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.... 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


John Kynaston said...

Congratulations on a great effort.

I enjoyed reading your report.

whw race next year??


Davie said...

Next year? There are 25 vacant places this year!
Brilliant effort, Lee. Great report.


WHW Runner said...

Lee, what a fantastic report - a hugely inspiring effort from you and your mum. You describe brilliantly the range of emotions you went through throughout the day. Well done to you both. Ian

Anonymous said...

Well Done to you and your family, a great achievement. You've got me all emotional reading your report with thoughts of my own finish not far away, Pauline and I are running together this year so I hope the door at the Leisure Centre is wide enough for us get through together!

Fiona Rennie

Debbie Martin-Consani said...

Well done Lee and Lee's Mum. Fantastic achievement.

Looking forward to seeing you at the tattie stop in a few hours.

I've spent all morning up to my elbows in sandwich making.

Debs xx

Ps: Think we need to have a word with Dario to make JK the race ambassador.
Pps: Loving the new blog pic.

Rachel Jayne Stevenson/Rogers said...

Well done! Brill achievement!