walk/shuffle towards Bridge of Orchy but I’m still confident. I’m still retching and boaking and had again stopped drinking (cos I couldn’t) but I’m moving forward and making plans for rice and irn bru at the checkpoint.

Bridge of Orchy

Bryan had run out to meet me and again was good to have company. Into the checkpoint and I managed my small rice pot and a few sips from my irn bru. Tim set of with me here and I was very glad of the company. The rain had started. I have no idea where but it seemed to be getting heavier and more persistent. We walked over the hill and I’m not actually sure if I ran any of the downhill. We met Muriel and Bryan at Victoria Bridge, by now I’m soaked through and shivering. Unfortunately Bryan had left my rain jacket in the other car at Tyndrum so Muriel gave me hers. I also had on waterproof trousers again Muriel’s as I would have had to take of my shoes to get my own on, and no one thought I was quite able of that.

We set of towards the Rannoch Moor and I was ok. A good bit warmer and dryer. Before long the small amount of energy I had left… left me. I don’t know exactly where or what but the retching became awful every footstep became a mountain I still couldn’t drink and even the fruit gums I had managed earlier were now too much to contemplate.

Glencoe & the end

I now have not much to say because I don’t know what or when yet again. At some point my mind caught up with my body and realised this couldn’t go on. I told Tim I was DNF ing at Glencoe. Somehow I knew I had hit my limit. I could no longer put one foot in front of the other, I was merely lifting my foot up and staggering. I then had to hold onto Tim just to move forward. Tim, as much as he tried to motivate me onwards soon realised just how bad I was. He called ahead to Muriel to get Bryan to bring us out more clothes.
It took Bryan about 30 mins to reach us. I put on my 3rd jacket, 2 hoods, woolly hat and I was still shivering. Now I was being dragged by both Tim and Bryan, legs just moving and no more, even at this pace I had to keep stopping for a rest. It took us quite a few hours to walk of the moor. We met the safety marshal as we struggled and he gave us a bivvy shelter bag, just in case we didn’t make it!! I’m glad I had already made the decision to DNF because I know I would have been binned at this point.

I don’t think I quite knew how bad I was, but I was told to go and see the race doctor, weight loss etc. All I wanted was a hot bath! But of course we went. Everything checked out fine and I was allowed to go to my hotel. I honestly thought I would never be able to eat again. Before finally getting to bed I had a couple of strawberries. Yuck but yum. I was able to eat.

Muriel reckoned I was borderline hypothermic and I reckon they all need their eyes tested cos there was definitely a herd of Lamas at the Glencoe centre. Plain as day.

PAAHH No Photo :(

I have thought of nothing else since.. not that I’m self obsessed!! but I have came up with no clear answers or explanations. I learned a lot about myself out there. I set off confident, not of a good time but of finishing. To give it up was very very hard. I’m trying not to beat myself up about pulling out, as Bryan has told me so many times… I didn’t. There just was no other option.

I hope to be back and give it another go. Just not sure when. Well done everyone who took part. Finishing or not… brilliant effort.

A huge thank you to all the marshals and organisers involved in this race. Everyone went above and beyond. The mountain rescue teams were fab. Lots of smiles and support.
My back up team were brilliant and I know I couldn’t have got nearly that far without them.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Last run done... maybe...I think

That is the thing about being a novice, I have no idea if what I'm doing is right or wrong. My initial start to my taper was... do nothing, seemed easier than doing something! Plus it was night shift week so easy choice.

Last week I went out 4 days on the trot, same trail run, hilly uneven and difficult. My pace got faster every day and every day I enjoyed it more, even the tipping rain couldn't spoil it. Only 4.5 miles each day but I found the fun I was having was cheering me up, even for the long afternoon and evening at work. A win win situation even if I never break any records or get faster in the process.

Now we are in the last few days, I have ripped up all my lists. Going to start a new one :-)
I have nothing bought or packed, plenty worn old gear to choose from and we'll be back home Thursday sometime, probably nip into Silverburn with new list on way home.

Today was my last run, I think! Went out round a short forest track up here in sunny/rainy Peterhead. Three laps each just over 2 miles, my mind totally overrun with thoughts of Saturdays race. At points I forgot where I was so engrossed with the Conic hill/Kinlochleven descent etc. I remember very clearly the descent into FW in the Devil last year, I was soo done in walking was difficult hmmm!!! Perhaps I'll go a plod on Wednesday, just to keep it ticking over, ocht I don't know :-(

The weather has also been on my mind a lot. I know a lot of folks like it cool, but when you run as slow as me cool and drizzly is the last thing you need. If the good auld Scottish weather is true to form then no doubt there will be weather to suit all at some point :-)

I'm not too keen on carbo loading, end up bagged up. So I'll just be eating normally well except from spicy foods, tonight my Indian meal will be my last. It'll be bland normal food from now till race start. Well, I do like porage and weetabix... lots ... Honest!!

Till Saturday x

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Trying to taper & stuff

I have a feeling this is just going to be a general moan moan moan blog.
Being in the taper mode I thought  I would enjoy my enforced rest during the night shift week, don't get me wrong, it was good to just chill and let the aches heal a bit.

I managed the gym twice and actually really enjoyed my sessions. Then an 8 mile plod which started off as a 3 mile dog run but it was such a nice day so I just kept going. That was Tuesday, my last night shift so I should have been overjoyed come Wednesday, I had done a training plan, I had my route mapped and I was looking forward to going out in the evening with Tim & Muriel.

That all changed when I forgot to set my alarm, I usually only sleep 4 hours off my last night but ohh no slept like a wee baby till 1500hrs. Up feeling like a bag of poo with no time nor notion to run. What a scunner.

We did have a good evening out though and I got to have a wee drink as Bryan had volunteered to drive. So all should be good right? but no, woke up at 0200hrs and couldn't get back to sleep.. bloody misery. Sat up the whole night watching tv and hoping I'd fall asleep. I was still sitting there when Bryan got up for work. Eventually managed to get a sleep wakening up at 1300hrs. I was still so very tired and couldn't wait to get back to my bed!!

Now Friday being a 0415hrs alarm call I just didn't catch up on the sleep.. but it was a lovely day and I finished work at one so set off up the windfarm with Munro. I had planned 6 miles out and back. Managed 2.5 with cramps and heart burn, turned back finished with 5 miles and I can't remember the last time I felt so bad during a run. Promptly fell asleep in my wee lounger out the back, burnt face like a panda cos I had my glasses on.. the joys!

Today I'm not being too optimistic and hoping I'll make it across to the gym sometime soon. Looking for a more balanced week. Have only 5 more days then off on holiday right through till after the WHW. Plenty time to get myself way too worried and worked up!!