Red Wine Runner

Tag Archive: ultramarathon

Hoka Highland Fling 2015 – Preview

Hoka Highland Fling 2015 Preview

hoka highland fling 2015 logo

 

Ooft, how is it Fling time again already? HOW? This year is positively flying by and I can’t believe that in 48 hours time I’ll be somewhere in between Balmaha and Rowerdennan, about 26 miles into my journey north to Tyndrum on the 10th Hoka Highland Fling 53 Mile Ultramarathon.

So where to start? I’ve been a bit AWOL on the blog in April so far and I apologise for not keeping on track with my weekly West Highland Way Race training updates, but there’s nothing terribly interesting to report about my taper since our final 30 mile run at the start of the month – things are ticking over nicely and unless I fall over before 6am on Saturday morning, I will be at the start with zero injuries and zero niggles.

This is Highland Fling #3 for me and whilst I’m physically 100%, mentally I’ve been rather distracted of late. University work is piling the pressure on, with a 5,000 word research proposal for my dissertation project due next week and all the associated stresses which comes will preparing such a document. I am excited for the summer and my project, however, as I’ve been able to pair my twin passions of digital and fitness into a project which will have an exciting, tangible product at the end of the summer!

That’s enough about that for now though; there’s a 53 mile race on Saturday to talk about.

 

Hoka Highland Fling route profile

2015 Race Strategy

In 2013 I started the race after a battle with bursitis in the weeks prior to the race and completed it in 13hrs and 6 minutes. Running towards the finish line on that day remains one of my favourite memories ever. It was a pivotal moment in my running, when I realised that truly, anything was possible if I wanted it hard enough. In 2014 I returned and ran with club friends for the first 35 or so miles at a pace which was slower than my ideal, but obviously more social. Eventually I just had to push on, and with the added strength of a very restrained start to the race, I was able to push really hard to the finish and made up 88 places in the final 18 miles for a finish time of 13 hours 20 minutes.

In 2015 my sights are set on the West Highland Way Race in June, so this is of course ‘just’ a training run. I still want to do well, but I won’t be pushing to finish in the fastest time I possibly can. I plan to run the first 20 miles to Balmaha conservatively, walking all hills, walking over Conic and conserving my legs and my energy as much as possible. I want to hit Drymen at 12 miles in no less than 2:00 – 2:10 – any quicker I’ll have gone too quickly I think, but I will be running ‘to feel’ so as long as I can still maintain conversation easily that’s my ideal pace…whatever that is. I want to be passing through check points efficiently, and then use my endurance experience to push on later in the race. A couple of years experience has shown me that one of my strengths is pacing for a strong finish at 50 mile distance – at Glenmore 12 in September I was able to sprint around the ‘small’ loop for 45 minutes to the finish so if I take my usual approach I see no reason why I can’t produce similar strength in the last hours.  After Beinglas, in the final 12 miles of the race, I will be trying to run as much as possible even though there are plenty of gentle rolling hills. If I’m strong enough at that stage I will have no excuse to not be running!

At the finish I will be hoping to feel good and not totally emptied – despite what I’ve just said about finishing strong, I will not be leaving everything out on the trail on Saturday. I still have work to do in the coming weeks to get ready for the West Highland Way race, so burning everything I have for the sake of finishing 20 minutes quicker is pointless.

Finishing time goals?
A = 12:00 – 12:30, B = 12:30 – 13:06, C= Strong, healthy, HAPPY finish.

Kit

This of course is totally weather dependent. I can try and be positive about this, but the closer it gets to Saturday, the less hope I have. Let me just leave these here… :Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.32.18
hoka highland fling weather

I think if the BBC could use the term ‘LOCUSTS’ they would. Sadly I don’t think there will be any need to pack the sun cream, but I live in hope thinking of last year when we had a similar forecast and it dried up first thing in the morning. Given that it is 17C and sunny in Milngavie today, it’s just cruel.

