Thursday, 6 November 2014

Glen Ogle 33, Lauder 4

photo: thanks Richard O'Grady

The Killin Fields.
I had been looking all week for an excuse to not run the GO33. The weather forecast which had promised lots of rain earlier, brightened by Friday and I was left with no alternative but to bite the bullet and GO. Here's a tip: if you aren't really in the mood for a 33 mile race DON'T do it. I spent most of the race counting the hours till the end and not really enjoying it. I could list a number of reasons or excuses - I was probably tired from the last couple of weekends running 30+ milers: not a recommended taper, but I prefer to blame the hellish early start.

I got out of bed at 4.45am on Saturday morning. I was on the doorstep for 5.28am and Richard was outside waiting to give me a lift. This kind of jetlag is not without consequence and if there is one thing I would urge the organisers to change, it would be to put the start time on a couple of hours to 10am. If someone has to take more than 6hrs to run 33miles they might want to train a little harder rather than force the entire field to get out of bed long before dawn. (I have also done the stay-local thing the night before and got the only fighting drunks in Callander staying in the room next door, complete with police intervention at 2am.) It is the main reason I won't be back next year.

First bit heading through Killin. My granny used to live just the other side of the Falls of Dochart. I remember a number of years back I dropped in unexpectedly after an 80 mile cycle, and starving, and she gave me a boiled egg and some lettuce.

We arrived in time (after a detour to Livingston to pick up John P) to pick up numbers and get sorted. The sky was gloomy and so was I. I wore a buff as a hat and gloves and a t-shirt over a long sleeved Helly. I thought I may be too warm later but could not face being too cold at the start. The good news was that due to a flooding the start had been changed from Strathyre to Killin. This meant the worst section of horrid road at Rob Roy's Grave would be done at halfway and not as the last awful 6 miles. 

My game plan was to encourage folk to run too fast up the big hill at the start. It sort of worked but ruined me as well as them. 

Alan T on the left was dressed for a spring marathon and took a nasty fall early on. He kept expressing surprise at the gradient of the initial hill, which I was less surprised by having run the race twice before. Also if he had looked at the internet he would have found plenty info and course profiles etc.

Jo, Gerry and John D. John beat me by a long way last time so my cunning plan was to lure him into hill sprints. By the end we were both knackered.

I'm pretty sure John's plans were to head off sharpish anyway; there he is bombing off into the distance falling into "my" trap.

photo: thanks James Day
I ran with Gerry for a while. Gerry was in great form (and isn't really that ^ comparatively small!) and kept a blistering pace going all the way. Last couple of times we have finished near each other but I never saw him again after the first set of zig-zags. I unfortunately had to pull off the track for a pit stop. Reading over last year's blog exactly the same thing occurred around 10miles (you may recall the releasing an otter into the wild line) and again I would blame the 4.45 breakfast. I looked behind and there was only James Stewart so didn't wander far off the path. I maybe lost 70 seconds. I did feel much better but it is not an ideal way to run a race.

I did wonder was it just me being a bit gloomy. I heard many people express how simply marvelous the scenery was. However the camera (which only lies now and again) agreed with me and 80%+ of my photos were dull from lack of light and full of camera shake. It was not a fine day and perhaps I was spoiled from the last 2 weekends being excellent. I did wish I had stayed for a sunny run in E Lothian. Also most of the flippin run in Glen Ogle is on road. There are hard pack trails but a lot of the viaduct path seemed to be tarmac or similar. My legs and feet did not thank me for this.

photo: thanks Clark Hamilton

The scenery would have been nice if the sun had been out

excellent photo by Richard O'Grady
The roads from Balquhidder to Strathyre were still pretty awful but passed mercifully quickly by comparison. My spirits were rising, feeling we were halfway and I said to Richard O'Grady who was taking photos at the shoogly bridge that I had never felt so good at that point before. 

photo Richard O'Grady

Initially pleasant trails leaving Strathyre.

Getting steeper - this the view behind.

And this in front.
Actually I enjoyed the challenge of keeping running the up hills. I heard John had run out of steam by this point and Gerry caught him. They were both way ahead and I spent the majority of the race on my own. 

Here is a little piney section that I thought merited a photo. Quite similar to last year's photo (below) of the same bend taken from a near identical line.

I think this was on the way down to Kingshouse and the third checkpoint. I decided this year to carry a small amount of fluid (about a litre) and 4 gels and do without any drop bags. It worked ok - I enjoyed running through aid stations, but probably should have eaten more than 3 gels. Ian Rowland said he stuffed himself before the start, and although he felt bad for the first miles he came through strongly later. Its a bad business this ultra thing.

After a long time travelling up the cycle path to the viaduct I looked behind to see the first woman approaching. I asked her was she having a good time. It was out my mouth without consideration and sounded a little dodgy, like I might have asked did she come here often. I think my caffeinated brain was lonely for some chat and just blurted out any nonsense. From what I remember she said she was having a good time but really she would have been within her rights to say she was leading lady and overtaking any amount of slow jogging losers thanks very much. Ian was hot on her heels and we barely had any chance for a chat before they both disappeared quickly (way too quickly) dropping me from 7th to 9th. Ian would have enjoyed going past me in the last bit, as I had done exactly the same to him in the Skyline. I didn't mind - but hoped I could avoid the next dozen runners also going past.

