Sunday, 28 June 2009

Put To Bed

That’s it official.
My adventures on the West highland Way are over for another year.
Ian & Allybea have had the BBQ so that’s it put to bed.
I don’t have any connection to the Devils so after the Fling, the Cally and the WHW race I’m done. Quite literally!!
Didn’t get out my bed ‘til gone 12 o’clock today. Partly down to an absent Subversive Runner blethering down the phone wanting a blow-by-blow account of the afternoon’s proceedings.

I arrived, eventually, after my sat-nav decided the Beatties house didn’t exist and my back up sat-navs’ DQ & CB gave me duff directions. It took the intervention of the WHW Runner himself to guide me home.
As I had been charged with delivering the remaining goblets to the BBQ my attendance was vital. Great to see all the usual suspects and actually have the time to catch up. I brought a bottle of “Pink Bubbles” as Dino and I have been dreaming about them for weeks. Corned Beef did the gentlemanly thing and popped the cork for us and toasted us in to the bargain. I said a few words of apology from the absent SR who was unable to attend due to a mixture of James Bond duties and the possibility of infecting us all with Swine flu.

Party was in full swing and general merriment making was done.
Dino and I put the world to rights, as usual.
Spent ages explaining “how does that work then?” …..400 miles isn’t really THAT far. Lots of chat about who’s running next year, who’s taking a break but will marshal, who’s taking a break from marshalling but might run and a newly formed crack backup team who are looking for a runner. Carpeted van included!!

Great to see wee baby Cairn, who aint so wee any more. I think he had been at the burgers before I arrived. Glad to see that DQ #2 had almost normal shoes on, but I’m sure there was some poly bag action going on there. Tell you what though, they were nothing compared to his missus shoes. That girl’s got class. Top girl Mrs Pacepusher.

Food was fantastic, Allybea is an angel. Supported by Jean and George, of course, proving indeed that “you can’t do it without backup”. Ian did say that George’s contract was a weeklong one and it didn’t stop when the running did he he he.
Those caramel cupcakes were blinding.

I have to say though that the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time was JK putting up his tent. Now, Sharon Laws fella had theirs up in jig time and there was one “prepared earlier” so John made a start. He seemed to be at it for a long time when Allybea came in to the kitchen announcing, “John has put his tent up INSIDE OUT, everyone come and watch him lol!”
God love him, the poor bloke must have felt like a caged animal in the zoo with people pointing and laughing and taking pictures.
Got there in the end though with a little help from Neal (DQ #2) Pacepusher.

I think Dino is on commission from the Connemara Marathon. She spent quite sometime singing it’s praises and encouraging the troops that it could be nice wee get together next year. Sounded great till she mentioned it was 4 quid a pint. Now I know I’m Scottish and all that but I’m not that much of a skinflint. I do however have a subversive runner as my other half and you know how much he loves a drop of the black stuff!! Lets just say, we’ll see Dino.

Crazy George and Ian B had a long chat about their next adventure; I think it’s their 600th ultra this year. It might as well be, bam pots the pair of them. And there was a bit of chat about the River Ayr Way, which is coming up in September.

Then before I knew it, it was time to leave. By then I didn’t want to go and I was sorely tempted to take up the offer of a spare tent. I had however another engagement to attend and had to head south to the Glasgow Toon.

So, we talk a lot about the WHW family, yesterday confirmed, if it was needed, the true extent of it. I was a little concerned about being on my own. I needn’t have worried. I was made to feel at home and wrapped in the security blanket that is the West Highland Way Race Family.

Thank you one and all.

Mrs Mac xox

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

There's gonna be weather

Memories from a Race Marshal (beware! this post is huge!!)

This was always going to be a strange one for me.
Over the years I’ve gotten to know quite a number of WHW family members pretty well. Quite a few I would even regard as friends. In the beginning it was a great buzz anticipating the arrival of fellow Strathaven Striders to my checkpoint, now the list is massive. It feels like I cuddle at least half the field. Who said marshalling didn’t have its perks?

