Friday, 12 August 2011

The Devil

I had a couple of must do's for this race. Firstly I must kick the Rannoch Moors Ass & secondly I must finish. Not a lot to ask really.

After the WHW in June, yep, I'm still harking back to that wee chestnut, my mileage & motivation dropped dramatically. The miles I wasn't too bothered about as I've always been one who likes to rest. The motivation though was a bit disheartening. I slogged through July with only short runs, a couple of races and a few cycles. This however is where it all gets better. The short runs were fun, the races were hard & short (8 miles & a 10k) and I tried my damnest. Oh to get 3 sub 8 min miles in the one race.... Ok maybe a joke for some but for me ... Wowwie!
Went out a couple of 30 mile + cycles with Tim... Very hilly and the first I'd been out on Frank in over a year so I was pretty excited about it too! Used to love going out on him but had a couple of bad cleat related falls and without really noticing just stopped. Think I just didn't want to notice!

Anyway this all brings us to The Devil. My third run over this course. 2007 my first ever ultra. Struggled hugely from start to finish but finish I did. Unfortunately it took more out me than I realised on the day and I actually gave up running for over a year at this point! 2 years later and I was back, backing up Anne, her first attempt at the The Devil & I started running again in the January to be fit enough to be able to back her up. Since then I have kept up the running and the Ultra's. 2010 Anne was backing me up and I was confident of beating my 07 time. Best laid plans an all! Tummy bug from the start saw me shuffle in agony for 43 miles.

So to 2011. The Rannoch Moor. This was my first demon. After it taking 6... Yes 6 agonising hours of crawling in the rain during the WHW to get across this sparse open moor I was determined I would get kicks it butt. Thankfully for me it is pretty much at the beginning of the race when my butt kicking ability was still within my grasp. I started of slow... Very slow making sure I didn't go under a 12 min mile from the gun. This of course left me at the rear of the field but with plenty miles to go to catch folks I wasn't fussing.

Had a good yakk with Sophie putting the world to right over the first few miles to B Of Orchy. I nipped in for toilet stop at the hotel & didn't see Soph again till KKL, she had picked up an injury and withdrew. Hope your recovering well. I met my support here and they had my jam mini roll & urn bru waiting for me. I chomped & drunk as I walked up the hill passing a fair few folk as I went. Bounced down the other side onwards to Victoria Bridge for my soup. I new I needed some food before tackling my demons so I took my time ate what I could and Anne walked with me to take my empties back to the car.

Onto the moor. You would think I would have had a plan! But nope, just keep focused, keep moving forward and talk to folks along the way. Met Vicky here, we yakked for a bit till she stopped for a munchie, I kept my head down and focused on beating the moor. Funny how the mind drains it's way through 6 weeks of life just so it can bring back all the memories of my previous encounter with The Moor! Well I was in a butt kicking mood and used all the little prods in my mind to smile remember & even enjoy this run. Every corner I turned, hill, bridge obscure landmark brought something back & today I was feeling good. I came off the moor through the checkpoint (no Lammas today) & ran down the road to meet my crew at Kingshouse.

I had THE BEST crew ever. Wee George, (the bearded one) veteran of many WHW, Anne, great runner & motivator and off course Bryan in his position of driver go getter cleaner upper. Brilliant.

They see me good with my bagel banana & coffee, Anne joins me on the run & we're meeting up again at the bottom of the Devil for more mini rolls & irn bru. We meandered our way to the top! It was hot by this time & my wee bru bottle was empty. Met Fiona at the top, she gave us a jelly baby and took our photo. I'll try get the photo's on but not sure how to with this iPad! We were careful on the decent but I still managed to fall. Being me I bounced straight back up & was more than glad I had my buff over my hand/wrist, took most if the fall! However it did seem o unsettle me somewhat & I soon started feeling sicky. This is where good backup is essential, I would have ran on burping & boaking, Anne knew I had my ginger capsules with me (been taking them daily for 4 weeks now) and encouraged me to take 2. No harm done if it didn't work! Gladly with a toilet stop near the bottom of the slog into KKL & I'm again like a new women. Tummy settled legs feeling good and boy did I kick that Moors butt!

Quick food stop & we're heading out of KKL and up that rather large hill. We walked the whole way but still managing to go by folks. Ontowards Lundavra. I think the heat here started to really effect me & others. People were slowing and my ankles were starting to really ache. I'm sure on fresh legs it would have been fine! We did get lovely cold water from the mountain guys, wonderful. Lots of cheers and good wishes from walkers. Now those are the good points, the bad was I was getting crabbit! The constant struggle to find ground that didn't twist your ankle was very frustrating. I stumbled, toe stubbed constantly, Anne was having the same problems. Not much fun. The sun did go behind the clouds about half way and that gave a bit of respite! Only later do you realise what a numpty you are for allowing yourself to get annoyed! At the time it's not only the whole world that's against you, but the rocks too!

Into Lundavra & guess who's there? Running bud Tim, bandaged up after an earlier fall but still has his sense of humour in tact cos he thinks he can stay in front of me if he leaves quickly... Hehe
My mumping/moaning & lack of pace over the last few miles at least left me with enough energy to pick it up in the final section. I passed Tim not long into this section.. Obviously the fact that he has not been able to run for the last few months is no excuse!

George and Anne both ran the last section with me, we ran all the runnable parts and power walked the hills (Bobby Murray school of walking). Reaching the fire path George (veteran of many WHW races) gives me the advice of don't go to fast here, if you let go here you'll struggle further down. Whhoopppee says me and starts belting down the hill! Some folks just need to learn the hard way! Needless to say the first slight even part & I'm almost going backwards. I did manage to run all the way to the finish line but boy did I pay for that first mile!

Finished in 9hrs 2:57 whoopee

Thanks to all the organisers, marshals, sponsors. Brilliant Moor butt kicking day out.
And of course the dream team support crew. Next time I promise to listen x


  1. Congratulations Karen ... well done on finishing well and enjoying the day.

    Recover well

  2. Well done for kicking ass, Karen. Great run and great report. Debs xx