Sunday, 27 April 2014

Highland Fling 2014

Well it seems I haven't blogged since September 2013!!

Lost the bug I think, but after having an amazing day yesterday I feel the need to have a wee short record of it.
Now I know I moan a lot, I greet and gurn and mump like a madam and I certainly was vocal about a calf injury I had, a mere nothing in real terms but for me at the time of year when I was putting down my big training months into the summer it was huge. Short story, it was a calf spasm which no amount of resting was going to fix (4 weeks) eventually parted with the cash and went to Hampden Sports Clinic, one session of acupuncture, I'm on the road to recovery and wondering why I hadn't just gone right at the start!! I was told 10 days of strengthening then I could try run 1 mile.. so that was about 2 weeks ago or so.

This didn't put me off running the Fling, just made me reassess my race plan. So it was turn up, start then finish, simples.

The Start

I wasn't nervous, I hadn't tapered, I felt under trained and was a bit feart for myself (am I going to make it? will the calf  hold?) I was going to find out!!
I started slow at the back and slowed down. I was feeling pretty rough and considering pulling out at Drymen.. all the nasty negative thoughts going through my head, heavy legs, heavy breathing, heavy heart..

At Drymen there was such a crowd making such a racket, no chance I'm stopping here!! On I plodded, mood slightly lightening as I plodded up toward Conic. Met the always smiling Karen D here and we plodded and blethered to the top, Karen nursing a pretty bruising fall, hand and knee all bloody and swollen but she was in good spirits and it lifted mine. Karen stopped to get some stuff form her bag so I plodded on running to get my photo taken

then promptly walking again haha. It is yet another story but Conic hill and me, we have a past. Broken bones on 2 separate occasions and I'm kind of wary of this descent. My barley breathing and taking every step with caution crawl was suddenly blown to the winds when Laura (Troon Tortoise relay runner) comes bounding down behind my.. big scream big hug dragging me down the steps in a sweaty tangle of her happiness and my fear hanging on for dear life.. OK maybe that's a slight exaggeration, well done ladies for 3rd team :-)

Into Balmaha and I get my drop bag and hug from BDTP, photo taken by wee George and I'm on my way again. I had just a few items in my bags, a caffeine gel, mini choc donuts, half mars bar, small bottle of juice and for savoury little sausage roll/sausage/chicken strip things, all fitting into my pocket so I didn't need to stop. I was feeling more like my self. Plodding slowly, well within myself now and finding the running and climbing easy. 
Onto Rowerdennan and I started noticing a rub on my back, I knew I had to get it to seen to as small niggles can become huge issues as the miles and hours pass. Strange how the mind focuses. Quickly into the checkpoint, met by the ever smiling Vicky O' but I was quickly through and looking for first aid, found Jeff of the WHW rescue, taps aff as they say as I got my back covered  in plasters and bra strap taped up!! Seems it had already rubbed through the skin. Walked out the checkpoint before noticing I hadn't refilled my water bottles, back you go lady!! 

The hills to Inversnaid went well, met Louise J here and we had a good wee natter. Unfortunately it was around this time my stomach started rebelling and it was the long jog to the checkpoint and toilet!!

The next part along the Loch side was not my best. I quickly got caught behind a snake of others. I took this as a wee chance to take a breather, at the parts where possible folks were moving over and letting you past, when they didn't a wee shout of 'can I nip through please?' was met by a 'aye nae problem, there you go' so why one ignorant little madam felt the need to push and shove and try jumping round people when there was no room is beyond me. I did mention this to her and she could get past an appropriate point. Patience and manners cost nothing. I refused to let it annoy me but did allow myself a wee smile when she was soon walking in the playground of angels and I just jogged on.

Keeping to my plan of jog easy, run within myself nae huffing or puffing I soon left wee short ass Heirs behind but do have to acknowledge he helped me immensely on the Loch side and I'm sure I wouldn't have got my PB it it hadn't been for him holding me up and conserving my energy ;-)

You may not recognise the trained elite athlete from this particular image though.

Into Beinglas, I get my bag, by this point no savoury or choc, just the tablet I had added and another gel, My gut was turning and I was on the sugar train. As it happens I had past Mr Downie just before the checkpoint, he caught up here and duly emptied a bottle of water over my back when I was bent down emptying my shoes! I am not going to repeat what I said but he was out that checkpoint faster than a rat up a drainpipe!! The pleasure was all mine when I caught him up within a mile, but as I need help with a rucksack tier I had to be nice to him!! 
I plodded on waiting on the wheels falling off, I'd been waiting for a long time to be honest but as long as I could run, I would run . I passed Amanda and Emma soon after they were chattering away and appeared in good spirits, there just seemed to be loads of people on the trail.
 I had looked at my watch leaving Beinglas, 9:15 I think. When I last ran the Fling in 2009 I was through in 9 hours and finished in 12:00:58 so I had decided a PB was not on. Then I thought, well, you know, if you just keep plodding, yadda yadda the thought was turning in my mind like a wee poisonous snake, round and round and round it went. It aint over till the fat lady sings I told myself, so up till that point it was game on. I just love the Bogle Glen, I could never be unhappy going up that hill, steep it was, knackered I was but I was still grinning like a mad yin. Even more so when I caught Knoxy picnicking at the top!

Auchertyre however for me is another matter and I knew in my mind this is where I was going to struggle and I did. Met Corned Beef here, great encouragement so on I plod. When I realised I had 2 miles to go and still had 30 mins I was like yeahhhhh in the bag... but as we all know it is never that simple. I pushed on with nothing left in the tank, I couldn't face the tablet, wished I had another gel, head down just keep going your not going to miss it.. but what if it's farther than 53? what if I run 53 in 12 hours but don't make the finish line.. that's not a PB.. oh man the pressure, past the piper (great touch) watch buzz's 53.. I'm like Oh no, it's more than 53, c'mon you daft auld cow get round that corner!!! Then I saw it... the end, then I heard it, some person at my back!! WTF?? sprint... and I beat him and I got my PB 11:53:56 :-)

I went out with a plan which I stuck with for more than 40 miles having the best time ever. Then almost killed myself leaving it all on the track on the last leg. I really need to have words with myself!!!

What a great race, great finish area, great people all round. A huge thanks to each and every person who helped out and cheered us on. Amazing!! (but never again)

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