This time however I had one Subversive Runner to consider. There was some discussion as to whether I’d be allowed to abandon my duties in favour of attending to the Subversive ones every whim. I decided though that I wasn’t quite ready for surviving the testosterone fuelled toxic mix of half a dozen London Firemen and a white van!! I may be tough but I’m not THAT tough.

So, this year I have a bit of a split personality. Part marshal, part backup, and part party planner. At one stage I was doing all three at once.

This year would be my first time at the start of the Race. I normally spend the Friday night plotted up in the Wigwams wi ma Maw and a bottle of the finest grape juice we can find.
9.00pm Railway Station car park Milngavie
I get there at a silly time, as I’ve had to collect the remaining goblet delivery from the supplier in East Kilbride, just along the road from me.
SR is en route from Fort Bill where he has ditched the crew to collect the scales from Dr Chris. I arrive with my two bairns all excited and in plenty of time. He is stressed to the eyeballs, as he got lost near Drymen.

Registration over and try to get him to go for a wee sleep, but he’s like a cat on a hot tin roof.
I really enjoyed the buzz in the car park; even my 15-year-old son was getting right into the spirit of it all.

Meet up with DQ who is his usual chirpy self and after spending 10 minutes winding my wean up about boyfriends we head back outside to blether with Corned Beef, Ian & Angela Rae, Jon Steel and his mate and a host of other well kent faces.
Bump into a couple of guys from the Striders and discover that Irene Wilson has worked her magic again and convinced two unsuspecting club mates that the WHWR is the business. David Ross and Ewan are doing backup for a guy they’ve never met or even spoken too. They wander round the car park looking for a guy “with a yellow hat on”. How in gods name does she does it?

SR is getting a bit flappy. The van load of London’s finest fire-fighters are in no rush to reach the start line and with another runners kit to be packed he starts to wander round muttering to himself, I never knew there were so many expletives. Told the children to cover their ears and never to repeat anything they heard coming out of SR’s mouth.

12.30an Race briefing
Now I understand how people get confused. Mr Race Director stands in a car park wi a skirt on and shouts down a megaphone and still no one can hear. There were quite a few naughty boys giggling and laughing nervously amongst themselves as he spoke.
Lord of the Bridge took over and uttered the quote of the weekend for me. “Let me talk about weather -you’re gonna encounter some out there” Pure quality man.

And they’re off. We stood on the embankment on the south side and watched as the runners all disappeared into the tunnel and they’re gone.

Knowing I had an early start and a busy checkpoint. SR had asked if I would see him at one stop before hearing to Auchtertyre. The stop was Beech Tree. Now as you know my challenge was north to south so I’m not familiar with the early checkpoints. So he said “just follow the van”. Hmmmmmm that would be fine if I didn’t have a load of gear to collect for my checkpoint. By the time I was finished with the Lord of the Bridge the car park was empty. And I mean EMPTY. I hadn’t even paid attention to the general direction of the departing traffic. There I was a lonely figure with two sleepy kids at 1.35am stranded in Milngavie. Totally lost, my son typed Tyndrum into the sat nav and I headed north. I pulled over in a lay-by and blubbed as I text to say we wouldn’t be there. I had failed in the one and only thing he asked of me.

3am arrived at the wigwams and sorted the children out for a night sleeping in the car.
Woke up 3 and half hours later and managed to untangle myself from where the sleeping bag got caught in the steering wheel.
A quick shake down and I was off to meet Murdo Mc at Carmyle Cottage with some barrier tape he was promised. Arrived with my jammie trousers still on and didn’t even feel silly.

Back for a quick shower and it was time to set up our checkpoint. I have to thank the kindly gents who assisted my Maw and me with putting up the Eco Tent. You may have noticed the large white canopy with Strathaven Striders splashed up the side. I was quite a feat to erect but we got there in the end. It came into its own when we had three sports therapists to house too.