Soooo – Montane rain jacket, running cap, and a vest/long sleeve/club vest underneath will be what I’ll wear on top, but I’m now undecided about my bottom half. I love to wear running skirts for ultras, but in the rain they are a lot less practical as discovered at Glenmore. I may have to go with some light shorts which get rid of rain water quicker and are less ‘flappy’. Calf sleeves, stripy club socks, Injinji socks, and Hokas will complete the look, along with my usual back pack. Nothing changed, nothing new.

Fuel

I am yet to prepare my drop bags so I’m afraid I can’t share my usual picture of what is going in, but I did manage to do the last of my shopping this morning so the cupboards are full and ready to burst. Race day breakfast following a good feed throughout Friday will be Premiere Inn coffee, a Muller Rice yogurt, cereal bar and a banana. The first 20 miles I will probably just have a couple of gels and a Baby Bel cheese as I’m never that hungry on such an early start, and then I’ll arrive at Balmaha for my first feed.

Drop bags will feature a selection in each from, in no particular order: either an Ambrosia custard or Muller rice, a bag of hula hoops, a buttery (Aberdeen Rowie), miniature cheeses, lemon cake bars, cashew nuts, peanut butter kit kat. There will probably be a gin miniature in my Beinglas bag too – why change the habit of a few years…

Race Logistics

This year sees a McKinnon double act gracing the West Highland Way for the first time. That’s right, Mr RWR, aka Kynon, will be stepping up from his usual marshalling spot at Balmaha to tackle the Highland Fling himself this year. His preparations have not been textbook due to ongoing injuries, but since he was able to complete the 30 mile run a couple of weeks ago, there is no reason to suspect he won’t have a great day out. We won’t be running together as we have different paces and goals, but it is expected I will finish before him. I look forward to creating a new version of this 2013 picture, reversed:

Image by Muriel Downie

Image by Muriel Downie

Having both of us in the race has created some logistical trials. This year we are parking the camper van at the finish line tomorrow afternoon, then getting the train down to Milngavie from Tyndrum, and then staying the night in the Premiere Inn. Since the race offers a ‘Finish Line’ bag van, we can put our overnight bags in there to meet us at the finish. Then we’ll be staying the night at the finish area and taking part in the celebrations with gusto, knowing we have literally only several feet to stumble into the van for a sleep.

That’s about it for now – I have so much to take care of today that I can’t write any more, but to the newbies and ‘Fling virgins’ I will say this. You are about to embark upon one of the toughest races in Scotland, but also one of the greatest. If you are new to 50+ mile racing, especially in the hills, then I’m sure you already know it is going to hurt. At points it will hurt a lot – embrace the pain, acknowledge it, and then head on your way. You can’t let it dominate your race; compartmentalise the hurt and keep going and sooner or later you will forget all about it, the pain becomes a part of you and then you realise that you are stronger than it.

Take the next day to relax completely, let go of your worries, keep off your feet and visualise your happy race. Stop stressing about whether the tracker will send updates to your Facebook page, stop asking about finishers t-shirt sizes and hoody colours, don’t feel the need to participate in the mass hysteria which is the Fling Facebook group at the moment; put your phone/laptop/iPad down and just chill the fuck out.

It’s just running. It’s fun. You start at the start and keep going until you get to the finish. That’s it. Breathe. Enjoy the journey.

 

 

Inhale Exhale

If you’re at the Fling this weekend, whatever you’re doing, have a great weekend. Runners, marshalls, sweepers, supporters, hangers on, dogs, Grannies and even stray children – welcome to the family, enjoy yourselves and soak it all up.
See you in Milngavie.

~RWR.