I spent the last miles stepping hard on a blister on the ball of my left foot - I could feel the contents squish underfoot slowly peeling the skin off my sole. My legs really ached and I didn't remember the distance from the road crossing to Killin being quite so far. After an ice age we eventually ran past the Falls of Dochart again and I took another shit photo of them. I asked a lady at the hotel where had the runners gone and she pointed me across the road and down through the village. Other runners were not so astute and went down the path we had run up at the start. Richard said we were told all this at the pre-race briefing but it would seem I wasn't the only duffer there not listening. I blame the early start!

I crossed the line still feeling gloomy, blew a small raspberry and skulked off to get changed. Not very sportsman-like. I think I needed something to eat and drink and consumed the Irn-Bru in the goody bag. It was horrible. On the way to Richard's car Andy J and another appeared and asked which way to the finish. The only thing I bothered to take a photo of was this free surgery sign. It was the closest thing to what I felt might help. It was quite a palaver getting stuff out RD's car and going to the showers while moving like a war veteran. My legs were really sore and stiffening horribly in the cold. What I needed most was a hot shower. When I got there the showers were baltic. I was fuming. I stood and cursed as I washed my head and legs but couldn't face putting my whole self under the frigid blast. Despite the unpleasantness I actually felt better afterwards - dancing a jig in the cold water helped un-seize things. And the animal noises of brave men yelping under icy water was greatly amusing.

Word of advice Fiona: you probably won't need sunglasses or a parachute at this race, ever.

Seeing certain people finish with great good humour and grace was nearly enough to make me feel guilty. Apart from the early start and the cold showers it was a very well organised event and many thanks to the BaM organisation. I am sorry I wasn't in the right space to enjoy it more - just one of these things. The only downside of the Killin start/finish was that it was a long way from the free soup and beer at the Strathyre Inn. And John P was a long way from the finish. After an hour+ wait in the cold playing field we decided just to head home rather than do another stop so I think I didn't really have much more than 3 gels and a sports bar or 2 from 5am till about 13 hrs later. Gives you a rare appetite this ultra thing though.

The war memorial was about 100yrds away and frankly I didn't have the legs to get there and back so this is it from a long lens away. 

The sun made brief appearances.

Borders Cross Country. Lauder 

As I finished yesterday's 33 miler I thought no way will I be running at Lauder. My foot was badly blistered and my legs were sore. Really sore - strangers were asking was I okay because I was walking in such an avant garde manner. When I got home I got Nurse Mary to lance and compeed my blister and gave my legs a few sessions with the magic stick. I suspect a lo of the pain after the race was low blood sugar exacerbated and after several meals at home and possible cider (goody bag - nice one and lovely label) beer AND wine, and paracetemol, I began to recover to the point where I could contemplate taking photos at Lauder perhaps by the stream where fate was planning an early bath for Andrew Jeske.

I think this might be Wanton Walls farm (top right) at the start of the Herring Road and S.U.W. from last weekend.

However after 10hrs of sleep or more I felt like I might take my running kit - just in case. Happily the Borders Series doesn't cater for folk taking 8hrs and they started at midday, giving us plenty time for a leisurely breakfast and drive down the road.

The junior race is always well attended and usually part of the senior course. Great to see the young guns going for it.

I took it easy for the lap round the playing field.

At the boardwalk section I saw Willie and Stuart up ahead and thinking they were the main v50 competition legged it past them. Shortly after this I heard a surprised voice from the spectators shout "Peter Buchanan you are a legend." This put more accelerant in my legs than the magic stick and I have considered paying folk to shout this at every race. I found out some time later that it was Julie O, third lady at Glen Ogle who couldn't believe I was out on the same legs I had trashed 24 hrs ago. 

I spent a lot of the hill just behind this Carnethy shirt although I didn't recognise the owner.

Going up the hill Stuart made another appearance. We were both breathing too hard to exchange pleasantries but I managed a photo. 

A bit of descent before another brief climb (Eilis went past again) then a steep downhill.

I braved a couple of photos here despite the steep and potentially hazardous terrain.

Then with the sun blazing behind us we jumped the stream a few times before the muddy climb. Eilis was struggling on the climb and I sneaked past.

Across the filed and through the stile or over the gates. I used the stile as I didn't want to bash the camera I was carrying.

Then along this unpleasantly rocky path before a final circuit of the start/finish field.

Dunbar's finest watched by George with new beard.
I was pleased to have finished ahead of Willie and Stuart but alas that unrecognised Carnethy who finished 2 secs ahead of me was a v50. (Need to try harder next time.)

Andrew - after a short submergathon!

Mary, Jane

Mary's first race in 6 months. She generally enjoyed it.

Now if I was looking for a cheap joke I'd title this Harry, Lauder.
First race back for H after breaking his collarbone at Wintervals, so he paced Vicky

I really enjoyed the sunshine, the great course and all the familiar faces. Good turnout from Porty - such a great crew Mike wanted to join in the team photo, taken by Cat M - many thanks.

1 comment:

  1. The Killin Fields ! very good ! hope you are spoiling Mary today !