Really busy checkpoint as usual. Recruited an extra couple of helpers in the form of my Aunt and Uncle. Auld Chris (uncle) did a sterling job with directing the traffic, so much so he’s already booked time off next year. My kids are old hands at it now. Wee Hannah Mac is the tattie queen.

Great to meet a bunch of new people and I apologies if I was a bit distracted. Soooooooo many people congratulated Mum and I on our Cally. Loads of people I didn’t even recognise. Sorry Mrs Pacepusher, but you look different in the flesh ;-)
Thank you all.

Some people were moving too fast to stop for blether, but they didn’t escape the SCALES!!! Some people forgot it was a race and bleathered for ages. I was in the car when I heard the unmistakeable voice of Big Davie the Polis. I just had to go and say hello.

I got permission to abandon my post to track down the Pirate. It had been such a long time since I’d seen him and I had failed miserably by not being at Beech Tree. Also during our phone chats he sounded really down so I really wanted to see him. Came in to my checkpoint and got weighed in a fanfare of pirate hats. All family had donned them in his honour. Bloomin funny. Then handed him over to the crew.

Before I knew it he was off and so were we. Stopped of at BOO for 10 mins followed by a tea break at Kingy. Then off to Fort Bill for a couple hours shut eye. My sis in law Arlene and I were manning the finish from midnight til 6am. And my bro, Chris was sweeping from Kingy at 11.30. Drove him back there and hoped that I might catch the Pirate and The Hooperman there before I left. Only a chance conflab with Dot and Hils, marshals, led me to them in the back of the van. They had made great time since they left me at Auchtertyre. Shared a coffee and the pirate had a wee forty winks on my lap. Sorry if this is a bit soppy but it was nice to have a wee bit of time before knowing they were off up the Staircase. Bro was primed the Pirate and the Hooperman had to finish come what may and he was to boot them in the b*ll*cks if need be.
Raced back to Fort Bill to relive Mum. She had stepped in for me for a bit. Just as well!!! About 20 runners finished in a very short space of time (all trying for sub 24) and the poor doctor doing the bloods was overwhelmed. Add to the mix an ill runner and you can imagine the chaos. Luckily Mum is the gaffer at the blood transfusion service donor suite and jags folk for a living. I think she’s just talked herself back in to a nightshift stint next year.

Great to see DQ, Corned Beef, and Big Stoo etc when I came on shift. Not so good being sworn to secrecy re CB hair brained idea to continue up to Inverness. To say I was slightly concerned is an understatement. Panic set in when I realised he still had a tracker and it wouldn’t be a secret for much longer. All came good in the end though, Crazy Aussie Well done CB.

The night passed quickly and we were soon heading back for a couple hours of shuteye. Got word that the boys had left Lundavra. So got ourselves together and headed back to the finish. Was sorry to have missed the twins and big Davie the polis finishing.
Before long I couldn’t contain it any longer. Standing about was winding me up. Headed out the path towards Braveheart. Just before reaching it I happened upon man mountain Big Al escorting one tired Pirate. I thought it strange that he kept asking how far we had to go. Given that he has been on the Way so many times. As we reached the houses he decided he wanted to run. This is the ONLY time I have ever been quicker than him. As we approached the centre I saw all the crew, my family and lots of our friends. It was really emotional and quite a reception. Even people in the houses were cheering. He was filmed as he ran in, and I held back. As I entered the centre he was necking a rather large half that the Race daddy had offered. At this point tiredness and a rollercoaster of emotions took over and I blubbed AGAIN. What is it with this bloody race it makes me cry all the time. I was just so pleased that he was home safe and managed to banish the demons of last years DNF. Time is immaterial.

So, a strange one? Yes it was. But definitely the best so far.
And what of next year? A marshal, backup, party planner? Who knows? But I can tell you this it wont be long before the plans start all over again. The Pirate has more to give, he’ll be back, but maybe next year I will enforce an early to bed rule.

