The first instalment of my 2015 West Highland Way Race experience.
The West Highland Way Race (WHWR) is the jewel in the crown of the Scottish ultra marathons. It is that pinnacle that many of us aspire to. For me, rightly or wrongly, it was something that I felt I had to do to truly become a full card carrying member of the Scottish Ultra family.
My journey to the West Highland Way Race has been a long one, and there have been quite a few races, many miles and a few life changing experiences since I first considered it as a possibility back in 2012. But I am finally here.
No one ever really knows how a race will go for them. They will have hopes, expectations and confidence from knowing that they have trained and prepared. There will probably be a certain amount of nervousness and there will almost certainly have been the nagging doubts resulting from ‘taperitis’.
The coolest marathon in the world
Arrival at the North Pole and Camp Barneo, the 24 hours before the North Pole Marathon
The North Pole Marathon: the coolest marathon on earth in so many ways. This entry is about the time spent in Lonyearbyen preparing to depart for the pole.
Science, blackcurrants, a broken treadmill and boiler, endless lists and a Harp Odyssey with just a splash of madness.
My journey to the North Pole Marathon.
A new aspect has come into my life as a runner: science. Heart rate, VO2 max and lactate threshold are all things that I was aware of but never really thought applied to me, at the level I perform. Now that I am working with Nairn at the Life Sciences Department at Glasgow University they have taken on a greater significance for me. It is through these tests that Nairn is able to measure my fitness and any improvements (or decline). They provide the basis for training advice and recommendations for race pace.
As I coast through the festive season, with training in a hold and maintenance plan it seems appropriate to take a look back over the year. Here are some serious and not so serious reflections.
Had I been thinking straight or even thinking at all I would have realised that things were about to get a lot tougher, but blissfully oblivious I trotted along quite happily, continuing to admire the surrounding. A long gentle climb, a nice downhill and we then turned right off the track to follow another one into a valley, where we got our first sighting of Alpacas and donkeys. What more could you ask for: volcanoes, desert, alpacas and donkeys.
The 2nd instalment of my volcano marathon experience.
Title photo: Mike King. Copyright www.volcanomarathon.com
Running the Volcano Marathon; a race in two parts. First Instalment. It was all going so well.
(Title photo copyright Alasdair McIntosh)
I was Chile-bound once again. This year it was my final destination as opposed to a stop-over and I was heading for the North rather than the South. It was also ‘Team Audrey’ this year as I was accompanied by Alasdair.
Hmm, I seem to have been here before?
It is early November and there is a bed with a pile of kit laid out; a pile assorted electronics; a folder with itineraries; insurance docs passport and currency out and a large empty holdall on the floor. The intended destination: Chile.
Since I will be running at high altitude in the Volcano Marathon, and have never been at altitude, let alone run at altitude, I jumped at the opportunity to do some hypoxic training. It is not about performance or improving performance, it is simply for me to get a feel for how my body will react, and set my expectations based on how I respond.
I have run Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon on 7 occasions now, and it is the marathon that I have run most frequently. Bearing in mind that this is my most frequented marathon and the law of averages, this event has provided me with my 3 best times and my worst time, and been the scene of some major highs and major lows.
The Glenmore 24, is as it says on the tin, a 24 hour trail race that is run on a 4 mile forest trail at Glenmore near Aviemore. There is also a 12 hour event. It is a superbly organised event by team BaM who are also responsible for the GO33 and Great Glen Ultra. Having previously done the other events, I knew that this would a relaxed, fun and well supported event, and I was not disappointed.
Here we go again, another first for the McIntosh ultra-team: my first 24 hour event.
A few minutes past 9 am on the 22nd of July the Queen’s Commonwealth Baton was passed to me and I ran my section of the baton relay. The next day saw its journey complete as it was carried into Celtic Park stadium to be handed back to the queen, and to mark the start of the XX Commonwealth Games