Sunday, 20 August 2017

When the cats away.........

So the boss and mini boss (wife and daughter) were away in Palma for 4 days so it was decided this would be a good time to get 4 consequitive days on the hills - quad crunching!  Thursday I couldn't get any accommodation so took a tent.  More of that later but the weather was fowl.  As I was on my own and decide to play it safe having been given a route by an experienced friend which avoided the summits.  After an hour in clouds with the rain pissing down and the trail getting worse I decided to cut my losses and headed back.  Off to the campsite.  I chose a spot under a tree thinking it would offer some shelter.  The instructions said the tent would be set up in 15 mins - try 45 mins.  Then I discovered a big rock in the centre of the ground - rookie error.  The ground was saturated so I got a rubber liner out the boot of my car.  Checked the weather forecast for the following day, and packed up and went home.  I think I'd have been under a foot of water by the morning.
On Friday I ran three laps of Chatelherault- can't remember the last time I did that. It felt good and my legs knew they had been through a work out but at the cost of two big blisters on the inside of my big toes.  This is not good news but at least I'll get to practice my repair skills on them.  But as I had just visited my friend Davy Arthur who was recovering from a bad bike accident with a broken back, broken neck and many other life threatening injuries, I decided to man up - he's an inspiration.
As a novice on the hills I was delighted that Michael Martin was taking me up two munro's at Bridge of Orkey.  We were soaked before we left the car park. 400m up and we were at cloud base.  Then the hailstones came crashing in on a gale force wind.  At the summit the conditions were brutal.  We had to skirt round the summit with a big drop while trying not to be blow off.  My hands were numb and I put them through the loops of my poles in case they fell out my hands.  On the descent we ran down the stream rather than go through the bog and I ended up doing a somersault bruising my hip.  We had to wade through the bog and twice was up to my knees - summer in Scotland!  We went for lunch at a hotel in the middle of nowhere as I had a room for the night.  After lunch I binned that and headed home for a good nights sleeep and I wasn't convinced the forecast of good weather would come true.  It did!
Another experienced hill / ultra runner friend, Derek Fish, had invited me up to Comrie near Crieff to climb Ben Chonzie with his pals.  What he didn't tell me was there was a 8 mile warm up run with 1,000 ft of climbing!  Then we tackled Ben Chozie (3,000 ft) and these guys were keen to run up it!  There is a dry (for a change) 3 mile track before you get into a small amount of bog then running across rocks and grass.  I was tired but did my best to keep up and was delighted with the views at the top.  We ran all the way down but the blisters didn't appreciate it.
Mission accomplished - quads were well bashed.  I've done more running in the last 4 days than I have in the last 9 months.  Running on tired legs is all part of the training and although the weather reduced the number of hours I was supposed to be out, it's building nicely.  In 34 days time I will be running/ walking with 12kg on my back, in heat, sand and at altitude.  It may be 6-8 hours a day with the exception of the double marathon stage.  It's certainly a challenge and I can't wait for it to start - although another month of training would help.
The cat was away so this mouse did play but it will definitely be an early night tonight.  I'm bust!

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