Monday, 28 April 2014

That Fling Thing

There are not many people I would get out of my bed at 4am for but seeing as Johnny Fling asked so nicely how could I possibly say no?
There was a bit of a team change of plan so it was a party for one in Mrs Mac’s quad room at the Premier Inn.
Registration at the Burnbrae on the Friday evening was its usual hive of activity and nervous excitement. I really enjoy being part of the evening and catching up with old friends and new. It was marred slightly this year due to one individual intent on being a nuisance. Once I accepted his presence I just set Scott Wesley to work and it got better from there
on in ;-)
A couple of the Kirky Crazies were full of bubbling effervescence and lightened the atmosphere somewhat.

Eventually to bed and pleased to get about five hours kip before heading to registration check in for 4:45am. Charles Gordon and Andy Wilson were my trust drop bag collectors and made a damn fine job of squeezing everything in their motors. Chaz made every attempt to scupper the race brief by playing some pretty crap music really loud to drown out Johnny Flings dulcet tones.
More schmoozing for Mrs Mac and photo ops here there and everywhere.
And they’re off!! And it’s a leisurely drive to Rowarennan for the day. I stopped off at Balmaha so meet Big Davie the Polis’s new dug, Rebus. But the boy’s not had his jags so it was not to be. Enjoyed a big squeezy cuddle and watched BDTP do a spot of gardening and it was off to set up the camping kitchen for rolls n sausage.
The weather threatened to turn nasty, with dark brooding clouds topping Conic Hill. I felt for the runners who would shortly run through them.
I arrived and my two trusty sidekicks were already there setting out their stall. They were joined shortly thereafter by none other than the WHWR Royal couple, Mark & Geraldine. Two of my oldest race family friends. I made the brekki and set up the timing mat and we were joined by the rest of the crew. Three newbies from Ayr Seaforth, and Vicki O. A quick team meeting and the ubiquitous photie from Chaz and we were set for runners.

The day passed in a flash. The weather gods were on our side. A couple of notable points- red was the colour of choice this year, most people had read their instructions, mini buses are FAR too big to bring to CP2, it’s rude to talk back to marshalls who are only looking after runners safety, chasing after a man with a roll n sausage makes you look like a crazy woman, Chaz likes a selfie.
Everyone through safely and I was off to the finish for shift three of the day.
It took much longer than normal to get there; I missed having company of the drive. Who drives a trailer the whole way up the loch on a Saturday? Eejits. The finish area was buzzing and the bulk of full Flingers were just about to arrive. It was all hands on deck to ensure medals were awarded, chips removed and hugs delivered. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. It was an honour to spend the afternoon with Ellen, the Mummy of the Fling, Murdo who helped RD in the early days, along with the Royal couple and others.
I always feel inspired by the achievements of others, and feel proud to be the first person to congratulate them. I love the emotion of it all. I love to see the determination on faces as they sprint, limp, hobble or are practically carried on one occasion across the line.
As darkness fell we realised the 9pm finish would come and go. It was a long cold shift and I feel sad that there are so few people about to welcome the last runner’s home. They may not break any records but it doesn’t mean they have not achieved something incredible.

Chuffed to make the ceilidh this year. Packed is an understatement!! Full of Norwegians I believe. They seem to have had a nice time. Lots of happy smiley faces and alcohol fuelled country dancing. A nightcap at Paddy’s bar with some interesting karaoke tunes and a compare with questionable gender. Good banter from the usual suspects and bed.
It was all over for another year….until morning pack up time. It has been noted that Mr & Mrs Downie are marquee geniuses, and I need to get me one of those wee belt thingies. Scott Wesley rushed around looking busy and not doing much, I just did whatever Ada told me (well you would, wouldn’t you?) AND THE SUN SHONE BRIGHT.

Tired and worn out I set off home. I didn’t really want to as it was such a lovely day. I really enjoy being part of SUMS. It ticks so many of my boxes.
The Fling is the last of the races I can be so involved in this year til after Games time as its getting a bit nuts in Mrs Macs life right now.

