Think I got what I deserved here when I was barely on the rebound from three ultras this summer, can’t say I treat road running seriously at the best of times (preferring to run hills and trails with little formal speed work) and found myself inexplicably battering the ‘last-minute self-destruct eating button’ on Thursday and Friday, but Coll is Coll, the Half-Marathon’s a great excuse to go back and I was committed long before doing my best to sabotage my own already fairly unpromising prospects. So I was up at 4:00am on Saturday to meet Eileen and Donald in Oban for the 7:00am ferry as planned, arriving on the island to clearing skies later that morning after a bumpy, grey crossing which did nothing to make me feel any better. Just about survived the race, however, completing the last 11 miles with a churning gut and recording my worst time yet at 1:42:14 (previous worst 1:41:29 at Coll 2008) for 19th place from 107. But it’s a tough, tough course (hardest half I’ve ever done) and, considering how my general distaste for ‘road’ running (in quotes because you also get a nice, slow track through the machair from Totronald to Ballyhaugh here) impacts my training, I’m pretty OK with that. And Donald did well in his first serious race at any distance (?) to record 1:46:24 for 29th place, so he’s buzzing!
Not really much else to say except that my £10 ceilidh ticket never got used as my stomach told me to head for my tent instead, so missed all the fun with friends old and new including Zoe Newsam (ex-Fly crew) and Ian Anderson (WHW Race ‘family’). But must add that the name of my grandpa Glover (‘doctor on this island for fourteen years’) had already worked its customary magic in introducing us to Ewen McGee, who promptly produced a photo of my aunt Eppie (Eileen and Donald’s mother) on a small boat to Tiree donkeys’ years ago! So we were talking long before leaving the island about coming back next year (which will be the first with the new An Cridhe community centre open), I was checking the web to find the results already up on getting home last night, saw that entries for 2012 were also already open, thought (despite my general distaste for ‘road’ running) ‘go on, just do it’ and was astonished to find another two names (no, not Eileen and Donald… yet!) up beside my own this morning. So that’s that, of course I love Coll and will now just have to see if the fortnight’s gap after the Devil o’ the Highlands (which I’ve been stupid enough to enter as well) works for or against me in taking me to my (presumed) best mean, lean shape (no last-minute self-destruction, right?) that close without leaving me too wasted to buck the trend of my ever slower halves!
(Photos from Donald’s phone by Eileen and Donald.)