Saturday, 16 August 2008

My 1st time!

1 day after Tom's great run in the DOTH I decided to finally have a go at running on the WHW myself. For my debut I chose the section from the Kingshouse Hotel to Kinlochleven. That would have been my support route if Thomas had not dropped out a Blackrock Cottage in the WHWRace - so a bit of unfinished business ...

I was a bit apprehensive as I did not really want to get my new shiny yellow Trabuccos all muddy but I was reassured by my husband that they would get mainly wet on this part of the route. So I had no further excuse and set off in pouring rain. On the first stretch to the bottom of the staircase I tried to avoid all the puddles but soon the whole trail became a stream and I gave up and ran right through. My socks and shoes were soon completely wet and I found out how useful all these small holes around the shoes are, the water seemed to quickly ran out again and just left me with wet socks. I walked all the uphill bits and ran on the straights/downhills whereever possible.

Despite the rain the sun came through some clouds and Glencoe looked fabulous in the mixture of cloud, rain and sunshine. I overtook a few walkers which felt good and arrived at the bottom of the staircase after 39min. I knew from the training runs that that was an acceptable time and felt quite pleased with myself. Thomas & Dirk were there to check on my progress and then headed off to KLL to the indoor climbing wall.

I walked up the staircase overtaking a few walkers again and had amazing views towards Glencoe. I arrived at the top after 22min. I then started the downhill into KLL and had forgotten that there were still a few uphills on route which again I walked in a brisk strike. The running got easier once I arrived at the track. It was so steep at times that it felt as if I could not have stopped even if I had wanted to! By this time it was pouring down again and I was completely soaked. But I really enjoyed my run and kept smiling until I arrived in KLL.

Thomas could not believe his eyes when I arrived after 2:02 hrs. I was only 5min slower from the bottom of the staircase into KLL than he was the day before in the race. I was well pleased and had a bright grin on my face. He now has great hopes that I might enter the DOTH 2009! But I still maintain that my legs are not made for long distance running ... I have also picked up a terrible cold which I blame on getting soaked at the weekend. I am sure I will find more excuses for not entering the DOTH next year as time goes by .... My debut run was great fun though ...

Sunday, 10 August 2008

He ran like the devil!

What a great race for Thomas and what an excellent time! He finished the DOTH in 6hrs:34min and arrived in 10th position. He managed to achieve his targets of a Top Ten Finish and to stay under 7hrs. Last year he would have been second with this time! But this year was a very fast race and the first five runners were all under 6 hrs beating the existing record! But what is much more important is the fact that Thomas really enjoyed this run. He felt good with no major injury concerns and just went out there to have a great race. He has beaten his demons of the WHWRace-DNF and was able to feel how it should be if a race is going well. I am very pleased for him.

On the support side, this was also a fast and at times hectic race due to the rather short intervals we had in between support stops. As my parents had to pull out from their visit we employed the help of a friend (Dirk) at short notice. Nancy, our well experienced Fling and WHW support crew member had other commitments so I had a first-time supporter in my crew. But it worked very well, he even enjoyed it despite the rain and the midges (yes they are still out there!) and he might volunteer again for future races. The worst stop was the one at Blackrock Cottage. Not only because it brought back bad memories of the WHW race for me as this was where it was all over for Thomas in June. We had to leave the car at the ski lift station and carry our stuff down and then heat our water for the soup in pouring rain waiting for Tom to arrive. Good time keeping was needed as he was already ahead of his schedule and the soup should not be too hot but also not too cold and of course the bits of pasta should be well soaked and not crispy ...

Well, this would have been o.k. if there was not the need for an urgent toilet call just 10min before the water should have been started to be heated. And if the toilet facilities at the lift had been open. I dropped the first-time supporter off at Blackrock Cottage with the gear, drove back to the Kingshouse Hotel where we were staying, ran up to our room, back down, up to the ski lift with the car and a jog down to Blackrock Cottage again. Dirk had it all under control (and passed his support crew "test"). And the soup was just perfect when our runner arrived. It could have all been more relaxed if we had known that the support crew did not have to be at the checkpoint. We could have leisurely prepared everything in our dry hotel room at the Kingshouse - well next time!

We managed to get to Lundavra as well and then dashed to Fort William where I thought we might see the winner arriving, but no chance. With a winning time of 5:22 we were far too late. We just managed to see George Cairns arrive in third position at 5:47. I chatted to a few people I knew from the WHW runs until Thomas arrived at the finish. We then waited for Davie Bell to finish and of course the amazing First Lady Sharon (Debbie's support runner) who finished in 7:12. Very well done. We stayed for the prize giving ceremony where even I won a prize! A spot-prize of Thorlo running socks! No excuse now!
Me, Tom & Dirk

Tom, Sharon with her winner's trophy, Davie

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

The Devil is approaching fast!

After 9 days in our self-constructed "training-camp" in Germany, Tom is as ready as he can get for the Devil at this stage. Before we left he was in excellent shape as his chronic hamstring injury had all but disappeared with a 3-week course of the homoeopathic remedy Ruta Grav. Even the planned visit to an orthopaedic specialist was cancelled as he was back doing speed work for the first time in a year. His running looked really relaxed and we both had great hopes for the Devil.

But then there was the small matter of a visit to our families ...

We both initially enjoyed running and skating in great weather until the sun became nearly unbearable. Thomas is now well prepared for blazing sunshine - if he will ever be able to make use of this kind of training here in Scotland remains doubtful... But who knows, there might be a heatwave approaching at the weekend.

Lots of BBQs and delicious Italian ice-cream took their toll on the scales. Then we had to entertain all our nephews and nieces. And it was on one of our outings to an outdoor adventure ground that Thomas pulled another little muscle yet again! And strained his Achilles tendons! We did have great fun though:
Tom and one of his sisters, niece & nephews

We also met a complete new edition to my brother's family, my new nephew and godson Simon born 2 weeks ago. That meant a few interrupted nights by demands for feeding and his older brother's talkative streak at 3AM.

We also met my parents briefly on Saturday for yet another ice-cream and I hope that it is just a coincidence that only 24h later my mother was ill with severe gastroenteritis... Unfortunately it looks as if she is still too ill to travel and they won't make it to Scotland. Well, there goes my scare tactic for the Devil.

So, all in all not the best preparation training wise, but if fun, family, friends and food count, Thomas is well prepared. We are both looking forward to the race and to meeting up with a lot of fellow runners and supporters.