A huge well done to Johnny Fling who while he has a band of volunteers, pretty much does all the back room stuff singlehandedly.
To Team Rowadrennan, you were fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for more. Calm under pressure. Cool in a crisis and a fine looking bunch ;-) Did any other checkpoint have bunting and square slice? I don’t think so ;-)

Monday, 16 December 2013

Carry On Cally Challenge


In a bid to resurrect this blog and to allow me to document the journey, I am kicking off with a bit of a sneaky one. Really its just a review of the last time. This time is likely to be vastly different but I am up for the Challenge!! If I can manage more than two posts between now and June 2014 I'll be doing well ;-)
 
Mrs Mac xx

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Supporting A Pirate

December 2012 with the aid of Dale Jamieson DW decides to set about doing some proper training. This is a bit of a revelation, as in all the time we've been together he's managed the sum total of three 20 mile training runs and reaching The Devils and 2 twenty mile training runs reaching Bridge of Orchy.
Most people will know that we met on this race. Our virgin years no less. Me a lowly marshal him a strapping London Fire Fighter. Well, being late for the checkpoint won't endear you to the marshal and most likely get kicked out the race, right? OK I was a soft touch and let him carry on. He finished that year. Supported by a bevy of equally strapping London Fire Fighters who had all been well bevied the night before. He has two more finishes under his belt to boot.

The training consisted of a mixed bag of running, core work and stretching. Christmas brought gifts of thera bands, foam roller and all sorts of weird and wonderful accessories mentioned in the 'Plan'

Winter turned to spring and the training continued. Long runs on days off and rendezvous with Martin Hooper the Para Trooper were regular occurrences. Things were looking good. The occasional bout of dodgy back weren't a great worry as there was loads in the bank already.
My birthday celebrations got in the way of training for a bit. But if motivation was needed it was about to kick in with boots on. The night of my 40th bash (thank you everyone) I had a guest of honour. Fiona Rennie had only recently been discharged from hospital following surgery to treat her cancer. That night she asked DW if he would wear her number on race day. Mild panic set in and to say he was apprehensive doesn't come close. Fiona is a legend in her own lifetime and a very good friend. Motivation? Absolutely. Pressure to succeed? you betcha. That was just me, DW had to do the running. I felt it was my responsibility to look after him to the best of my ability to ensure that he hit that leisure centre door.
D33 had proved tough, and DW was disappointed that the training didn't appear to be paying off. For him an equally disappointing performance at the Fling. All the while I could see how much better he was coping after these big races. He was defiantly fitter and while not happy with himself I could see there was a positive difference.
Andy Dubois joins the team and an updated plan and constant stream of advice flows from Down Under.
The plan is coming together.
In the taper period, following a family wedding, a reduction in caffeine and alcohol and an increase in sleep is promised. Not all achieved but at least attempted.
Day of the race should be drama free, but this is DW's race tale and anyone who knows him will attest that drama follows him around. The original support vehicle proves too small for 3 strapping fire fighters. A 6 foot 2 man mountain, Mrs Mac, Mini Me and Mason Dog. Race bus is hired and he doesn't know this but nearly didn't make it coz I couldn't find my part 2 :-)
Hoopers arrive from London and set up home for a couple of hours. I depart to collect 2 support crew, one of whom is delayed as someone has jumped in front of his train.

No wine fuelled lunch as there has been in the past and it's off to bed for a couple of hours. No wine was a mistake as he just tossed and turned for 2 hours. Two of the crew has nipped off down the boozer and as we loaded the bus they were nowhere to be seen.