And what of the post race party. Well I enjoyed myself. A wee bit more sleep deprived than I would have liked. But a nice meal followed by a few drinkeys is always good. Glad to hear Jody has forgiven me for making him stop longer than planned at Auchtertyre. Even though he had no idea it was actually ME.
Glad too to hear that Dave is not the only one to need help with his pants. Sonic, your secrets safe with me;-)
Loving DQ’s new bag. Had a laugh with Jeff whatshis name fae Ireland re phoning his granny last year. A bit gutted that I missed Debbie MC and Sharon trying to make the Pirate dance but getting robotics in return

Two weekends, two versions of the WHW, too knackered for anything.

Thanks to everyone who made this weekend what it is. I truly do feel like I have an extended family.

Mrs Mac x

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Up for it?

Slightly delayed, I know. But it has taken me all this time to get my hands on the laptop. A certain pirate fireman has taken over my house in the last week with promises of cutting grass, fixing a wee girlys bike and general home making duties. Any of them get done, did they chook.
Quite a lot of blogging has gone on though, none of it by me you'll notice.

Anyway, I ramble.
The Cally Challenge.DONE!!
What a way to spend a Saturday, fan-bloody-tastic.
Probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But in a strange way also the best.

Preparations began in a 'subversive' manner. I've been hanging out with this geezer too much me thinks.
Arrived in Fort Bill early evening, with plenty time to spare before registration.
Only one stop on the road north for a pint at Murphy’s Bar in Tyndrum. Only a coffee for me as I was driving from there onwards. The pirate and my Da were dancin around like a couple of schoolboys let out of school early.
Booked in the hotel and off up the High Street for some tea (dinner)
Ben Nevis Bar, venue for the WHWR apr├Ęs drinkys was devoid of red wine, so a quick one was downed and off in search of some grape juice.
Found, 1, 2 maybe 3 glasses later it was time to meet with the rest of the 'Team'
Walked to the Leisure centre to meet them. No sign?!? Hmmmmmm I wonder why? As we soon discovered we were at the wrong venue. Oops. Phoned a taxi to take us to the high school to discover that that too was not the venue. Arrived only 2 mins late at the Nevis Centre, and think we managed to bluff our way through registration with out our 2 team mates realising we were shall we say, a bit pissed?
Another glass of vino callapso and off to bed at 10.30. Perfect preparation for "The Walk of My Life"

6am.... awake.....bing. Feels good, weather outside is foul. Proper dreich.
Breakfast scoffed and off to the start line in Gairlochy. Only 1 support vehicle allowed in the official car park. So I wont ask how the Pirate managed to be there to see us off.

10am Team Strathaven Stragglers are off!!
Tony T, my Da and Subversive runner wave us off with smiles on their faces and thoughts of now where is the pub?
Cut to about 2hrs and 1min later and the trio are flapping about coz we arrived to soon!!! That will be the first and last time that will happen lol.
First 8-mile section is totally flat. Following the towpath along the Caledonian Canal before going along the main road to the high school.
Amazing organisation by the event team. Brilliant set up. I seem to remember making my own sandwich at this checkpoint. My feet were attended to with expert precision. Bag was packed with lots of goodies and we were sent off on our merry way.

Next section was strange. Through a housing scheme for a few miles before heading up a track and into hills. Up up up up WTF I forgot about the hills. Through the woods and we managed to have a couple of wee runs through here. The crowds of people had been preventing us from doing so before now.
Reached Lundavra, not a checkpoint but a drink station and blue porta loos. We had been told at registration to refrain from taking a pee in the bushes and use the loos where possible. Funny as!

Off we go again heading for Kinlochleven. I was quite excited about this as I've never been there and was thinking about my wee race princess buddy being holed up there next weekend.
That was a long bloody stretch. I'm so glad we have insider knowledge in our support crew, coz when I called and said 'we're coming round a bend' I was told ' that bend goes on for evvvvvver' When you know to expect something it is less of a hassle or so I thought.

