Sunday, 29 July 2012

Life in-between a Champion and a Devil

After last weekend’s excitement I am now only days away from the finale of my ultra season, the 43M Devil of the Highland Race.

Enough has been said and written about my fantastic husband who is now Mr Scottish 100K Champion! Though maybe just a few more words … As it really was a great performance… :-)

I was very happy to be back on support duty and was looking forward to the whole weekend. Well, apart from one tiny detail that had me rather worried. Debbie had suggested we should do a last long run together on the Saturday before the race, 20 Miles. Now while that was a good idea in general, I have never ran with a Scottish record holder, winner of the Grand-Union-Canal Race and now also GB 24h-team member! We started in Redwick where the 100K race would take place the next day and we managed to find the path to the coast with the help of a friendly villager. Out and back and onto the roads around Redwick. Eventually Debbie decided we would shorten the run to 18M. I guess she realized that our time on feet was already much more than she had planned and we were nowhere near 20M! :-) Well, that was fine by me and I think we both had a good time. Not sure if I will be asked again to join a long slow run though …

(Photo by Gail Murdoch)

Now to the main event of last weekend: Thomas had given me a plan, he had made up most of his drinks and I had clear instructions of what to give him when, and what to replace it with in case it did not agree with him. We had worked out and practised (much to the amusement of the others!) the best handover technique of 2 bottles at the same time without him having to slow down and without me running alongside as this was not allowed. Water (to cool himself) left hand, drink bottle right hand. If he needed an extra gel it had to be taped to the water bottle. We had bought 2 huge buckets for the Scottish team, one for sponges for cooling, the other one to keep the drinks cool with ice cubes in it. He actually never used the sponges himself but they came in very handy for every one else in the team. And a few other runners after looking at them enviously lap after lap plucked up the courage to ask for one themselves. We ended up having to collect the sponges from the road, clean them and use them again.
I still managed to give him the wrong gel at the wrong time and should have persisted in him wearing a hat. But there is always room for improvement …
(Photo by Debs M-C)
I knew he was feeling in good shape, he was in good spirit the day before and doing his Usain Bolt impressions. He went off fast, and Adrian told me to tell him to slow down after the first couple of laps. Now that was something I did not dare to do. I believed he knew what he was doing and must have been feeling good. So I left it to Adrian to tell him. When Thomas came round the next lap he told me to tell Adrian everything was under control! He managed to pull off a great race and I was so proud of him and am still so excited about it.

But enough now as promised!

Onto the Devil. This was my very first Ultra back in 2009 and this one is going to be my 2nd time running it. It is my favourite part of the WHW and I am really looking forward to it. We will have my brother and his family here to visit us so they will be part of the support teams. My coach tells me I should “risk something”. Now that translates into “run faster woman and walk less”! Maybe he still thinks there is a fast runner in me – he can always dream I guess. Seriously I would like to get under 9 hours (my previous time is 9:22). Theoretically that should be possible but you never know. My main goal is to finish the Devils and complete the Triple Crown. I will be so happy when I cross that finish line as I would have never thought that one year I would rise to this challenge.
In the process I have raised nearly £1000 for Ardgowan Hospice, mainly with the WHWR. But I will leave the sponsorship open until after the Devils.

So Devil here I come.


xtine said...

Hi Silke,

Sounds like you are ready for the Devil! If I see you en route (though you will probably be zooming ahead of me...) I will say hi, and similarly if you see me. I think I will struggle but we will see, let's just hope it's a nice sunny day (: Have a great run.


Andy Cole said...

Hi Silke,

Now that you have completed the WHW you can approach the Devil as a "no big deal" distance. You KNOW you will finish OK so just concentrate on running the bits which are "runnable" for you as well as you can and you may surprise yourself in finishing time. Have a good run!

Debs M-C said...

You will smash the Devil. Probably overtake Thomas too :-)
See you Saturday x

Keith Hughes said...

Have a crack Silke, finish the year in style