Finally fully loaded we arrive at Milngavie, register, weigh in and say our hellos. Fiona and Pauline meet us in the car park and hand over a wee gift to be shared with Dario. They have pirate hat's and badges. I am touched (so is DW)

And they're off.
Good progress is made through the first few checkpoints....ahead of time. We had a plan this year!! I was beginning to feel more settled as I could see just how well he was doing. On approach to Rowardennan I knew something wasn't right. Time was slipping back and I began to worry for the first time that day. Martin Hooper arrived first ' his back is done in, he's in a bad way' I walked out to see him. Taking painkillers with me. Sooner than expected I met up with him, not as bad as I was expecting, but not a happy bunny. Patched up and sent off to be met at BGF. A Wee half was shared with Dario and although tired DW and Martin seemed in good spirits. We headed to Auchtertyre, met up with my family who man the checkpoint and set up for their arrival. Weighed in and I get a shock, a significant amount of weigh has been lost. We look at each other that look that goes unsaid that we both knew it wasn't good. Tried to feed him up here and agreed to meet at Brodies. Looking a bit grey by now. As I walked up the hill (at the top) he asked does no one want to run with me?? Bloody hell they were champing at the bit but didn't want to impose. I sprinted back down to crew yelling he wants you to catch him up!! Frantic change of clothes and Egan is off up the hill like a rat up a drain pipe.

BoO and four of them cross the bridge. It makes me smile to see them coming over the brow. We are ready, only just. I had spilled all the dinner that Darrell had loving prepared, from scratch I may add all over the road. I hung my head in shame and promptly scooped it back into the pot. DW was looking forward to real mash and gravy.....but someone put butter in it.....not good for the lactose intolerant one :-( Lactofee custard and baby food go down a treat but I fear it's not enough.
I was right to be worried. In and out of Vicky Bridge and off to Glen Coe. Gear was all set up and ready to go, but coming in 15 mins ahead of time put us on the back foot. A planned 10 minute kip was on the cards. A quiet kip was wished for, but the speed of his arrival meant trying to sort kit and be quiet. Not really doable is it? It was here that the earlier problems of too much weigh loss and dehydration began to kick in. Cue an hour and a half of vomiting. At this point and on any other day I would have pulled him there and then. But he was wearing number 2. Fiona can't quit so how can he? Sweepers hung around.....waiting. They must have been getting cold. I asked someone to shift them from the van it wasn't doing morale any good. Darrell was pretty diplomatic I think. Just before midnight they were off. Met at Kingshouse, and looking better. And at the foot of the Devils, again better and making good time. Food was of the menu now. I instructed Egan to make him drink.

KLL, it's the first time I've been there for my boy. Last year it was the point where Martin has to end his race. It felt odd being back. Had a power nap in the bus. Then did quite a bit of faffing getting all manner of things ready to try and force feed him something. By now the time was really slipping. I just stood at the door looking skyward having a conversation in my head with Dario. 'Just get him here safely, I'll do the rest.' George Reid texted. 'It's going to be tight, but he can do it'. It lifted me to know that George and Karen were with him. The sweepers were doing a great job, But G & K really know him, what makes him tick. Another text, 'I don't think he wants it any more'. I sobbed, quietly, looking to the sky and wishing him here. A sudden rush when Karen and Rhona arrived in a flurry. False alarm. An endless wait and then at seconds after 5 George appears around the bend. A very emotional few minutes and he's here with me in the centre. He is tired but appears well, surprisingly well. He sits chatting to those around us while we fuss and try to feed him. No soup, no, roll, no custard. I know that coffee and coke are not enough. He wants to continue. My heart is beating out of my chest. Partly from coffee but apprehension mainly. Me, Egan and Darrell walk with him to the edge of the village and set him off up the trail. I cant believe it, it's actually happening. He's done it. Before we left he said to me, 'I'm not there yet'.