 

West Highland Way Race Training – Week 10

West Highland Way Race Training
Week 10
west highland way race red wine runner

Last week was a welcome return to form with three runs and three cross training sessions, including a casual 30 mile hill run at the weekend. Unfortunately I have since been struck down with a stinking cold which has been somewhat of a disability this week…

Monday: 1hr Power Yoga
Tuesday: 7.5 miles – Club long tempo run on hilly route.
Wednesday: 1hr Body Pump
Thursday: 6 miles – Club interval session – 1km effort x 5
Friday: Rest and eating lots
Saturday: 30 miles – an 8 hour monster long run with my Saturday run crew.
Sunday: A couple of hours of tough digging in the gardening and a relaxed 30 mins of Ashtanga Primary Series

Glen Dye

We had planned a route to start at the Clachnaben car park in Glen Dye, then go out up and over Clachnaben, up and over Mount Battock, then down to Tarfside and Glen Esk, before climbing back up Stobie Hillock and down the other side to the Water of Dye, following its path through Glen Dye past Charr Bothy to the car park. This in theory ought to have taken about 6 hours for a total of 25 miles, but we went a little off route on two occasions which resulted in a lot of heather bashing. On the first occasion we took an incorrect turning and after sailing down a very steep hill at great speed, realised we were going the wrong way. We heather-bashed our way around the hill contours until we found the path again, and marvelled at the huge amount of white mountain hares we saw, which were still mainly white in their winter camouflage coats.  Our second re-route was the result of new tracks being made on the estate which we were running through which was very confusing when we were following an OS map.  Supreme map reading skills re-routed us over the hills, circumventing a huge herd of deer, and then had us hopping and skipping down another descent, splashing through bogs and streams and back on track to the finish.

Clachnaben run

glen dye 3

Glen dye 4 Glen dye 5 glen dye 6 glen dye 7 glen dye 8 glen dye 9

Glen dye 11

Having left Stonehaven at 6.15am, we reached our cars at about 3.30pm so it had been a very long day. I was glad to have sensibly packed extra food just in case, and happy that the weather was on our side. It was a stunning route with about 4,500ft of climbing and a real challenge underfoot at times, so a perfect sharpener for the Highland Fling in three weeks time. On Sunday I enjoyed the sunshine and worked in the garden, before getting my yoga mat out and working through the Ashtanga Primary Series slowly to stretch out my weary legs with some furry help.

yoga cat

Tomorrow I’m off to London for a few days with Kynon to stay with some friends. Amongst other things, I am looking forward to meeting some Twitter run chums for a sightseeing run, trying a Fierce Grace yoga class, and hopefully doing some parkrun tourism at Finsbury Park. As mentioned, I developed a nasty cold on Sunday and I haven’t ran this week – better to try and get back to full health than push the bugs into my chest! I always get fatigued after having a cold or virus and I’m very keen to take care of myself with a big race on the horizon.

I’ll be posting photo updates on my London adventures on my Instagram account; if you don’t follow me already, why not come along for the journey?
@rhinomittens

Instagram

West Highland Way Race Training – Weeks 8 and 9

West Highland Way Race Training
Weeks 8 and 9
west highland way race red wine runner

Oops, I’ve left this a while haven’t I? Apologies for the unplanned hiatus, I wish I had some good excuses and some great stories to return with but I really don’t. After the excitement of the D33 died down, I had a recovery week of about 25 miles and then last week I was all set to get back up to full mileage again…until I didn’t. I missed my Tuesday club session due to an impromptu afternoon trip to the pub with my classmates (this in itself is not a good excuse, but this was the first time all 13 of us have gone out socially and I didn’t want to go home and miss out), then I phoned in a run at club on Thursday so I could go to Thirsty Thursday at the pub afterwards, and then didn’t run on Friday as I was plagued by a nagging hangover. The kind you get when you go to the pub after running club and drink 7% ale on an empty stomach without having had any dinner. Then on Saturday I didn’t run because I drank too much on Friday night, and the same happened on Sunday. Notice a pattern here?

I spent plenty of time beating myself up about it on Sunday and Monday. Poor decisions all around. Lack of commitment. No respect for my training or the races. I’m letting myself down. Dammit, I’m letting everyone down. What a shit person I am.

