Lots to catch up on since last time, I've been out watching other peoples adventures and having some of my own too.
The week after Mont Blanc I went up to Fort William to watch the Ben Nevis race. It was a bit different this year because there was a load of entries from abroad since it was included in this years Buff Skyrunning World Championship. There seemed to be a larger than usual contingent of local girlys watching the race, apparently disappointed there was no-one running in the buff. You could spot the foreign boys a mile off though in their long socks and fancy lycra gear, it seemed to do the job too since there was about 11 of them in the top 20. As a result I went and bought a pair of these Skins shorts, they make no difference whatsoever but I look like I know what I'm doing now and my arse doesn't wobble about anymore. Afterwards we went to Morrisons and picked up some bargains for tea which we cooked up on the wee stove in the campsite, thus filling our bellies so we could cope with a beer or two. Unfortunately I had my " wan-can-Dan" head on so didn't feel too good the next day and also managed to get us lost on the way back from the pub with my "short-cut" on the Great Glen Way.
Oscar in the pub with his race number on!NB. This photo is actual size
The Perth Ultra Festival was on the following weekend so I went along to watch some of it. I arrived about 5pm on the Saturday and everyone was going along quite steadily after 7 hours of running. The 100k had been going for 5 hours and was starting to hot up but I had to leave for a wedding reception so missed the end. On Sunday I was up at Perth again about 7am (no wan-can-Dan, it was mineral water for me... never again!) what a difference, most were walking for large parts of the laps and only a few were running steadily. It was amazing to watch everyone fighting their individual battles and some fantastic runs from the Carnegie Lassies with Gail taking ladies 100k champion, Pauline breaking the Scottish 24 hour record again and Lynn and Fiona posting brilliant 24hr debuts of 125 and 116 miles respectively. After the prizegiving I left feeling really inspired, I think it's got to be one of the best events I've ever spectated at, amazing!
So, suitably inspired and only a bit rested after UTMB I headed down to run the High Peak 40 so as to complete the Vasque Ultra series.
It's a great race, 40 miles of hills, roads and trails. I've done it twice before so knew what to expect. Pity I hadn't remembered the route though! After about 7 miles me and two other runners took a wrong turn, dropped a hundred feet or so in height and headed up through a field which we thought was the right way until we saw all the runners away in the distance on the other hill. So, we ran back up and after losing about 20 places got back on track. I made the mistake of hammering on too hard to try to catch my place back up and after about 30 minutes I was feeling pretty rough. At the 20 mile mark I was ready to chuck it, I had slowed right down and felt terrible. I knew, though, that if I chucked it I'd have to drive to Wales the next week to do the only other race to qualify me for the series so that kept me going. I was caught by a few runners before Flyin' Brian Mc came passed and we chatted for a bit which took my mind off matters of the screaming quad variety. I got into a bit of a rythmn after that and was going fine until I took yet another wrong turn! I won't forget that one in a hurry, believe me!
I finished the race in 6:58 and 12th place so it turned out ok in the end, but I was quite pleased with the way I was able to dig in when it got tough which is a good thing considering my up and coming adventures.
I've been trying to get the training upped a bit since UTMB, with all my running on the road to prepare for the Tooting 24 hour. I find it hard to get motivated though because I'm a slow road runner and I find it quite boring too. Also all the kids take the piss out of me when I wear my Skins, I thought I looked pretty cool! A plus point, though, is the coos can't get me. During the High Peak 40 I had to negotiate a few of the grumpy cud munchers, there was a big one which I'm sure growled at me. I suppose I was running through its dinner though. I ran a 3 mile time trial on Thursday with the Carnegies, which I thought was ok at 18 minutes, since I'd only had 4 days rest after HP40. On Sunday I went to the Ceres 8 road race, a hilly 8 miler (well hilly for a road race) I managed just over 52 mins, feeling pretty stretched to say the least. I got a 10 miler in last night then had a phone call from Tommy asking if I wanted to do a recce of the Pentland Skyline race. He didn't have to ask twice! Any excuse to get up the hills again! So, today we had a really enjoyable run in the sunshine and got some quality hills into the bargain... not good 24 hour training however!