Sunday, 8 July 2012

West Highland Way Race 2012

This was my second attempt at the West Highland Way Race having DNF in 2010 at Kinlochleven. I learned a lot from that year but was unable to take part in 2011 due to my heart attack during the Fling that year. I took to the start line this year with great sadness and a heavy heart that my dad passed away on the Wednesday before the race after a short battle with cancer. My dad always said I took my good looks from him and the madness from my mother.. Having spoke to my wife it was agreed that I should continue with my plans to run the race. Treen and Mike Adams were doing my support and with help from the rest of the Kirky Krazies we would attempt to get to Fort William. We gathered at Milngavie at around 9.30pm and registered as I had hired a camper van I took the chance to get a bit of a sleep before the race starting at 1am. The next time I would see Mike would be at Balmaha.. Looking at my 2010 splits I decided to stick with them.. and all was well.. The weather had taking a real turn for the worst with heavy rain... and on reaching Conic Hill there was a river running doing to meet us,no way to keep my feet dry now. I meet Mike and change my top and had my Mullar Rice and the set off for Rowardennan with no let up in the rain it was going to be a long hard struggle to Auchtertyre were dry clothes would be waiting. Making a school boy error I toyed with putting on my running tights as the dreaded midges were now out and about.. I ran with John Duncan on and off between Balmaha and Auchtertyre which had me worried as there were a few runners around that I thought would be further up the course.. I never took much time at Inversnaid or Beinglas and pushed on to Auchtertyre. The run down throw Glen Bogle played hell with my quads and IT Bands as I had allowed my legs to chill in the rain and chilly wind that was blown this was to hunt me all the way to Fort William.
The trip from Auchtertyre to Bridge of Orchy and on to Glencoe was slow and steady. I arrived at Auchtertyre in just over 13hrs cold,wet and in need of some dry clothes and some good food.. I checked in and headed to to meet the Kirky Krazies support team in the "Love Bus" and my drop bag was all ready for me.. Chaffing had become an issue and my ass cheeks were not happy.. with dry clothes, good food I set off for Bridge of Orchy. With a steady climb out of Tyndrum I was moving better now I climbed down under the railway bridge and enjoy the long run down to Auch and the 3mile to Bridge of Orchy was a run/walk.. about a mile out of Bridge of Orchy I came across Colin Know who also seemed to be struggle a bit. We plodded in to Bridge of Orchy together just after Ada Stewart who had caught us up. Treen and Mike were ready for us Ada had been joined by Susan Addison for the trip across Rannoch Moor.. I sat and had some more food and put on my running tight which help warm my legs my I.T Band were still aching from the wet and chilly weather from the night previous. When ready Mike and I set off for Glencoe.
Treen and Mike were doing a great job on keeping me going and on reaching Glencoe Treen had my beans and sausages all ready. I quickly ate them and told them to go and have a coffee at the day centre as I took my first power nap before heading over the Devils stair case.. It was going to be fun heading over here again in the dark as I did the same in 2010.. After my small nap we put on some warm clothes and set off for Kinlochleven.. once again it was a run/walk over to the bottom of the devil and the 40min slow climb up the devil began. It was dry and not to cold and the trip across and down to Kinlochleven passed off without any real event.. I would say that I did see many bouquet of flowers on the way over but Mike pointed out it was on only black and white rocks that I was seen...mmm MIKE ADAMS what do you have on your head.
On reaching Kinlochleven around 2am the sleep monster was starting to kick in and I told Mike I was going to take another power nap.. Having been in this position in 2010 I know what to expect if I went for a sleep at this time... We had 10hrs to do 13miles loads of time.. I told Mike to wake me at 3.30am and would set off for 4am at the latest. The climb out of Kinlochleven was made all the more easier with daylight already up.. but it was sure as hell is a long hard drag up on to Larig and on to Lundavra 6mile to go.. I still had some running in my legs but nothing of any great distance, run/walk, walk even slower and run some more. On reaching the top of the Glen with 3mile down to the finish it was now even harder to run down hill and Mike and just walked down to the Braveheart Car Park by this time if I heard its just round the next corner once more am sure Mike and I would have come to blows.
Striking for home I begin running from the car park and left Mike and Treen to have a romantic walk in to Fort William and I pressed on to the finish. I crossed the line in 32hrs.13mins not the time I was hoping for but after all the rain in first half of the race to Auchtertyre I was just happy to finish and in not to bad a shape. Having finished the race I was very emotional at having lost my dad 3days before the race, this was to be further compound with the news from my wife that my mother-in-law had passed away on the Saturday afternoon after also battling cancer for 22years. Two amazing people who deserved longer in this world. My goblet is dedicated to their memories. I would like to thank everyone connected to the WHW Race for doing a great job and as usual the crazy runners who take part in these mad races it always a joy to catch up along the way and not to forget the Kirky Krazies, Ada Stewart, Terry Addison, Susan Addison, Alice Mills, Alan Crawford and all the others who help support us on our grand day and bit out.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Highland Fling 53mile 2012

Saturday 28th April 2012 saw the running of the 7th Highland Fling Race a 53mile trail race on the West Highland Way. This was my 4th Fling and the one that was going to signal my full recovery from last years heart attack which happened during last years race when I was airlifted from the course. Anything under 13hrs25min would see me PB and slay the demons of last years... My plan was to target last years splits or even slow down and save a bit for the last 12 miles. Over the years I have learned to work myself in to races and always start at the back and pass the weak and daft as the day goes on.. and true to form this is what happened. I ran the start with my good friend Alan Crawford who was out to prove last years race was a blip which he duly did by taking 2hrs25min off his time. As we set off through Mugdoch Park I was joined by Stewart Gibson a lad doing his first ultra, it always amazes me that people pick the Fling for their first journey into the dark side.. It turned out Stewart is the brother-in-law of a very good Ultra runner Bob Steel and also worked with a fellow Kirky Olympian and friend Neil McCover who was sadly killed 18months previously in a cycling accident. Stewart and I ran with another lad Charles Gordon and for each of us we would catch and pass each other most of the way to Benglas and in true Fling style the weather was warm and sunny which played havoc with runners as the day went on. I reached Benglas in 9hrs40mins and was suprised to see my wife Gill and the kids along with my mum waiting for me. I took on some food and noticed Charles and Stewart sneaking out of Benglas without me.. but not to worry we still had 12miles to go.. Gill and the Kids weren't going to the finish but the rest of the Kirkie Krazies would be at the finish to welcome me home. I set off known that I could do the last 12mile under 3hrs.. I could see Charles and Stewart about 15mins in front and just kept putting one foot in front over the other.. I came across Robin Wombill who was looking to finish in good shape as he was in the full West Highland Way Race in 8 weeks time.. I chatted to Robin as we climb a short steep hill and then pushed on downhill section..
I had now passed under the A82 and was heading to cow pat ally.. am sure the farmer lets his cows crap all over the place for badness.. I had now reach the dreaded Glen Bogle Forest and the next 2miles of roller coaster hills.. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this bit as you are only 3mile from the finish when you come out of the forest at the A82.. On the drop down to the road I came across Alan Joyce also doing his first ultra and was all but done in... I gave him some coke to try and Gee him up a bit and get him to run with me but he wasn't having it. I pushed on over to Auchtertyre this is halfway mark in the WHW Race and checked my watch 12hrs.10mins I was happy with that.. I had passed about 12 other runners in the last 12miles and caught another 2 before crossing the finish in 12hrs.48mins and the monkey was off my back after all that I had went through the year previous.. Well done to the rest of the Kirky Krazies 6 started and 6 finished and just missed out on the Coors Cup for the Club with the most finishers.. Carnegie win with 7..

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Ran the suicide run today Rowardennan to Benglas and back. Weather was overcast with drizzle but was pleasant. I have not ran this section in 2yr after my MI prevent me getting that far in last year Highland Fling Race so it was going to be interesting... I set off at a steady pace and ensured that I eat and drank regularly... after a mile the first hill appears and its steady climb gaining height very quickly once reaching the top there is a long steady run down which means you can make up on the time you have lost during the climb. On reaching the bottom of the hill you are straight into the next hill this one not as long but still slows you down.. On reaching the top it is a short run down before heading to the lochside and some challenging running for the next 10miles to Benglas.. I reached Benglas in 3hrs.08min and had some lunch(Mular Rice,Fig Rolls,coke and Pint Shandy) which set me up for the return journey.. The Way was busy with Easter walkers.. On the way back I stopped at Darios marker.. Dario was the Race Director for the West Highland Way Race until his untimely death in 2009 and it sits at a fitting part of the route with great views down the loch.. I was hoping for an even split again but this section is a real ball-buster but I was making good ground.. and completed the return in 3hrs.16mins. My legs were aching and I walked straight into the loch to ice my legs.. which help with my recover for tomorrow..

