Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Saturday 6/8 - Devil o' the Highlands 2011

Well, once again it has been a while! Another year, another Devil race completed. This one in a significantly better time than last year! I finished this year's race in 8 hours 46 mins, which was a good 30mins faster than last year. Also, surprisingly, my legs weren't too sore the next day and are pretty much back to normal today.

As always, full race report below.

My mum, dad, Derek and I drove up to Tyndrum. We ended up leaving quite late and didn't arrive until 8pm. We were staying in a wee B&B just outside the centre so drove into the village for some chips when we arrived. I went to sleep at 10pm but didn't sleep well at all that night. I tossed and turned and barely slept I'd felt when the alarm went off at 4.50am. I ate my cold porridge which I'd made the night before (never again) and dad drove me to the start. I was so tired it was unreal. I think I also looked the most unprofessional runner there with my GAP fleecy on and hood up!

Dad waited with me at the start which was really good of him and I felt fine once the race started at 6am. First section to Bridge of Orchy was uneventful...only become eventful when the midges started closing in as I approached B.o.O! Jeez, they were everywhere! Got in at 7.10am.

No one waiting for me at dad was meant to be running rannoch moor with me so I wasn't expecting to see them until about 7.40am at Victoria Bridge. Up and over the hill was fine but it all went wrong when I got to Victoria Bridge at 7.35am. I'd kept my support crew informed that I was a little early but they still weren't there. I ran on to the house at the gate, as I thought they may be there, but no one was and I had no phone signal. I was in 2 minds over whether to keep going, but I knew my dad REALLY wanted to run this section and I'd been looking forward to the my water was low.

So I bit the bullet and ran back towards Inveroran. Took about 5 mins before I had signal, when I saw loads of missed calls. A lot of runners asking if I was ok, thanks for that. Turns out Derek and my mum had left late because they'd had a full cooked breakfast. Needless to say I was not impressed! In fact I started crying! Sad, I know, but it was definitely the combination of missing them, not being able to run with dad, adding time onto my race by going back and also being short of water. I dried my eyes up and told them I'd get them at the Ski Club.

I'd added more than 10mins onto my time so I went quite fast to try and make it up. Consequently my legs became quite tight mid way across this section. My dad had ran up from the Ski Club and came down the hill with me which was nice. I had some fruit and wanted to push on. He ran the next section with me too, to the bottom of the Devil's staircase. The terrain was tricky and he hadn't really run much on that ground before. He took a little tumble at one point and his poor hand got bloody. Stopped for a while to bandage him back up (many thanks to the kind passing walker who gave us a plaster!). I was actually quite surpirsed that no runners asked if he was ok. I've seen people who've fallen on races before and I've always stopped to check they are ok, even if they have people with them. Oh well.

Got to the bottom of the staircase and Derek did the next bit with me (in his football boots - I tell you my family and I running are probably the most unprofessional things you've seen!!) It was getting hot but felt strong up the staircase. A lady at the top offered me some sweets which was lovely of her...I offered her some of my licquorice allsorts which I was munching on but she politely declined and took a photo instead:

In Kinlochleven about 11.40am. Had some pasta and fruit. Strangely, I was actually starving! I don't usually get hungry during races but I was really hungry today so enjoyed a good lunch there. Derek did a bit of the hill out of Kinloch with me but he wanted to go back to Lundavra with my parents so I bid him farewell and continued myself. I'd been passing/passed by a woman with gold earrings most of the way so far and had been enjoyed having her company (even if we weren't talking much). We both struggled a bit on the hill coming out of Kinloch but I found a spurt of energy at the end and continued on. She asked me for the time at one point and seemed surprised I didn't run with a watch (she actually said "good on you" !!) I don't know, running with a watch is way too restrictive. I run for the love of the run, not to break records and put myself under pressure.

So to Lundavra I felt great. Overtook quite a few folks but always said hi and got lovely smiles from them. Again, dad ran from Lundavra to the Braveheart car park with me. I really don't like what they've done with the trees in this section - it's very disheartening. Despite dad's fall earlier and his little training he did really well - espeically since he doesn't normally run off road. I really appreciated having him there.

The downhill was a struggle. My right hip was hurting (I have weak hips) but I kept going. I figured what was the point in stopping - it would just be harder to start again. I even ran the little uphills which I was pleased about. Dad said he didn't want to "take my glory" crossing the finish line so he stopped and let me run on. I finished about 2.45pm and crossed the finish line to none of my family watching...they had all been in the Edinburgh Woollen Mill perusing the clothing. !!!!

They ran out when they saw me obviously and dad was only a few mins behind me. My mother in law got a photo of me recrossing the finish line with dad.

I must say, they were a very laid back support crew!! But I was so grateful to them for being there for me (most of the time!) and for running with me.

I had a really good day and was really pleased with my time.

So, what next? Well, I have the Great Scottish Run on 5th September which I'm aiming to do for the fun of it. I also have Loch Ness again but this is posing a little problem, as I am actually moving to Cambridge at the start of September to study at the Uni. Derek is already working down there. We aren't sure how feasible it's going to be to get up to Inverness for the weekend but I'm sure we will.

Where there's a will, there's a way! (: