Have had a easy weeks training due to todays race and also my kids were away for 5 days holiday with there grand parents. So not ideal preparation for todays race, as iv been eating out every night and having a glass or two of red wine. I managed not to drink the day before the race, so i take that as a positive and meaning i was going to give it a go and try to run a pb today.
Race Plan. ( failing to plan is planning to fail).
Even running as slow as i do, you still have to decide on your race plan whether it be go fast at start or slow, pick it up mid way or looking to be strong at the end. Are you going to race it and be competitive or run your own race. My race plan was,
1st leg. To run a little slower than last year as i had went to fast.
2nd leg. I was aiming to reach this check point the same time as last year and have more in the bank for the last section.
3rd leg. To be feeling good and have a positive run and not feeling awfull. this section is the last 15 miles of the whw, so you are always cream krackered falling asleep and in a bad state, even in last years devil i felt awfull and i didnt have a good experience in the final stage.
Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy. (6.62)m
I set out at 6am and ran talking to ray mccurdy and then ellen one of the race organisers from the fling. I felt good and deliberately slowed myself from going to fast. I reached this check point in about 65 minutes, so 5 minutes slower than last year so my plan was working and i didnt get carried away at the start. The midges were out in force and i managed to kill a few hundred and gave them a free lift to fort william. I also managed a bit extra protien in swollowing a few as well.
Bridge of Orchy to Glen Coe. (11.5)m.
My plan was to be easy on this section and just let the miles go by and not get carried away with my pace, i ran with ellen again for a bit and carried on feeling good but trying not to race anybody. I arrived at Glen Coe 5 minutes up on last years time and feeling good so my 1st leg of my race plan completed and i was feeling good and bang on time as well.
Glen Coe to Kinlochleven. (9.5)m.
This section of the race has the first big climb of the day in the devils stair case, it never stops amazing me how as a ex track runner/sprinter how i always catch people on big climbs, though i do normally get caught on the descent by a couple of runners. The decent into kinlochleven past the ice factory is steep and trashes your thighs, but i was still feeling good even so. Kinlochleven is normally a midgie infected town, but today they must have been on there holidays ! I arrived 5 minutes faster than last year and wasnt feeling to bad, the heat was building up and i was starting to feel a bit too warm. So after a change of top, some fruit and a drink i left kinlochleven, with my vest on my waist as i know from the past the climb out of kinlochleven is the hardest climb of the west highland way and very hot at the best of times never mind it being 12 noon. 2nd leg of my race plan and achieved.
Kinlochleven to Fort William. (14)m.
Leaving kinlochleven the sun was out and i must have lost a few pounds sweat on the big climb up. I tried to keep a easy walk up and after about half way i went past three walkers, with the surprse of the day in meeting, david/ rachel and there dad from clydesdale walking the whw. This is a very long section and i was doing it at the hottest part of the day. I had planned to run as much as possible and try to get to lundavra feeling good. I was trying to be competive so i passed four athletes on this part with one runner sticking to me till lundavra. Lundavra isnt a check point but alot of crews meet there athletes here as its still 7 miles till the end of the race. Alot of people stop and spend too much time here talking and refilling bottles. I ran through and passed 2 athletes here and was cheered on by lucy the womens winner, who had broken the womens record by nearly an hour and finished 3rd overall in the race. On entering the forrest i was caught by kirsty the owner of the camp site and hostel at tyndrum. We ran together all the way to the end and we really pushed each other on the last last decent into fort william and into the finish. My last 3 miles were all under 9 minute miling and we finished together in 8hrs 33min and a new pb of over 20 minutes.
I would like to thank the organizers and the helpers as well as all the spectators for there encouragement and cheering. The biggest thank you is to my brother john who is not a runner and got up at 3am and was my back up crew for the day and giving up his weekend for me. So thank you !