Monday, 2 April 2012

Rannoch Moor 1 April 2012

It was a day for only 2 of the Kriky Krazies... Ada and myself were heading from Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse in Glencoe. Forecast was for sun but cold wind and it was right on the money... Ada was wanting run most of the way I was planning to run this section as if it was race day in the WHW Race with a run/walk all the way across.. Its 12miles with loads of cheeky wee climbs and nice downhill section.. My time across was 2hrs-11mins.. we stop and got some food and drink on board before heading back and the plan was to try for an even split or even a negative split.. so off we went. I ran the homeward route the same way with a run/walk and returned to Bridge of Orchy in 2hrs-14mins.. Ada ran all the way and finished 2hrs-10mins.. I was please with that having had a full rest week the week before to recover from D33.. So its now onwards and upwards for the Highland Fling on the 28th April 2012.

Friday, 23 March 2012

D33 17th March 2012

Saturday 17th March saw the first race of the Scottish Ultra Marathon season in the D33 in Aberdeen.. This was the 3rd running of this race and has growing year on year with 192 taken to the start line... It was a chilly start but the sun was up and was looking like another stunning day. I stayed the Friady night in Aberdeen with the other Kirky Krazies, Ada, Terry, Susan and Alice... This was Terry and Ada first Ultra Marathon this time last year and both came back as part of their training towards the WHW Race in June. As usual we run our own race and I assume the my normal place at the start right at the back and soon we were off.. Anything better the last years 6hrs.25mins would do me.. as this was only my 3rd race since helicopter Saturday in 2011... I ran the first 2mile with Colin Knox a good friend I first met in 2009 Highland Fling Race as we ran the last 12miles together. Colin pushed on as I slowed to take my jacket off and I settled into my game plan of 6mph which is a bit fast for me as I would normally stick to 5mph.. after about 14miles I could feel my legs becoming tight and know good food was a must at the halfway mark. I was met by Susan and Alice who handed me my muler rice and salted crisps both of which came to my rescue.. as I reach the halfway mark 15mins up on the year before... After leaving Banchory it took till around 23miles before the food kicked in and I could run again I was at 23.7 miles in 3hrs.25mins all of a sudden I notice with a bit of luck I was on for 5hr.30min finish which would just be the "dugs nuts" as they say.. with that I pushed on and noticed I was catch a few runners.. over the next 6miles I would pass another 6 runners who were all feeling the effects of a very warm day and a difficult flat course... with 3miles to go I notice a sign saying 3miles to Duthie Park and the finish line... after 1/4 of a mile I came across another sign Duthie Park 3mile.. I was now getting my toys ready to be thrown out the pram... but worse was to come... in another 1/4 of a mile another sign appeared Duthie Park 3miles... I now know someone was taken the piss... which was compounded yet again with another sign now saying 2.5mile to Duthie Park... I had now lost the will to live.. as I was at 5hrs. 15mins with 3miles to go... Over the last 3mile I lost 2 places.. On reaching the park I could see Ian who I meet with earlier in the day really struggling... I shouted to keep going as he was only 6oom from the finish which seem to give him a lift as he took to his heels and legged it to the finish 10sec in front of me.. all in all it was a great day for the Kirky Krazies... Terry finished in a stunning 4hr.47mins.. 30min PB, Ada finishing in 5hrs.15min...5min PB and myself 5hrs.55mins.. 30min PB... Its now onwards and upward for this years Highland Fling on the 28th April... Time to get the monkey of last year off my back...

Training Days..(A Day Out For The Loonies)

Well the Kirky Krazies have been training hard this winter with Ada,Terry,Linda,Alan and myself all doing the WHW Race in June the first race of season will be the D33 a cheeky wee race we all done last year...
Recently Ada and I ran the Glen Ogle Race Route as our last long run..which was a stunning day after snow had been forecast..

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Drovers to Bridge O Orchy

Another day out for the Kirky Krazies with Terry, Ada and myself heading out on a planned 24 mile run from Drovers to Tyndrum and back. The weather had been cold for a couple weeks with snow and frost/ice. The trail was hard with large areas of ice which made things real interesting.. Ada was finding things hard going due to the conditions under foot and Terry and I tipped toed along..
On the drop into Auchertyer the route got very icy and with that we had the idea rather than run back to the Drovers we would carry on to Bridge O Orchy and get the bus back.... with that we searched Tyndrum for a bus time table to see when the next bus was... but had no joy... but with one phone call to Terrys wife Susan.. She confirmed that the next bus was 3.05pm we had 2.5hr to do 7 miles.. which meant we would have plenty of time for a beer in the Bridge O Orchy Hotel before the bus came...
When the bus arrived we thought we were not going to get on as the driver only had five seats and they were booked.. It turned out that the people who booked them were getting on at the Drovers so we were ok to get on... the thought of another 3hrs in the pub before the next bus came would have been a nightmare..