Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Highland Fling Ultra - 2013 all over again :(

photo courtesy of Colin Knox (who doesn't know I pinched it!)
There are many quotes about how making it to the start line of the race is a triumph in it's own right - I just can't recall any of them at the moment :) 
On Saturday 25 April 2015, I did make it to the start line, just not much further!  This is progress when in 2013 I didn't make it to the start line and had to admit defeat on the Thursday before when my Dr told me I wouldn't be fit to run for a bus never mind 53 miles... I was absolutely heartbroken and still remember the lovely messages of support and condolence I got from a number of the experienced 'old guys' and their female counterparts - they helped so much!  History was to repeat itself this year in almost identical pattern - we returned home from a race by plane and John picked up a bug.  Cue a nasty sinus/chesty infection which caused him to take time off work - almost unheard of!!  I was doing really well, managed to keep healthy and keep up my circuits and had a good run at the weekend over Conic Hill.  Was even starting to feel positive about this year's Fling then Boom! Wednesday swollen glands and sore throat, feeling irrationally tearful :( Thursday felt a little bit better til night then back again :-( :-(  Friday, the cough started :-( :-( :-( and the temperature...
However we were packed up and ready to go so headed to Milngavie - I'd paid for the room after all!  Had our tea - eventually in the charming and enjoyable company of Rhona and Graeme McKinnon then headed down to registration.  Caught up with friends and made some new ones, one drink with Wim who'd flown over from Amsterdam that morning, and then back to hotel.  Quick catchup and nightcap with Amanda then bed - I had started feeling better after dinner so hadn't ruled out a DNS though the coughing when I laid down did make me think about it.  I had a really good sleep - perhaps cold n flu night time tablets and a wee Bunnahabhain ceobanach are a good combination!
Saturday morning 0430 alarm goes off, John has the kettle on and it's time to assess the situation... I actually felt really quite good, felt well slept and temperature seemed normal so organised and off to the station we went.  Lovely to catch up with lots of friends - who all later took the opportunity to tell me how shit I looked (you know who you are and I love you all!) and then it was time to line up for the start.  Off we went and all felt ok, legs were happy to be running gently and I was chatting to Mike Adams and David Egan as we trotted gently down the High Street, waited in the bottleneck at the ramp and then a wee wave from Ally and Ian and onto the path.  I waved and shouted 'morning' to Keith as he filmed from the bridge above and after half a mile my lungs packed up!  Literally!  I couldn't draw a breath.  No warning coughs no tightening in my chest just Wallop!  It wasn't a difficult decision to make - I can stumble along on duff legs but can't do much with duff lungs.  Garmin stopped and phone out to ring John - hoping I'd catch him in time.  I think he thought he was getting some sort of 'sex call' is that what you call them? You know the ones with the heavy breathing and you can't hear the words?  Anyway, he got the message and fortunately was only as far as the car so he came back to meet me and escort me back to the car.  We spent the rest of the day dotting about supporting and then spent a wee while at the ceilidh but were knackered so headed to bed (he's still not fully recovered either)  I woke early Sunday feeling really miserable and just wanted to be home in my own bed, so we got up and had a quick cuppa and a chat with Wee Fi then headed home.  We were back by 0900 and I spent the whole day doing nothing but feeling grotty and coughing and wheezing... Stayed in bed yesterday too then went to see Dr this morning.  I have my drugs, they're starting to work and already the world has a better perspective :)
So many friends had great races on Saturday and a few didn't get what they wanted from the day, the event was as always, 'some show'!  Johnny Fling, ably assisted by Noanie has made this bigger and better and it was great to be part of the day albeit not quite in the way I'd planned. 
In 2013 I was devastated, in 2015 I was disappointed and sad but not with the same sense of failure or trauma, my whole year is aimed at one thing and that is being back in the station car park at 0100 on 20th June and I am comfortable that I made the right decision not to try to push on - it's all about the bigger picture - my eyes are firmly on the goal!

Thanks all for the kind words and good wishes they mean a lot!


  1. Definitely the right decision for that moment and the June 'race' plan! Glad to hear the doc understands enough to provide the drugs..no matter how nasty they are we need these bugs dead!! X

  2. Good to see that you had your sensible head on and an eye of the goal. Take care and get better.