Darrell and I packed up and drove to Lundavra. I'd never been there before. By now I was following Mrs Hooper as Martin had quite a lead on DW. As we approached the checkpoint at 6.30 am my phone rang. DW face was staring back at me from the screen. My heart sank. I told him to keep his phone off during the race to avoid any calls about, work, life, or someother external shit that would mess with his head during the race. I knew it wasn't going to be good news. 'Im at the top of the hill, I can't carry on. Come back for me please' I asked only once, are you sure. Not that I didn't think that he wasn't but that I need to ask for myself. The bus was silent as we drove back to KLL. We waited a the spot where a couple of hours previous we'd sent them off full of hope. Got DW stripped and packaged up into a sleeping bag and eventually made it to the leisure centre. Taking the chip tag inside to withdraw him was very emotional. So many people asking how he was doing. He gave everything he had. Everything and more. I was gutted for him. We all were. Are. I saw Fiona, I'm embarrassed to say I couldn't speak to her straight away.

I left him sleeping for a while, but soon enough it was time for Martin. I was very proud to see him finish and DW stood clapping his big mate as he crossed the line. More emotion (tears!!!)
Fiona gifted him a beautiful hip flask for carrying her number for her. Something I know he will treasure. I'm sure we'll be making a visit to Darios post soon and it will be filled to the brim with something suitable.

He says he's finished with the race, Well if I have my way he's got at least one more go left in him. Not next year, I've got the small matter of the Commonwealth Games to attend to. But maybe 2015. Martin Hooper says he'll be back. And Egan....they'll be supporting him!!
One more go. No parties, no boozy lunches and no all day cooking sessions. You owe it to yourself David Waterman xox

Monday, 28 November 2011

Out The Door

When the most motivational comment your other half/coach comes up with amounts to
 ‘get a move on woman!!’ it’s never gonna happen now is it? Really?
Not in my lifetime.
Today I gleaned what might be thought of as some very obvious advice. Well it might be obvious to those who have endless mojo or get up and go, but this girl’s mojo got up and went a long long time ago. The advice? Do something you enjoy. So I did!!

Today I went for a run. A run on a route I know very well. A route full of great memories, the best.

I had been toying with the idea of some sort sharp stair reps at the local war memorial, and highest point of the town. A sort of wake up call for my body. It has gone pretty much unused as I sit at home endlessly filling in online job applications and generally getting more and more miserable. That however would not be enjoyable in the slightest, so it was off to the Specks I trotted.
Within minutes I was up to my ankles in muck and sheep shit, and I was giggling and laughing away to myself. It fair took my mind off how much it might hurt. Down the hill, over the river and back up the other side. It took all my skills as a figure skater to stay up right. The recent storms had turned the yard into a quagmire, up to my knees this time. Negotiated the hill, the one my o/h beasted me up last year, just before proposing!! I enjoyed trying to keep my feet dryish on the top of the loop and eventually gave up all hope on the descent to the waterfall. Ah, the waterfall. It looked magnificent today, full of power and at the same time had me mesmerised with its beauty. I ditched any plans to recover the geocache hidden down there. I have two failed attempts already; today I may have been washed down river. A slip sliding effort to reach the road and it was just a short jog back home.

It wasn’t big, or clever and I will really have to stop comparing my piddly little efforts to those of the crazy arsed friends I choose to hangout with.
I had fun today. Took bit of bullying from you know who to get me out the door, but I’m glad it worked….this time.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Geez a joab

I’m glad this isn’t a running blog, coz I’m not a runner. I’m not even the president of a running club anymore. But I am still a marshall, support crew dude and race organiser.
I’m also fatter than the Christmas goose coz……..I’ve been doing no bloody running.

It’s a vicious circle. I’m down and have no enthusiasm, so don’t run. Feeling crap coz I’m getting no exercise…..blah blah I know it’s old and boring, but life’s pretty hectic right now.

In 16 days time I’m out of a job. I am one of the 1000’s of people affected by the massive cuts in public sector funding. I work for an organisation that support people living in poverty to tackle issues in their life which make them unhealthy. It’s an organisation which won the Scottish Health Award at the end of 2010, and still our vital service has been lost. Sounds like a great plan eh?

