On Thursday, Pauline and I were wondering what to do on Saturday; she wanted a longish run since she hasn’t had one in ages, where as I’d taken myself off for a couple of cracking runs on the WHW the last two weekends, there was a Glee club outing happening, it was a bit longer than we'd planned but we could go if she fancied it.
9.00am. Drymen car park, and a dozen runners were preparing for the off, I got a few admiring comments for my gaiters, even from the guys! There was a few faces I didn’t know but that was soon sorted with a few introductions, I was looking forward to a run with company and a wee blether but as soon as we set off, I thought “Well, I’ll just see you later!” I run no ones pace but my own and wasn’t going to get dragged along. Silke and I soon settled into the same pace, it wasn’t long before Marco and Thomas whizzed past, they were just doing a “wee” fast one, over Conic hill and back.
I enjoyed my run with Silke, although I wasn’t feeling as sprightly as I could’ve, I think the remnants of last weeks long run and cold were still in my system but running tired is no bad thing training for ultra. (Please remind me not to stand next to Silke again, I look like a hobbit!)
We were about 20 minutes away from Rowardennan when Thomas appeared, he was doing a wee bit extra while waiting to pick up Silke as she was stopping here. I went into the hotel, the speedier runners were tucking into bowls of soup and cups of tea. There were more runners inside than you shake a Garmin at, George and Karen and another group had run down from Beinn Glas and were having something to eat before heading back. I just nipped to the loo (very civilised) before heading back, I didn’t want to sit down beside a roaring log fire and get comfy cause I would struggle to get going again and it would give the faster runners something to chase on the way back. Pauline came back with me but it wasn’t too long before Ellen, Donald and Janet caught us up, (the even faster ones had had their soup and left just as I got to the hotel) Donald and Janet soon pulled away but Ellen and Pauline stayed with me. I wasn’t really struggling, I just wasn’t going very fast. (Not that I’ve ever been accused of speed anyway!)
At the bottom of Conic hill the conversation was on the exploits of some WHW runners pushing the boundaries even further, like George’s recent back to front winter WHW and Keith not stopping at the end of last years race and carrying on up the Great Glen to Inverness. How long will it be before these achievements seem normal? I smiled at Pauline’s comment “Well, between the three of us we’ve got eighteen goblets, how many miles is that?”
I was glad to get up and over Conic hill again, I perked up a bit back on the forest track, I was into the last hour of running, it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been out for, the last hour is always good, well, you can always run just one hour!
This was quite a tough run (30 miles on not the most runnable sections) on one of my favourite bits of the WHW. Come to think of it, all 95 miles are my favourite bit! Hmm… but I do prefer Lairig Mor in daylight without eighty odd miles in my legs! But there again that’s what makes it soooo special!