Petestack Blog

3 May 2009

Time to stop playing at WHW Race 2009

Filed under: Running — admin @ 11:49 am

Having done the West Highland Way Race in 2007 and wanting to give it another go sometime but not immediately, I’d found myself drawn back for 2009 after assisting at the Kinlochleven checkpoint and through the Lairig Mor in 2008. But, despite taking a somewhat reluctant decision to leave the boat ashore again this year to give me some chance of notching up the necessary training mileage, things still had to run (no pun intended!) to a pretty tight schedule to get there with other competing interests like climbing back on the agenda.

December 2008 was a write-off, with a month-long cough/cold thing with headaches keeping me off work for several days (missing all my Christmas concerts when I’d never missed *one* in twenty years of teaching) and restricting my running to an unprecedented solitary outing on Hogmanay. January and February went rather better, and I was running quite a lot (though perhaps still a month behind my 2007 schedule) by March. But things started to break down a bit again in April with the coming of some sunshine to go rock climbing, the loss of three days’ running to a calf tweak two weeks ago and similar time out for a hamstring niggle (on the opposite leg!) last week.

Now we’re into May (NB at this time in 2007 I was running my 60 mile quadruple Lairig Mor), and I’d been depending on some big, meaty hill runs to really test myself before tapering off in June. But I’m either climbing or supervising climbing groups pretty well every weekend in May with my SPA Assessment booked for the last weekend of the month, and there’s just no way I’m going to knock up 50+ miles a week (with 20 mile hill rounds?) on weekday, working evenings. So that’s it, really! Perhaps I should have pulled out sooner, but I’ve been reluctant to do so for face-saving reasons (which is silly, and no reason to run!) while there’s still been a chance. And, while I believe I could still do the race and complete the course as things stand, I’m simply not up for it with negligible chance of matching or beating my 22 hrs 15 mins from 2007. The fire just isn’t there this year, and I’m not sure I want to commit to 2010 either with the boat quite simply begging for attention. So maybe 2011, because I am still keen to give it another real go before I slow down too much…

So what now? Have to contact race organiser Dario so he can offer my place to someone who’s been training hard enough to appreciate it! And talk to my projected support crew, on which note I discussed everything with Angus (who agreed) last night and must contact Eileen and Jon ASAP. Might also consider something else (like another, faster Tranter’s or even an optimistic crack at Ramsay’s Round) in July to fill the void, because I’m still pretty fit really and enjoying running without immediate pressure. Just not able to commit to 95 miles as soon as June!

Anyway, that’s it. I’ve told the world. It’s been coming for a week or two, the decision was effectively taken while nursing that hamstring niggle round the Mamore track on Friday evening and confirmed during last night’s conversation with Angus. It’s already final and I’m comfortable with it, but the moment I hit that ‘Publish’ button it’s irrevocably official.

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