Not to worry. I’ve got a degree, shed loads of experience and a guid Scots tongue in my heid. I’ll walk straight into something new and exciting, right? Wrong. After untold applications and speculative cv’s sent I’ve had one interview for a job eight grand less than I’m on now with zero responsibility and after making me travel 400 miles on an expensive journey for a second interview they still didn’t give me the job.

Stressed? You betcha.
My car died, they want a grand to patch it back up.
My auntie is ill in hospital after having had a brain tumour removed.
My other half thought it would be a great idea to rescue a mutt from the pound.

But do you know what? I’ve got all that off my chest now.
We’re having a party in a few weeks, I’ll have my dream job when the time is right and I have a great fella, family and friends encouraging me at every turn. I’ve got a pal who offered me a job being chief cake tester at her firm.
Sounds like my kinda job :)

Change isn’t scary. Is it?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Back in the Game

Well, it looks like I’ll need to stock up on ProPlus and super strength coffee as the Subversive Runner has had his Patella Reflex Reactionitis repaired and is back in the race. I’m glad to hear Stan the man has confirmed that there is a place still available as I might have found my self at a very loose end one weekend in June.

So, I’ve been around the race for a few years now and learned lots and met some great characters along the way. I’m honored to be doing support with a couple of great guys again this year. We will however be without the fabulous Chris Jenner who is off to fish or some other poofy activity. Me and my name sake Lee Byatt bonded last year, so much so he quickly realised that his roll was to wash pots in the river while I got my head down :)

A new team member for 2011 is the magnificent David Ross, a fellow Strathaven Strider and all round good guy. I have the feeling that a WHWR attempt will be on the cards for him in the very near future. When the Subversive Runners engagement with the race was confirmed this week he informed him by text that ‘he’ll be there to beast him over the Devils’ Fantastic, as this means I neither need to do dishes nor run as I’ve got two strapping blokes for that. So my job will be to mop brows and apply Vaseline to places that don’t normally see the light of day, tell him how brilliantly he’s doing and generally swan around chatting to friends.

His job?……..start at Milngavie and don’t stop 'til Dino gives him a kiss in fort William.
Sounds easy right? I better make sure I fuel the car this year as it takes more than a ¼ tank for the WHWR……oops.

See ya’ll in June
Hasta luego

Monday, 10 January 2011

Wheels Fell Off

I tried, honestly I tried really hard. Some night’s at 11.55pm I got out the door. In all that horrible icy, snowy mayhem we had, I still managed my 25 minutes or three miles. I was proud of ditching lunch to run on the Clyde Walk Way, much to the amusement of my colleagues. I was a proper smug runner type.

Then it happened the bloody wheels came off good and proper. It was Christmas Day…..oh I ran on Christmas Day but the Pirate surprised the living daylights outta me by proposing as we stood taking pictures of a rather pretty waterfall. To say I’m chuffed to bits is a huge understatement. I’m thrilled, delighted, cock a hoop, the list goes on. I still sit and look at the rather beautiful sparkly ring on my finger (which he picked all by himself btw) as smile contentedly. Folk are getting a bit bored of me asking if “they’ve seen what I got for my Christmas?”

The upshot being Marcothon was an epic FAIL. ¾’s isn’t too bad but I really wanted to do it. We had to drive back to London on Boxing Day, then himself and the wean were ill with the lurgy so it was nursmaid 1 Marcothon nil. I’ll just need to get my finger out and sign up for some other crazy challenge.

Any suggestions?


I’m busy sorting out this years Clyde Stride, which has recently achieved Qualifying Event status for the UTMB. Entries are coming in, daily emails and phone calls keeping me on my toes. Looks like I’ve lost my co-pilot as a certain hide and seek champ has been promised a place and I returned the favour by appointing a sweeper :)

Well done to everyone who completed Marcothon and all those who have set their goals and targets for 2011.
Me? I’ve a goal to get back to Skye this summer. Spend some time on the WHW and try and run a bit more.

Did you see what I got for my Christmas?

Mrs Mac xx