Arrived at Kinlochleven feeling fantastic. Really buzzing. Our support was well in to their stride by now. We had a three-course dinner, feet treated expertly again and I remember a wee rub on my shoulder. Left feeling up for it. Warned that the next section was tough, and near vertical at the start.
Ok, so I knew what to expect, shouldn’t be a shock then. OMG how wrong was I. up up up up up up. Jesus, thank the lord for poles. It was much tougher than I was expecting. Mum was having a bit of a rough patch, she had felt great and put a spurt on and taken too much out of her self. It was at this point we pretty much lost touch with our 2 teammates. We were coming up the back of Devils Staircase when we had the only rain of the whole event. About 20 mins worth. We got pretty wet, but we were so lucky. We had been warned that thunderstorms were highly likely and torrential downpours would accompany them. Oh joy. Very lucky I know.

Top of the Devils about 10.30 pm ish. Blinding, totally worth it. I think I have a vid on my phone. Took a min to take it all in, as I really wanted to enjoy it and remember the experience. Call the support to advise them on our position to be told they were just leaving the Clachaig after watching a crackin band. Eh, and here was me thinking they were here for us.
We could see the next checkpoint all lit up in that distance, but knew it was a good distance away. Crack on down the Staircase and Mum and I are giggling like schoolgirls. Really enjoying it now, but remembered we were supposed to stop at the top for a snack. Big mistake.
Just as we get to the bottom I empty some gravel from my shoe, and as I go to head off, I head over and fall on my hip. My full length head first doon the hill. Stung a bit but I was ok. A lovely gent heard the commotion and check I was ok. My Maw put her nursey hat on and made me take a minute.
Met up with Anne and Lorna (team-mates) at the drink station briefly before heading to Kingshouse.

Support had stopped there for another 'pint'
Told them to wait there for us, and had a great section along the roman road. Walked a bit too quick and realised we hadn’t eaten in 4.5 hours. Arrived at Kingy bursting with energy and burstin for a pee.
Mum started to feel really sick so we dumped all our stuff apart from water and headed for the White Corries checkpoint. 34 miles, 12.30am. The last bit up that hill was torture for her.
I had some soup, really wanted malt loaf but couldn’t manage to chew it. Sorry Dave.
Mum lay down on a thermareast and got wrapped up. Dad and Dave were really worried about her. Talk of pulling her out. I said ' give here 10 mins, she'll be fine' She couldn’t manage the chicken soup she was longing for. Tea with 20 sugars, chocolate and any number of jellybeans later and she was good to go!! I know that our lack of training may take its toll, but my Mum is the most determined person I know.

Off over the Moor at 1.15am. I'm afraid to say I didn’t ever realise we were on "Rannoch Moor". It holds mysterious place in my head, I had visions of a vast expanse blah blah. It was dark, I had a head torch on and I had taken some painkillers, which do strange things to me. Maybe not the best idea I ever had.
I did make a point of trying to enjoy this bit. Looking back over my shoulder and watching for daylight coming was nice. The silhouette of the mountains was beautiful. I was just a wee bit spaced out.

Middle of nowhere these lights appear. Scout association guys manning a drink station. Like knights on horseback. God love them, I was grateful to see them. Took a cup of high five and it was magic. Commented that it tasted great to be laughed at. Apparently I was the only person to say it.

Somehow we managed to get to Vicky Bridge. This was a big feeding station, as our support weren't allowed to meet us there. There were quite a few cars though. Got a text from Tony to say our teammates were cracking on. Felt pretty tired, but it was daylight now and I was hungry. Mmmmmmmm that looks like a big pot of soup. Oh my mistake. At the back of 4 in the morning we had the choice of chilli, or mushroom stroganoff (sp) eh maybe not. Large plate of jam rolly polly and custard and a hot choc. I'm not sure I'll ever get the hang of what to eat during an ultra event.

Quite a few people dropping out at this point. This was the silver medal point.
Just as we left I caught sight of a vision in Lycra. One subversive runner, magic!!
So, no support allowed eh? Well this lot didn’t account for us having a crack team of elite ultra runners for back up who could get into the tightest spots. Just what we needed. We were tired, but sill quite a way to go. We got bullied up that hill towards Bridge of Orchy. Not even allowed to stop and marvel at the deer in our path. Just as well. Time was getting a bit tight, and we were gubbed.
A quick stock up and strip off of kit at B of O and we were off again.