I’m exceptionally talented at mentally tearing myself a new one when I mess up with my training, especially when I don’t even understand why. It’s not like I’ve over-training myself, it’s not like I’ve even been working exceptionally hard lately; so I can’t even blame it on a need to party it up a bit. In fact, I wish I had been partying it up, but my unfortunate propensity to horrific hangovers is now such that half a bottle of wine with dinner and a few beers after will knock me out for an entire day. For someone with the blog title ‘Red Wine Runner’ it is rather unfortunate that for me these days, red wine and running are no longer mutually compatible.

This is one of the things I both love and hate about having a blog. If I didn’t have to come clean on here about completely abandoning my training then nobody would need to know. I’m quite good at lying through my teeth about it in person, but here I feel I need to be accountable. Also, If you’re friends with me on Fetch you can stalk my training and see how gappy it is! On the other hand I think it’s good that people can read here that I’m not super-woman, and that normal girls who occasionally spend three days straight plagued with hangovers can actually be capable of doing some great running feats to be proud of. Sometimes it does bug me when I read blogs telling of 16 week training programmes perfectly executed with no runs skipped and my only response is ‘Ugh, SHUT UP and get a life’. Jealous haters unite. I wish I could be that committed, but I’ve never been able to do it 100%. Turning the alarm clock off just feels too good some times.

Red wine runner training

Training in March. Black boxes are Yoga.

 

However, with all that off my chest the races on the horizon still remain, so despite falling off the plan I just need to saddle up and get right back on it. It’s April 1st today, so the Highland Fling is three weeks on Saturday so I can work hard this week and next before dialling down my mileage in preparation. This weekend we have a 26 mile mountain run planned on Saturday, which is likely to take the guts of 8 hours to complete, so that should get me right back on track. It goes without saying that the wine will be staying in the fridge on Friday night…

More coming soon (including Kynon’s D33 Race Report – he’s been busy), hopefully with lots of pictures from our adventures this weekend!

RACE REPORT – D33 Ultra marathon 2015

D33 Ultramarathon
14th March 2015

d33 ultra medal 2015

5 hours 15 minutes 45 seconds

174th of 338 finishers
34th of 110 Females
15th of 39 FSeniors

 

With 424 entries this year, the starting line at the 2015 D33 Ultra was set to be bursting at the seams. Even after the usual attrition rate brought the starters down to around 350 on the day, it was still a healthy increase from last year and double the size of the first year I first took part, in 2012. On Friday I was delighted to welcome two of the newest additions to the D33 family, Iona and Jemma, to our home in Stonehaven, where we all settled in for a night of carbs, gossip and pre-race planning. Who was running what pace? Would anyone get under 5 hours? What shade of purple nail polish would match my club kit the best? It was lovely to have a house full of friends to diffuse the pre-race nerves, but we all headed off to bed early to get a good night’s rest.

The first alarms in the house went off at 5.15am, and Kynon and Duncan (Jemma’s fiance / Iona’s brother) got up and away to be at the start at Duthie Park by 06:20am. Kynon sadly had to DNS his place in the race due to lingering injury recovery, so instead he was filling the position of ‘Race Bitch’, i.e the Race Director’s right hand man, and would be working hard all day. Since Duncan had come along for the weekend of fun he’d been roped into marshalling as well, and spent much of the day assisting Kynon in his various tasks. I’m delighted to say that Kynon will be writing a guest blog later this week about his experiences as D33 Race Bitch, so I’ll leave all further details for him to describe. Be sure to check back and read it – any story that starts with a horizontal portaloo at 06:20am in the morning will be a good ‘un.

Naturally after Kynon was up I was wide awake as well, and got up and set too my race morning preparations. My kit was laid out and all my drop-bags prepared, so all I needed to do was get dressed and eat my porridge and coffee. Thankfully the weather seemed to be exactly as forecast (dry, overcast, calm) so no last minute kit adjustments were required. We left the house on time and soon were sitting in the front seats of the X7 bus to Aberdeen at 7:10am, which left us right outside the gates of the Duthie Park at around 7:35.

