Saturday, 5 January 2013

Doing the Janus thing

Last year has been a good one running wise, it was injury free, even snot and sniffle free, I’ve ran the most miles I’ve ever done in a year, just over 2100, I don’t normal do such big miles but it has been my first year without Mum, and my running has been my solace, it has held me together and let me release my grief.

I ran eight races in 2012, in February Devilla 15 km, not a normal distance but brilliant fun belting round a muddy Devilla Forest, in March the Smokies 10, a ladies only 10 mile race that’s  been on the calendar for longer than I’ve been running, it’s a quality hilly route which I use the run hard and hang on technique, I ran my third fastest time since 1999 (when I started keeping a detailed record of my running other than half marathons)  in April the Highland Fling, in which Pauline , Sue and I ran together, it wasn’t planned but when we were still together around the top of the loch we decided to stay together to the end,

a great day out and the bonus of a surprise several months later when an envelope from Scottish Athletic dropped through my letter box with the championship team gold medals!  In June a steady run at the Skye Half in beautiful conditions, and the only time in 2012 I wore my vest without layers underneath,

it’s my favourite half and the only one I do nowadays, I first ran it in 1993.  Then a fortnight later, the West Highland Way race for the ninth time, in the wettest conditions for the first half I’ve ever ran in, the rain did ease a bit along Rannoch Moor and I finished in just under 29 hours (one second under to be precise) 

August the 4th was our 50th birthday, there was no better way to celebrate it other than supporting Mel in her first ultra, the Devil O’ the Highlands, and have a bit of fun along the way, I don’t plan on growing old any time soon and when I do it will be disgracefully.

In September the Glenmore 24 and I was astounded to recording my one and only race win.  First Female with 109 miles, after over twenty five years as a plodder I’m very proud of this achievement and my engraved tea plate is in a prominent place, a wee shiny trophy  with memories that go deeper than my eloquence. 

After that I ran my eleventh Loch Ness Marathon and an enjoyable trot round the last race of the year, Glen Ogle 33.

Looking forward to this year, most of my races are entered, I have big goals, but I know nothing is guaranteed.

First is the 100km at Perth, I’ve never ran a 100km race or more accurately I’ve never stopped at 100km so my goal is 11hrs 30mins that’s when  I reached 100km at my first 24hour race at Perth so that’s what I’m aiming for, next with be the Highland Fling, I have no goal for a time other than my best WHW split, I’m a one pace plodder with my eyes on June which will be my tenth WHW race, I think I’ll be as nervous as my first WHW, funnily enough I’ve never been nervous before a race since then, just excited.  In 2003 I was heading into the unknown, there weren’t the trail races that are there now to build experience, and my longest race was The Two Bridges, a 35 mile old classic road race that sadly is no longer around.  But after doing Pauline’s support a few times I knew exactly what was in front of me.  It was sore, and the toughest thing I’d ever done but knowing I’d come through it gave me the strength to face stuff far scarier than running the most scenic 95 miles on the planet.   I don’t doubt my commitment to finishing for a tenth time, there may be stuff beyond my control and that’s what makes me nervous.

Next will be The British Ultra Fest in August, I’ve never ran on a track before or a 48 hour race so I’m thinking two birds with one stone!  I’ll have to employ tactics I’ve never used before,  like stopping for a breather, but I’m hoping I’ll benefit from stopping for a wee rest and I’m thinking around 4.00am, both days (I’ve picked that time because it has been the most unproductive time during my handful of 24 hour races).  I may be a plodder but I'm consistent.  I start slow and don’t go much slower, most of my 24 hour race splits are practically metronomic and during the WHW I’m always a bit concerned about making the half way cut offs, last year I made it with around an hour to spare and thanks to John K’s spread-sheets I was pleased to see my split from Kinlochleven to Fort William was the 52nd fastest from the 119 finishers, a boost to my confidence in my own pacing, I certainly didn't speed up, so I’ll hold that in my favour hoping to maintain my pace for two days.  I don’t expect it to be easy and mentally it will tough.  During last year’s WHW race I added some secret ammo in my arsenal.  A fit and trained body can get you to Kingshouse but to get further requires heart and soul and if mine happened to fall into a dark place my comforting thought was to have an Angel with a strong hand on my back pushing me along the Lairig Mor but it wasn’t necessary, my body was feeling the miles, but my heart and soul were proud, my mind was clear and my head held high, I smiled as I thought, like that gallus bairn on a bike, “Look Maw, no hands!”  In my final hour of the Glenmore, my emotion was high, physically I found it tough but it could never reach what my Mum endured in the “end game” and she was my inspiration to push on. 

Now a few months on and looking back, “ Light-bulb!” Of course I didn't need to call on an Angel, she was with me without asking.  No matter how tough or sore my running in 2013 may get I know my Mum is proud of me and will always be with me.  My goal for 2013 is to keep making her proud.   “Look Maw, no hands!”