Starting to get quite warm again, need to keep drinking and warned to keep eating the jellybeans. We bleathered quite a bit as we rose up towards Tyndrum. But time was becoming quite a concern. There was a horrible bit where we went under the railway through what felt like a drain, and then quite a steep bit. My legs were done. Glad of the poles again. At the top though I got my 2nd or 3rd or 4th wind. Felt strong again and running was in order.

I was really hoping Dave was on his way up to meet us, the encouragement was needed. But he called saying he was in the car park :-( but that Karen D and Big George were coming up to meet us. Yeee haaa this was a fantastic boost. Surge of energy and we were off like a rocket, ok more like damp squibs but you get the picture.
Seeing the guys coming up the hill was magic, the fact my Da and Dave were there to made it double special. There I am introducing everyone when we are close to the 24hour golden hour. Was quite emotional. Got shot of a load of gear at Brodies store and the Subversive one sent us packing across the road shouting 'RUN THE WHOLE WAY' tube!! Who invited him? This was the hardest 2.5 miles of my life. Really hot, and burstin for a pee. It's like bloody Sauchiehall Street out there.

Last 3/4 of a mile we came in with the guys. Was really nice. As we passed under the road on approach to the Wigwams it took all my will to stop my self from blubbing.
Tony T appeared with his camera and told us the girls arrived half an hour before us.
Mum and I held hands and each other as we approached the finish. Even managed a sprint finish. 23 hours 27 mins and 50 seconds.

We did it!!!!
Couldn’t hold back the blubbing any longer. The tears came and I didn’t really have the energy to stop them. Cuddled Mum really tight. So proud of her, Dad and Dave too. Couldn’t have done it without them.

Before that day the furthest I had ever gone on my feet at the one time was 20 miles. The thing that got me round was the knowledge that all I had to do was keep putting one foot in front of the other. One step closer. Yes it was hard, yes I was tired but I chose to do it. I had my Dad with me every step of the way, and the memory of what he battled last year make my battle a walk in the park.

I can't thank Dad and Dave enough for everything they did for us troopers to the last.
Fantastic experience, not to be repeated anytime soon. I will however plan to do something. I'll just need to be careful in my choice.

Thank you to everyone who called, text, emailed, facebooked messages of good luck and encouragement it was a great lift to hear them when the going was tough.

So good luck to you all in 24 hours time we'll be in Milngavie waiting for the off. And it starts all over again.

Mrs Mac x

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Gala Day Tapering

It's the back of eight on a Saturday night. I'm home alone, no kids and I'm sitting at my laptop blogging. How sad.
Well that's how things go when yer bloke is out working playing at being James Bond and is too far away to come home for his dinner.

This time next week I hope to be nearly half way through my Caledonian Challenge. For 24 hours I'm going to be (to quote Keith Hughes) a p***k with a stick. Well do you know what......I'll be glad of my sticks, I think they will be mental and physical crutch for me what with all the grief I've had with my back.

I have been introduced to a new concept in the last few days; tapering. Now I have never been involved with anything remotely long enough that requires taper. To me its something to light your candles with.
Training has not gone anywhere near to plan, and I feel like I'm cramming for my exams. I spent weeks last year telling my 2nd year development students that there was no point staying up to 4am trying to squash in that last bit of theory, and here I am almost doing the exact same thing. That was of course before the voice of reason chucked his two peneth in. I know, I know it's hard to believe but the Subversive Pirate does know a thing or two about training. So, my Maw and Me binned the idea of 25 miles on the trails around Cairn Table and opted for a leisurely 14 in and around the villages and towns adjacent to Strathaven. What we didn't account for was the fact that Gala Day season is now upon us and as we reached the 30 mph sign in Stonehouse the pipe band struck up to mark our arrival at the half way point. We walked headlong into the oncoming parade of floats and fancy dressed school kids.
It was a crackin day though. Much cooler than last week but damn windy.

