Sunday, 10 June 2018

The lost boys

I know I know.  There is a bit of recurring theme here but I'll explain it all in due course.
I can't believe how quickly the weeks are flying in as I head to my "A race" in 26 days time.  There's a lot of planning still to do so that when I turn up I know exactly what is going to happen - I don't want to waste any energy worrying about things that can be taken care of in advance.
It's been a good week's training, missing only one swim session - I'd taken my goggles/nose clip to Marrakesh but they somehow got lost in the suitcase on the way back.  4 days later I found them so I'll be back swimming this week.
I had a special treat on Friday which was to listen to my friend Roddy Riddle address 160 podiatrists in Glasgow about how he "controls/rules his T1 diabetes".  I ran with Roddy in the MdS and apart from being a top athlete he is such an inspiration for anyone with T1.  I even got a mention in his presentation.  The picture is of me lying on my back in the tent with my feet in the air, both almost completely covered in bandages as I have 7 blisters at the end of day 2.  He refers to me as the hypochondriac!  He's given this talk all over the world - thanks Roddy, don't let the truth get in the way of a good story!  Don't tell him but he is amazing.  While I am focusing on the Great Glen run cut off of 22 hours and would be delighted to get closer to 20 hours, he ran it a few years ago in 13 hours and came 3rd!  T1 doesn't stand a chance in his body.
Saturday was 1.5 hours at Chatelherault which I hadn't visited in some time.  Sadly the council have "sanitised" the paths will fine stones and even tarmaced the big stairs which takes away the trail element.  I may have to find a new training ground.
Today I was meant to be in the hills for 5 hours.  A friend suggested The Shiehallion, an iconic Munro which according to the guide was a 4-6 hour climb.  Having got lost the other week I studied the maps and downloaded an OS map of the area.  Sadly it didn't show the approach road but I had google maps, or at least I had it until there was no signal.  So Stuart and I ended up in the wrong glen, again!  Eventually we found our way which when we were coming home seemed so simple to navigate except like a couple of numpties we got it wrong - we were eventually helped by someone with an atlas!
I was really looking forward to this climb and had read about the false summits and also the bolder field near the summit.  We set off running up the track till it got too steep and we then reverted to power walking.  The summit is covered in cloud but I was hoping it would burn off.  I was surprised how busy the hill was and how early we reached the boulder field.  My dodgy foot didn't appreciate the hopping from one rock to another and it took us over 20 minutes to get through it as there is no path at that stage.  Despite the low cloud, my summit curse, we knew we'd reached the top because these must have been 20 people up there having their lunch - not my idea of climbing in Scotland.  We had some food and water and quickly headed back down.  Every step in the boulder field was a possible ankle break for me.
Once out of it we let the brakes off and speedy Stuart left me for dust.  At one stage I looked up to see how to navigate my way past some walkers and tripped.  They have no idea how close I was to wiping them out but fortunately I regained my footing and continued down the mountainside.  When we got to the bottom I checked my watch - a total of 2 hours!  I wasn't in the frame of mind to repeat it so took the positives out of the run i.e. Practising on similar terrain and building my quads before heading off for fish and chips and a 99.
On the way home I bought a Schiehallion beer and came to the conclusion, the beer is better than the mountain!
This week will be a busy running week and I will start to get together my plans for the event.  Based on me getting lost in the last 2 runs I think studying the course will be vital as part of it is in the dark and I need to organise my drop bags with the food that will keep me fuelled during the race.
Tick tock - it will be over before I know it but in the meantime, plenty of preparation to be done.

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