Even though I've been running on the whw for the last 7 years I've tired yet of the enjoyment it gives me. I woke about 4.30am with that sense of excitement and looking forward to the run. I dozed off and on and was up at 6.45am ready for breakfast and our planned 7.30am set off time.
The plan was to drive to Tyndrum where we would meet Caroline McKay, run 16miles back towards Inversnaid, turn round and run back. Caroline said she'd probably turn a mile or so earlier. I also thought it would be a good idea for me to push a bit harder for the 12miles back from Beinglas.
I was interested to see how quickly I could run that section with 20miles in my legs plus the 11miles froim Saturday. I also thought it would be good for Katrina to run that section on her own so she could make sure she knew the way and feel how it feel being on her own as in the Fling race she may well be on her own.
We stopped off at Carmyle Cottage on the way and stashed a bottle of flat coke each and some food to pick up on the way back. That was we wouldn't have to carry it and would havce some extra provisions for the last 8miles.
We arrived just 9am and met James and Caroline. James was heading off to climb Ben Hope so they arranged a meeting point and time. We had a quick chat with a few folk who were staying at By The Way as part of the Higland Fling training weekend. They all seemed to have had a great run on the Saturday.
Amanda Hamilton wanted to do an easy 2-3miles so joined us for the first mile or so. She also kindly took a photo before we set off.
The weather was pretty cold but lovely for running in. Crisp and still and it stayed that way for most of the day. As we set off Katrina was in big trouble. She was limping badly and almost in tears with a sore groin. She said it me, 'I don't think I can do this.' I encouraged her to run for a few minutes and see how it felt.
Thankfully after 10mins or so it eased off and she was running more like her smooth self. She did have the option of turning back whenever she wanted but in the end didn't need to.
As we ran Amanda told us about Ian Minty who had collasped last night and been taken to hospital. It didn't sound too good but we've heard since he's back home so hopefully he's fine. Amanda turned back somewhere before we crossed under the A82 before Auchtertyre.
Caroline, Katrina and I ran at a nice comfortable pace chatting the whole time. Caroline has a place for the Western States 100 this year so it was really interesting to hear all about it. I'm going to interview her soon for a whw podcast so watch out for that.
I was wearing my heart rate monitor and was interested to see what my heart rate would be over the run. I was feeling really good with a spring to my step. I'd run the 11miles quite hard on Saturday but couldn't feel any effects of that which was encouraging.
The miles and time flew by as we chatted and before we knew it we arrived at beinglas Farm. I hadn't really looked at my watch much but had estimated before we started that it might take us around 3hrs. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had only taken us 2hrs 30mins. Katrina was running well by now and that time proved it.
We had another 4miles to do before we turned round. I knew that 4miles would take us to a gate that I use as one of my mini-splits. This meant as well that we would turn back before we got to the really difficult technical ground which meant we'd be able to run a bit quicker.
We stopped at Dario's post for a few photos. Expect to see this one on the header of this blog soon! It's already on my facebook page.
You can see how still the loch is. Such a beautiful day.
Murdo McEwan had asked me if we had time could we stop at Dario's book and check it had survived the winter. Neither Katrina nor Caroline had signed it so we maused for a few minutes to do that. I took some video of our stop so I'll post that later.
When we arrived at the steep ladder at 15.7miles Katrina decided to turn then as she thought it would aggrevate her groin. So I ran on to the gate and another 0.1 to reach the 16miles. The Suunto definitely records the distances slightly less than my garmin 205. It's not much difference ... maybe 0.1 each mile but it does add up.
Just before I turned to met Christopher and Susan March (Caroline Gibson's brother and sister-in-law). They were out for a walk without their children. They are part of a Fling relay team and Christopher wanted to show Susan how much harder his leg is!!
I reckoned Katrina was about 0.6mile ahead of me and wondered whether I'd be able to catch her before Beinglas. I had wanted to run faster on the way back so now I had the chance. The 16miles out had taken me 3hrs 50mins with an average HR of 107.
My legs felt great and I was running nice and smoothly. I really do feel that the stone and a bit of weight I've lost is making a big difference. Both on the uphills and downhills.
I pushed hard and ran back to Beinglas in 51mins (compared to 1hrs 25mins on the way out - but that included stops at the post and book).
Just after Beinglas I saw Katrina and after a few minutes caught up with her. We chatted for a bit and then I pushed on. I really wanted to see what runinng that section in under 2hrs 30mins felt like. In previous Flings when I'd run under 10hrs I'd done that last section in 2hrs 20mins or so.
I was still feeling good and running all the bits I wanted to. It was getting a bit cold and I thought I'd need to put my jacket on but by the time I got to Carmyle Cottage and our coke it was warm again so I didn't need to.
I decided to try and run at least 2 breathes of each hill and by doing so was able to get almost to the top of each one before walking the last bit. I also felt strong on the downhills which for me is a good sign.
Soon enough I reached the last uphill and long downhill to the A82. Over the road and off to Auchtertyre. Starting to feel a bit tired in my legs but still running strong I headed to Tyndrum and the finish. I tried to imgaine how good it would feel to be going this well at the end of the Fling in a couple of months!
I finished the 32.14miles in 7hrs 08mins. So I'd come back 32mins faster than going out. Very pleased with that. We asked Kirsty whether we could have a shower before heading home so it was a real treat to get nice and clean. Plus there was some lovely flapjack left over from the weekend to enjoy!
Katrina arrived not too long later and after her shower we headed down to the Real Food Cafe for fish and chips and home. So another superb day out on the whw. I hope I never cease enjoying running on this track.
This week I have 5 easy runs planned which I'm ready for. Finally some stats from the run ...