Thursday, 5 August 2010

My first Ultra

It was a summer of volcanic ash cloud when my phone went,it was my training partner,Stuart
Gibson now living in Melbourne,wots happening,i said where are you as the call did not sound like it was coming from Oz, i'm in Glasgow visiting my parents and i am stuck due to the ash cloud, do you fancy a run tomorrow, sure i said, so next day i pick him up at 7 and we head out to Strathclyde park and during our run he tells me that he has just returned from a week in the desert after doing the MDS,wot i reply ,yep finished 11th and top Aussie (he's got dual nationality now), so we finish the run and Stuart tells me,all the details,inc photos and the medal,then before i know it its time to go.

A few nights later,a bottle of wine and surfing the web and i see the latest addition to the SUMS series,the Clyde Stride, the quote says (It also provides qualifying status to newbies (that's me) in the ultra scene who are looking to tackle longer Scottish ultras like the Montane Highland Fling and the West Highland Way Race),so the cheque was in the post, wot have i done!.

Next day i decide i need to take this serious after all my last Marathon was 1987(Glasgow) and i vowed never to return back to that distance until i was a vet(not the animal kind), but of course i am now 45 and doing nothing more than 10k distance along with the odd race at my club, i tell my self i have six weeks to see what i can do, how hard can it be?.

I start of sensible but think to myself on the first week, I'll throw in a three hour run,well help ma boab,I'm dying and end up walking back home after 2.20 on my feet, so i start using the old cliches no pain no gain,onwards and upwards,and all the crap that you use to gie your self a kick up the backside.

It's week 3 (time flies) and i start to feel better,i keep telling myself, your doing alright,by week 4 i throw in a 28 miler (Kirkie to the Falkik wheel) and again at the end i am dead on my feet, again i tell my self two weeks to go and then your on your holiday's, so i need to get the time on my legs up to 3:50 (that was my last marathon time) and then i stop for holiday.

On holiday i decide to throw in two weeks of light training and we'll see wot happens, so its back to 10k every day, as you can do much more in Florida without sweating buckets before i know it i am back home and on the countdown to the stride,so i rested all that week.


It's 7.30 and i decide i better move as registration opens soon, i have no idea what to expect, so i register and chuck my bag in the finish pile,have i done the right thing!,before i know i meet some guys i have run with in the past,John McLaughlin(we ran at Springburn Harriers) and Les Hill of Dumfries RC, so then we all listen to Lee explaining to the runners the low down and before i know it were off.

The first ten miles i settled in and think this is just fine,so i get chatting then before i know it we are approaching Strathclyde park,19 miles,still i am settled in a small group, then as i pass John Kennedy, who tells me keep working away your well up there,i think surely not,theres a lot of people out there who eat this distance for fun.we approach 30 miles and i decide to fill my hydration pack up when i get talking to Lucy Colquhoun briefly, she offers a bit of banana, but i say no thanks and continue on before i know it shes past me on a hill and disappears into the distance,i know i have not much left as my training only got me up to 30 miles,by 33 i am struggling, the last ten seems an eternity as i get passed twice, before i know it i can see the heritage site, by this time i am walking, i know its not far but i can't see the finish,then someone shouts keep left only a mile to go,well that was the nail in the coffin, i could hardly walk,never mind run,my thighs bursting at every step i went down,finally i get near the finish only to see more steps, i have a small moan,then i went for it crossing the line in 5.41 and finishing in 6th place, wot a feeling i got i could hardly stand, but inside i felt over the moon.i thought to myself this is better than club running and during my day i have met some great people on the route, this has given me a buzz do more (i am mad now) John Kennedy kindly offers me a lift home along with John McLauchlin and John Donnelly, I'll definitely be doing more.

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