Code red, we have a code red! We are on plan Z! What do you do when you reach plan Z? Plan AA?
Well, I had to really. Just couldn’t resist it.
The inaugural Tyne Trail Ultra followed the new Tyne Trail from source to sea. The trail has been established by the Daft as a Brush charity which provides cancer patient care services by provided staffed transportation to and from hospital for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Kielder 80k ultra: I came last and first.
Bunk beds and school dinners were the order of the day at the Hawkhirst Scout camp which is where the Kielder, 50k, 80k and 100k races start and finish and where we were staying the night before the event. I was one on a small Scottish raiding party making a foray into racing south of the border. Speaking to our dorm neighbours we discovered a small Danish raiding party too.
From Namibia (see previous blog post) back to Frankfurt, then on to Beijing (the coldest and most unfriendly airport I have ever set foot in) and a final short hop to Ulaanbataar: departing Namibia on Sunday night and arriving in Ulaanbataar on Tuesday, yes, Tuesday afternoon, losing 7 hours on the way.
Our adventure started on a wet January morning as we flew from Glasgow to Frankfurt where we hooked up with David Scott (Sandbaggers) the organiser and the rest of the group before the overnight flight to Windhoek the capital of Namibia.
At the recent Glen Ogle 33 I had my first experience of sweeping. For the uninitiated a sweeper is positioned at the rear of the race behind the last competitor: and as the name suggest sweeps along the route ensuring that the runner stays on course and letting the check points know that there is no left on the course: simple, but there are a number of rules. I was sweeping with Ada, a seasoned sweeper and great person to learn the tricks of the trade from.
And therein lies a story. When I caught sight of a new ultra-marathon signing up was a 'no brainer', and so I entered the inaugural Dunoon 50k a good few months ago. Note the zero after the five there and the ‘good few months ago’.
There was weather. There is always weather in Scotland, but this weather was biblical. I was wetter than a wet thing that is very wet for nine hours.
I knew from the offset that the great Glen Ultra was not going to be a peak performance for me and had, or so I thought, set my expectation accordingly.
You have trained, you have tapered, you have a race plan, your lost luggage arrives in time, you eat enough food to sink the Titanic, get to the start line, and everything is on track until …..
Around and around and around we go …….
Running 21 laps (or double for the 100k participants) round the North Inch in Perth is perhaps not what most people would want to be doing on Easter Sunday. In my case it also meant ‘taking the pledge’ and leaving a wedding just as the dancing was getting going the day before. But, turns out it was worth it.
Glentress Trail Marathon in short: great event; great weather; stunning yet brutal route, but just not my day.
The thing with enthusiasm is that it carries you along at a break neck speed until you hit that that reality check with a monumental thud. As part of my bid to stretch my wings and do some new events I fell upon 100 Miles of Istria.
Some serious and not serious reflections of my ultra running year, where I achieved my largest ever mileage and a few other milestones on the way.
As ever I was a woman with a mission. I set two objectives for my run at Glenmore this year: to enjoy myself and to bag the magic 100 miles and ‘get the horn’, with the priority being the enjoyment. It was also important to me that Alasdair have a better, more comfortable experience this year too, and with that in mind we headed North armed with a gazebo and brazier.
I am not entirely sure how I found myself at the start line of the Devil ‘O the Highlands just six weeks after running the full West Highland Way race.
The third instalment of my 2015 West Highland Way Race experience.
Sarah was supporting me for this last section. I knew as we set out that she would definitely be taking the lead and that her quiet strength and determination would get me through it. During the decent to Kinlochleven and whilst I was in the centre I had been mentally adjusting my expectations and frustrations. Pace had slowed dramatically and time at checkpoint was longer than I had planned.