Time flew by after I picked up my number and danced around race HQ saying hello to everyone. We had decided not to go to the pre-race pub session the night before as we were too tired, so I had a lot of hellos and hugs to dish out before the start. I decided a second pre-race portaloo stop was required and stepped into the queue for the two toilets about 25 minutes before the race was due to start. When I was still waiting 20 minutes later I started to get a little anxious, but thankfully I was lucky enough to be one of the last who were able to relieve themselves before quickly rushing to where the runners were gathered at the start. To this end I have no pictures of the start and briefing this year, but I have borrowed a couple from Chen Chee Kong/Running In Scotland to illustrate.

d33 ultramarathon start

d33 ultramarathon start

Picture – Chen Chee Kong

d33 ultramarathon start

Picture – Chen Chee Kong

I shuffled my way into the top quarter of the field in order to avoid being squashed in the first bottle neck of people as the runners squeeze out of the narrow park gates. Randomly of all the people I could have ended up standing next to, I realised I was next to Jack, one of my lecturers and the course director of the MSc I am currently studying. He was lining up for his first ultra and was feeling confident of a 5 hour finish, with the exception that some surgical pins had dislodged in his lower leg and appeared to be making a bid for freedom beneath the skin.  Despite there being few better reasons for worry on the starting line of your first ultra, he was happy enough as it wasn’t hurting! After I boaked a bit in horror at the sight, we wished each other well and I shuffled forward to join Iona as the countdown began.

After being a little unsure of how much effort I was willing to invest in a risky flat and fast race early in the season, I had made up my mind that morning that I was going to give it all I had. You see, this race means a lot to a lot of people, and no more than to my good friend and SRC Clubmate George Reid, the D33 Race Director. Unfortunately George has not been well at all this year, and has spent considerable time in hospital after an eventual diagnosis of Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy. This is the chronic version of a syndrome called Guillain-Barre, which is a condition of the peripheral nervous system that can develop after a simple cold/flu virus. It’s a life changing diagnosis, and whilst George is out of hospital and much better than he was, he has a long way to go and he and his partner Karen (both in life and Epic Shit Racing) have had a really tough time of it lately. This was why Kynon was Race Bitch this year – that is usually Karen’s role, but she took over the Race Director role this year whilst George focused on getting better.

So; regardless of what else I had on the horizon, in honour of George and his present struggles, I wasn’t going to phone it in on Saturday. Races are for racing, and to do justice to it I wasn’t going to mess around. I had picked my pace and made my plan and was going to stick to it no matter what – no taking the foot off the gas in the middle if I got tired, no walking just because, no hanging around at check points. My goal was to bring home a big fat PB for George – hopefully around the 5hr 10 minute mark, or maybe even quicker. My only thoughts at the start was a wish to the running gods to give me the courage to stick with my planned pace at the start and not get carried away. I knew I could make or break my race in the first few miles by either being stupid or sensible and in 5 hours time I would be paying for whatever decisions I made in the first 5 miles.

d33 ultramarathon start

Picture – Chen Chee Kong

When the klaxon went, the runners streamed out of the park, through the gates and up the incline on to the railway line. Iona and I cruised off and despite frequent checking of my watch I was going far too quickly. I forced myself to slow down, desperate to keep up with my friends and clubmates but still committed to what I’d promised myself earlier on. After a couple of miles, Amanda and I fell into step and we chatted away for a while until we reached Checkpoint 1. I had a little bag with two gels and a bottle of water/powerade mix waiting for me so I quickly picked them up and almost didn’t break stride. I said hello to the marshals and wanted to stay, but just offloaded my gel wrapper rubbish, drank deeply from my bottle, and pushed on.