So that's it, training is all done. No point worrying about it now. Still got a wee bit of fund raising to do, but we have until the end of July so should be ok. On that note I received a donation today in the post from someone who I'll not name here, as I wouldn't want to embarrass him, but I would like to thank him for his generosity. It's greatly appreciated, you know who you are.

So to all you serious mentalists taper like it's going out of fashion. I'll see you all in two weeks where you'll be champing at the bit and I'll be trying to walk without looking like I've done something in my trousers ;-)

Mrs Mac x

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Tick tock tick tock

Oh my, its been such a long time since I posted.
It has been commented upon on more than one occasion.
My problem is two fold; I like to have a wee think about what I'm gonna write about, and while I'm doing it have a wee nose at everyone else's blogs. So if its after a big event, I tend to find that I'm too slow off the mark and someone else says just what I was thinking. The other thing is that I can concentrate on two things at the same time without saying inappropriate things, and as I spend quite a bit of my free time on the phone the blog gets sidelined.
Anyway, I ramble on.
We made a great profit on the Christopher Brookmyre night, just short of a grand in fact. And bag packing in the Co-op netted us just short of three hundred quid. Not bad for a days work.

The next big days work I've got is in less than 9 days and four hours. The Calley Challenge is fast approaching. I've managed to put in a couple of long distances in the last few weeks, and this week I have plans for a thirty miler. Another month and I'd be really confident, right now I'm just hoping to finish. Having said all that, its was looking pretty doubtful that I was ever gonna start due to my longstanding back issues. I am recovering well and my physio has given me the go ahead but to make sure I don't lift anything. Who does she think I am, some crazy squaddie who fancies humphing a 75kg Bergen........not.

We have a great support crew; who between them have all the skills and resources to get us through the 24hr challenge. A WHWR veteran of many finishes who will sort all our nutritional needs and happens to be quite handy as a sports physio too. My paramedic Da who has his kit replenished and has all manner of goodies at his disposal. The blood giving set made me a little nervous right enough. The final member is an infamous pirate who's' attendance in not in the bag yet, but I have offered up a deal to the gods that he arrives on time. His skills lie in the treatment of blisters I'm told. Why was super glue mentioned in the kit list? I'm also holding out for a cuddle or a kick in the arse where required.

To be honest it's just getting in the way of my excitement for WHWR weekend. It's gonna be really different for me this year. It will be the first time I've seen the start of the race. In fact I've only EVER seen the start of one ultra, the Fling back in April. I usually spend the evening in a wigwam with my Maw and a bottle of vino callapso. going to bed at 1.01am precisely. When I informed the Race Daddy that I'd be there at the start to see my boy off he just about jumped for joy. "oh so I can give you a job then?" that not quite how I planned it. But then again not much goes to plan in my life.

Got some good news today about the parking situation at my checkpoint. We're gonna have a whole extra field to play with. That should really take the pressure off and make our job a wee bit easier. How ever I'm gonna have a couple of extra helpers this year, although they don't know it yet. Daryl Jacobs is gonna be put to work by Mrs Mac. I hope he doesn't make me take my eye off the prize like I did to him recently. At the BWB boxing event last week we both missed the knockout blow that put Stu MacDonald on his back. All because the lighting guy asked me to move the big man...... oops 3,2,1 yer out!!

So its half eight now. Cool enough for a wee run me thinks. Blogging and running in the same day, now that's progress.

"Progress, of the best kind, is comparatively slow. Great results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step.”

Samuel Smiles

Catch ya
Mrs Mac xox

ps. I've just been reminded that I have in fact seen the start of TWO ultras. How could I forget that fateful day where Dino, Murdo MacDonald and I waved off a coulpe of steamers to cover 44 miles in a haze of red wine fumes and the distant whiff of lastnights Guinness. You gotta love the RAW. There is a really pretty bridge I keep meaning to revisit.