Yesterday was the first day of our 4 day Easter weekend, and I decided to do my long run of the weekend rather than put it off until today. Couldn't do it tomorrow (Sunday) as we are going to go up to Perth to watch the Anglo Celtic Plate 50km and 100km races and to support friends. If I put it off until Monday then it's into next week's running so doesn't count apparently ;-)
So, up nice and early - who needs an alarm when the daylight is creeping round the edges of the curtains at 5:30am? Up at about 20 past 6 and downstairs to put the porridge on. I had sort of planned to run from Milngavie to about the foot of Conic Hill and back as I was looking for 24 miles but John who is now officially tapering for Boston in 2 weeks, decided he'd like to run with me but he wasn't enamoured with Milngavie out and back as he's done it a few times recently... I let him coerce me into running from Balmaha to potentially past Rowardennan and back! I have done this once before way back at the start of my WHW running adventures in February 2011 and it nearly killed me that day! I have since run twice from Drymen to Rowardennan on my own, once as a practice and once as the second leg of the Hoka Highland Fling relay last April. I did much better on those two occasions than the first time I'm glad to report. So I wasn't too phased about it, other than when we were driving towards Buchlyvie and it started to snow - we left the house in sunshine! I realised that I hadn't brought any spikes for my shoes so had a wee panic that there might be snow or ice to contend with - I have real issues with icy roads :-(
Fortunately it was but a passing flurry and we arrived at Balmaha in dry if cold conditions. A quick visit to the facilities at the Oak Tree Inn and we headed off down the path along the lochside. First set of steps - god how I hate those stone steps that litter this route - and an unscheduled stop as I thought I was suffering from a leaky bladder... quick recycling of a zip bag as a precautionary measure and we were on our way. The first 3miles were AWFUL!!!! This is where the I told you sos started.... you see I had done my usual 3 fitcamp sessions this week, Mon, Wed, Thurs and they were all tough! However on Thursday I had a rare chance to get to the treadmill at lunchtime and decided to do a wee interval session which I thorougly enjoyed but which was the fastest running I've ever done... so.... as you can guess my legs were screaming!!! Hey ho... At mile 3 John suggested that I decide whether I wanted to turn back - how dare he?? I said no I might not do 12 miles out and back but I would definitely go to Rowardennan and probably turn back there.
Now it usually takes 40min to an hour for me to warm up on this sort of terrain at my plodding pace, so things started to get better and even the 'dreaded steps' that I have had nightmares in the past about weren't nearly as bad as I remembered them... I even got a row for running down the path at 9:30 pace! Though I don't think I was going that fast!
We got to Rowardennan and stopped to use the facilities and I changed my shirt there as I was too warm in 2 long sleeve tops as the sun had come out, so I swapped one for a short sleeve T and then proceeded to be quite cold on the way back when the sun disappeared and the wind blew in off the Loch! Typical!
I'm still not getting the feeding 100% right, but I am getting better as I did say at the hour and 2 hour mark that I needed to eat something so that's progress :-)
John was running up all the big hills like some sort of Ibex or other fleet footed mountain climber - it was truly a sight to behold and at one point I stopped to watch him and wanted to woop and holler but didn't as I was worried he'd think there was something wrong and think he'd to come back to get me :-)
I much much prefer to run this route in one direction only as I think it's much tougher coming back the way - there are some big climbs on this section - cumulative climbing was 451metres - that's adding up all the Ups - so it's no wonder my poor legs were dead by the last hill... he only told me so another twice on the route, then another time in the pub when our friend Bob had the audacity to agree! Then I think it was another 4 or 5 times before bedtime LOL!
As I came back into Balmaha I met Karl Zeiner and Debbie Brupacher, they are running the full WHW on 3 days and various friends from our facebook community have joined them for part of it - we met some of them at Balmaha as they'd stopped for a break and were heading on to Rowardennan where there was a previously-planted car to drive back to Balmaha for some food at the Oak Tree, then back to Milngavie to pick up various other cars and head home. Others are meeting them today to run some of the next part and yet more tomorrow I think. Yes I was pretty gubbed at the end, and I'd only got 15 (tough) miles instead of 24 (gentler) miles, but as my wee mouse at the top of this post reminds me it didn't kill me, or to quote John in a recent post I'm not dead yet!!
So tomorrow will be a day of cheering and flag waving and watch the real big guns fight to keep the AC Plate in Scottish hands, Monday will be our fitcamp anniversary so I'll be heading to the morning camp, and that gives us the rest of our day off to do something - or not as the fancy takes us. Then it will be one more week at work then we're off :-)
|Happy Easter everyone xxx|