d33 ultramarathon

Picture – Chen Chee Kong

Sticking to my 9:30 minute mile pace plan was working well and my splits were wonderfully consistent on the whole way out. I had been mainly alone since leaving check point 1 but spoke to a few other runners here and there. I was blown away to be passed by the lead runner on his way back when I was only at mile 12.8, but it was quite incredible to see Team Scotland Commonweath Games marathoner Ross Houston at work. He was gliding over the earth making it look easy to keep a sub-6 minute mile pace going in an ultra, and still had the energy to smile and reciprocate our “Well Done”‘s. When the rest of the faster athletes started passing, as usual I got a bit too excited and gradually sped up as I high fived and cheered the other runners, which I tried to rein in before I got myself in to trouble, but it was hard when so many of my chums were doing so well.

D33 Ultramarathon
Here illustrates the internal monologue battling on inside my racing head between daft and sensible, good and evil, naughty and nice. It only gets worse as the race goes on…

At half way my Mum was waiting to say hello and cheer me on, alongside a plethora of Scottish Ultramarathon legends who were taking care of everyone at the Checkpoint. Inside the drop bag this time was two gels and a packet of salt n’ vinegar squares, with another bottle of water/powerade. I was in and out of the Checkpoint so quickly that I didn’t really take in much of what was going on or who else was there, but they did have a new one-way system this year which lead us around a tiny loop of trees in order to keep track of who had come in and who had gone out. Once again I forced myself to keep moving quicker than I wanted to, and without stopping for more than a couple of seconds I was back on the road home to Aberdeen.

The next few miles were amongst the toughest in my race. Running over the uneven ground dodging big pitted puddles and other runners on the half mile out of the Check Point meant I struggled to find a rhythm and get back on pace again. I pushed and pushed but reaching the dizzy heights of 9:3X on the average mile pace on my Garmin seemed to suddenly be taking a lot more work. I tried to keep calm and moving as easily as possible (whilst keeping up a steady stream of ‘well done’s to the runners coming the other way) but I knew the time for easy running had passed and it was now time to start working.

Running between Crathes and Drumoak a ‘new for Spring 2015′ pain started to feature in my general discomfort. My left piriformis has been giving me bother after long (+20 mile) runs this year so far, and popped up just as I was expecting it, alongside some general glute stiffness. Yes, running at pace on a flat route for hours can be a test, but this year it was literally becoming a pain in the ass.

20 miles came and went and my splits got slower and slower. I could feel the PB slipping away; I would need to somehow come back from this period of discomfort and slowness in order to come home with a decent chunk off my best time. I didn’t want a repeat of last year where I shaved off a minute; I wanted a proper slice off which would represent a really hard effort. The devil on my shoulder started writing imaginary apologetic Facebook statuses in my head: “Well; I gave it as good as I could today guys, but my best wasn’t good enough…”, “I fought hard but a re-occurring pain got the better of me and I had to slow down”, “The West Highland Way Race is my number one priority so I had to be sensible”… it would have been so easy to mentally click ‘POST’ and ease in to an easy finish.

Whatever the negative voices in my head were saying, in the end it was me that had to cross the finish line and me that would be telling George about my race that day. Anyone that knows George knows that he is tough. The man eats nails on toast for breakfast. Oh, you ran the West Highland Way Race? He completed that race after a wee run to the start of that once. From Fort William. The question here was ‘What Would Loon Dod Do?’ The answer? H.T.F.U.

I grinded my way through the miles until the final Check Point, never taking my foot off the gas and pushing as hard as I could in an attempt to keep a steady 9:30 pace. Passing through it, I grabbed my drink and kept on pushing, knowing that in just a few miles I could almost relax and enjoy the slight downhill finish. My glutes and piriformis were still aching terribly but I just had to ignore it as there was no other choice. Passing through marathon distance in 4hrs 11m, I kept a vision of the reward of running through Duthie Park to the finish at the forefront of my mind. I don’t know why this was such a motivation this year as it’s not a terribly spectacular finish and there’s usually a risk of running over a stray child, tripping over an old lady or being clothes-lined by a dog leash on your way in, but I just craved that feeling of being in the last 200 meters so badly. Passing though the gates, engaging the sprint finish and running towards cheering friends and loved ones after a long day out – there is no greater feeling.

