Nothing auspicious about my preparation for today’s 2011 Ben Nevis Race, with a half-marathon PW on Coll two weeks ago, a niggly right knee that briefly exploded into something far worse above Glen Coe last Sunday and a raging cold that had me feeling like sh*t Monday/Tuesday and still coughing (albeit not painfully) today. But I managed to get running again Wednesday/Thursday with a knee support (not something that normally tempts me in training for fear of masking further problems), resolved to do likewise today and ultimately suffered more from other factors than the knee…
Have always been frustrated by getting trapped in walking ‘snakes’ (very difficult to pass in places) on the ascent, so tried to hit the road harder up to Achintee to get further up the queues, but afraid I’m just not fast enough on the road to make much difference there! So got stuck in the snakes (with a few attempts to muscle my way round) from the aluminium bridges to the Red Burn, from the Red Burn to the summit and much of the way back down to the grassy bank, occasionally hearing myself cry out loud ‘come on, folks!’ but largely finding myself forced to settle for the prevailing pace. Frustrating, but probably more like the difference between the 2:15 PW I recorded and (say) 2:12 than 2:15 and the sub-2:00 I’ve so coveted but am realistically unlikely ever to run now!
Some other quick points of interest to finish up what I’m trying to keep as a quick post with none of the agonising over wording that frequently has me spending far too long on the writing…
- A comically well-timed meeting with Anne MacRae from school as she emerged from the top of Heart Attack Hill (above the Youth Hostel) to watch at the exact moment I ran past on the way up.
- A surprise attack of hellish cramp in both thighs immediately after reentering Claggan Park with just half a circuit of the pitch (during which about five folk sauntered past) to run to the finish.
- Meetings with fellow WHW Race ‘family’ Davie Bell, Bob Allison (‘fresh’ from completing UTMB in difficult conditions last weekend) and Dirk Verbiest, although I never saw Iain Ridgway (who should have finished about half an hour ahead of me) and there may have been other ‘family’ members competing who I’ve missed.
So it was a PW (2:15:15 by my watch, although that could go a second or two either way on the official results), but not a disaster when most would still consider that a very respectable time. How much I want to go on banging my head off a brick wall is another matter (not making any decisions yet), but I’m certainly not wanting to keep going back for slower and slower races and think I might have to reset my sights on 2:05 as a tough but attainable target (when I’ve twice run 2:08s) to tempt myself back!