Not much in the way of internet connectivity up here, but I've heard a rumour that the Smoo Cave Hotel don't mind you tapping into their wifi connection as long as you buy a pint. I'm going to test that out later.
Day 3 of racing done today.
The whole thing got off to a bad start as I got a sore throat the night before we were setting off. Any more of that and I'll be getting a chaise longue and some smelling salts. I felt ill all weekend but there wasn't anything too strenuous to do, so I rested up and tried not to spray bugs about.
Monday kicked off with a choice of a half marathon or a 10K. I was signed up for the half but was able to change and it seemed like a good idea to try and shake off the cold. It wasn't the most auspicious start to the racing. The wind howled, the rain tipped down and for some reason there was a hold up with the buses that were to take us out to the start of the course. The half marathoners were getting bussed to the start of their race and then the buses had to come back to pick up the 10kers. In all we were about an extra hour waiting around in cold, wet clothes before we got going. I set off like a bat out of hell just to try to get warmed up, but then steadied after that. The half marathon runners came past quite soon after we'd set off. I missed the front runner so when I saw Peter striding along, leaning to the left, looking very focused just behind another guy I thought they were no. 1 and 2. It turned out no. 1 was way out on his own and they were no2 and 3. It was a hilly coastal road with a stiff headwind for the last 3 miles but some very good views out to sea after the rain cleared off and the sun came out. It felt vaguely unreal to me but finished soon enough.
The chat at the finish was that No. 1 half marathoner was Ben Livesey whose half marathon pb was 68 mins so he was a bit disappointed with a 1.14 half marathon that day. Amanda came in 1st lady. Both set new course records.
The 2nd day was the hill run. The weather wasn't quite as grim and the race set off from the village hall so there wasn't any messing about with buses. It was a good runnable 5 or so miles over nice peaty ground mostly. The hill wasn't too stiff, no reason to walk. My cold was starting to clear and I'm afraid I spent a lot of the race with long silver ropes trailing from my nose and flapping in the wind behind me. It was a messy business. I was pleased to see that my average pace for this run was better than it had been for my 10K. I think Peter was 2nd in this one and Amanda was 1st lady again. Go awn team Porty.
We were thinking about having a little sleep after the race yesterday but the newly christened Lucy Cojones enjoined us to go for a refreshing swim in the Atlantic in a howling gale instead. Luckily we had wetsuits. It was pretty good actually but I'm glad the tide was coming in. The sea was pretty lively.
Today was a 10 mile race which I'd somehow convinced myself was going to be mostly on road. It turned out to be mostly not on road and I was a bit annoyed with myself for the first bit as I was wearing my floppiest of road shoes and I had a good pair of Cascadias under the bed back at the house which would have been ideal for the mix of peat, rocky trail, road and golf course. I found it all a bit grim to start with, running uphill into the wind with the rain spitting in my face and my feet slithering about in every direction but after about 5 miles or so I started to enjoy it. The best bit was a good couple of miles over nicely kept golf course with a fierce wind behind. I felt like I was flying along. As I am the slowest Porty Scott and Peter had waited for me but I pretty much had to jog into the hall to get my rucksack and turn around right away to get back down to the house where we're staying.
Peter was 2nd man in and there was a turn around this time with Lucy C.coming in 1st lady and Amanda coming in 2nd. Graham Henry was in very good spirits before the race, liking the terrain and the distance and came in an impressive 4th man.
Doubtless suffering from the current economic climate, all the events surrounding the challenge come with a price tag. Soup etc. after the races costs a £5 so we're ducking this, being in the middle of an economic crisis of our own.
So its 3 races down. Tomorrow's race is a kind of recovery race where you have to guess what time you're going to take (although the course and the distance of the race has not yet been decided), then, without the use of timing devices the challenge is to cross the finish line as near to your predicted time as you can. Friday is a day off. Saturday is the marathon.
There are gales predicted for tomorrow so we've got to hope that they blow themselves out for Saturday. If the weather's too bad they say we won't be able to do the ferry crossing for the marathon so they'll set an alternative course on the roads on the mainland. Worst of all worlds. Here's hoping for the proper marathon on Saturday.
The wind is whistling round the cottage just now. I might go and try to do this Smoo Cave Hotel thing. Not that I want to go the pub in the afternoon y'understand...Far from it.