After marathon distance I was obsessively checking my watch to see if it had reached 28 miles. At this distance I had promised myself I could listen to my iPod and to a specially prepared playlist designed to power me through the last 45 minutes of the run. I was delighted to finally plug myself in and dance my way down the railway line whilst gathering my resources to try and speed up a little. I had calculated that a PB was still possible, especially now I was out of the dark third quarter of the race and the finish was within reach. I also had a wave from my Grandad to look forward to, as he would be waiting on the Auchinyell Bridge for me to pass at about 31.5 miles. Last year he did the same but I was later than I had planned – as a man of the Navy this was not acceptable to him: you show up on time or you don’t bother to show up at all. Thankfully he did stick around for me, but this year I was determined to not make him wait any longer than he ought to and I passed right on time. With a celebratory shake of his walking stick and an obvious tap on his watch he smiled and sent me on my way into the final mile and towards my finish line reward.

D33 ultra finish

Picture – Chen Chee Kong (who finished just after me!)

I floated towards the end of the railway line as the park gates came in to view. Julie was on duty here and gave me a big cheer, whilst Kynon was running across the park just ahead of me from his marshalling position in an attempt to get to the finish before me. I was gaining on him and for a brief moment I thought it might be amusing to try and beat him, even after 33 miles, but then I thought better of it as it would probably result in a finish line vomit and nobody really wanted to see that. Instead I just ran in as hard as I could and enjoyed the cheers all around me as I passed under the arch. Everything got a bit blurry as I caught my breath and steadied myself after the big effort, but I was able to glance down and see 5hrs and 15 minutes – a 10 minute PB!

d33 ultramarathon 2015

Karen came over to give me a hug and Neil put a medal around my neck. I was delighted to see George in the finishing chute sitting on a high stool, where he was still able to cheer in every runner like he always does each year. I was very happy to go over and give him a hug and report that a decent PB had been achieved.

d33 ultra

Kynon still had lots of work to do so I wobbled off with my Mum to go and see about getting a massage to loosen off my glutes and piriformis. Thankfully some guys from the SPEAR clinic at Aberdeen Sports Village were on hand, and for the princely sum of £5 I was able to get my pain in the ass sorted out quickly. I then moved to the food tent to fill my face with a delightful selection of Indian snacks (an inspired post-race choice), flapjacks and cake, and caught up with everyone else who had completed the race. Iona did a great job in 5hrs 4m, and Jemma sneaked under the 6 hour mark in 5hrs 59m. We gathered our things and headed back to Stonehaven on the 3.30pm bus and were back with plenty of time for showers before cracking open some beers for the Scotland V England rugby game. Saturday was a great day for running, but the less said about the rugby the better, I think.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 17.20.51

The after-party in the Station Hotel later on was great fun, and the perfect way to catch up with everyone’s races. There was a quiz, a bottle slide, and an auction, all to raise funds for GAIN – Guillain-Barre and Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies. As you can imagine this Charity is close to the hearts of all involved with the D33 Ultra this year; organisers, runners, marshals, and supporters. So far we’ve managed to raise £1,850 of the £2,500 target set by Mike a few weeks ago. So if you ran the race and missed the donation buckets, or didn’t have any money on you, or missed the news about this completely, or if you just enjoy my blogs and have a spare tenner in your bank account to support this – then you can make an online donation via JustGiving by clicking HERE.

d33 ultra _001

So all in all another epic day out from Epic Shit racing. The next morning I was up and out to do 7 miles in the sun after our guests left, and then after that I indulged my runger with a macaroni pie supper – an extremely rare treat only earned on the most rare of occasions. Huge thanks to Karen and George and all the Epic Shit team for all their hard work in the challenging circumstances. See you next year for D33 Ultra #5!

d33 recovery