Especially when it's Debs and Cairn who are your back up! Of that more later.
It's been a bad week, Jogscotland on Wednesday 5.5miles and then Thursday's aborted reps. Probably too much good running, after Saturday's 24 miler, led to really sore knees on Wednesday so although I enjoyed Wednesday's JogScotland due to the efforts of the group, I really felt my knees and started icing them on my return home. On Thursday, I walked a bit but wasn't happy with what my knees were telling me. Common sense says don't run but Thursday is a club WHW training night and I went along hoping it was one of those "don't make a drama out of a crisis" moments. Jogged out to Balloch Park, fine. Started the reps which should have been 6 x 800m hill reps on the long climb from the main gate. Fine at the start whilst climbing gradually, but as soon as we hit a downhill, and it's only a wee drop that I wouldn't notice normally, I got shooting pains through the kneecap and stopped immediately. Jogged back to where JR's group were doing their hills and spoke to Linda who looks after my aging limbs. Agreed with my suspicions that the quads were gubbed and just to prove it, ran a single uphill stride on a steep Vale street. Fine. Walked down. Sore. Quads! Jogged back to club which made about 5 miles slow running. And pondered on the running done over the past week. I was asking for it. 24 miles on trail, Quad busting descent early on a run on Monday and running on a hilly 12 miler with a bit too much enthusiasm = danger of injury. Rested up Friday and Saturday using ice treatment and heat on Saturday before starting with clubmates Geraldine, Jimmy and Ian and Rab and Mark (and Molly his dog) at 0830 on Sunday for the 31 miles from Inverarnan to Kingshouse.
That gave us an hours start over the scheduled starting time of the rest of the group. We set off steadily before Rab and I headed off into the Ewich Forest ahead of the others. We immediately went into walking the uphills mode and it seemed to suit us all. Very muddy in places although I thought the area around the farm before Ewich wasn't quite as bad as last week! Still shitty though! Nice running in the Ewich area before the run to Auchtertyre where I started to get my mental state messed with..... by a back-up As we approached what will be the checkpoint on WHW race day I was startled by a loud blast on a car horn. Debs and Cairn, boy that kid has a heavy hand on the horn. A rebuke from Debs for wearing too much. She thought the sweat I was leaking was indicative of over heating and suggested I was training for the Marathon de Sables. I have news for Debbie. Sweat is not an indicator of fitness or over-heating! I break out in a sweat if I walk past a kebab shop and all I was wearing was a Helly Hansen long sleeve shirt and my trusty Montane Venture EVent jacket that does exactly as it says on the tin. It's freezing under it. Debbie asked me to divest myself of my very light load, but I declined feeling really comfortable.
On reaching Tyndrum in 2hrs 50, there she was again. Which meant that Marco must be through Auchtertyre! Or Debs was stalking me. "Yep. He's coming after you." Then, "Why don't you give me your stuff. I'll see you at all the checkpoints." So I gave her a bottle of diluted Ribena. And never saw her again. Until Kingshouse where she greeted me with "I hope you didn't get de-hydrated!!!" Anyway Marco, running light... shouldn't be allowed, flashed past midway to Bridge of Orchy. He ran the 31 in about 4.45 and was well into his beer when I arrived.
Into Bridge of Orchy at 4 hours and a few minutes and Rab dropped back as he had planned to eat here. Mark and Molly came past at this point, having caught us before Tyndrum and stopping for some food for Molly. We walked the uphill out of B of O, Molly suddenly appearing beside me when I had a snack, shared it, then buggered off back to Mark when she realised it was finished. They soon disappeared into the distance at Inveroran and shortly after this Thomas came flying past, followed by a few others including Neal and Harvey (another dog)which means at least three contenders for the Fling dog race. By this time I was struggling on the uphills over Rannoch Moor, being encouraged by Neal telling me how much he hated it!
The arrival of sleet and snow on the Rannoch Moor summit confirmed that my decision not to divest my clothing at Debbies command was a good idea. It was bloody freezing! However, the sight of Kingshouse as I crested the ridge was terrific, although I soon realised it was further away than it looked! Not helped by the old fellow who asked if I shouldn't be running! Although passed by Aileen and John in the last few hundred yards my finishing time of 6.46 was good enough for me! I got in just ahead of the posse, justifying the hour start. A quick change in the pub toilet before grabbing a lift from John and Aileen back to the Drovers car park. And home in time for a nice tea with my son's new girlfriend, Hazel.