Peter decided to take it easy for this one and document the journey.
So we did it! Haddington Half followed by Lomonds of Fife. I am very pleased at how well I seem to have coped with it. I guess the Cape Wrath Challenge earlier in the year and the recent Tour of Fife has done something in terms of helping us to handle multiple days racing.
Anyway, I'm getting ahead. Slept through my alarm but woke up 10 minutes later. Sleepy and tired. Did think about just going and taking photos but once I was up I didn't feel too bad. The main mood in the house, I would say, was good-natured sleepiness. Yesterday had certainly taken any nervous edge off us. We set off a bit late after fuzzily fussing around trying to get ready, but we didn't worry and we got a parking spot and were soon registered and on our way to the new race start.
There was a veritable flock of Porties this year; Paul, Peter and I (Peter, Paul and Mary) as it has been for a couple of years now, but also Michael Nowicki, Gillian McKelvie and Michael Geoghegan who had stealthily snuck up from Englandshire and surprised us. He surprised us even more by wearing his road trainers as he'd forgotten his off-roaders. Well we wouldn't want things getting too easy would we? Rumour has it he was slipping and sliding coming off East Lomond - Peter suggested that maybe next year he should do it in roller skates...He was well up there anyway.
It was good to have Paul E. back in our midst after cracking a rib and having to back off for a while after the 7 hills. Good to have Gillian along too. For a warm up we walked up the cycle path to the start talking about the Himalayas and I had kind of forgotten we were going to race soon, which was fine by me. I had no idea how my body was going to respond to this race but I was feeling cheerful which is usually a good sign that I'm okay.
For those that don't know the route was changed this year as the farmer who normally lets the runners park in a field had put his foot down and said no. Much of it was part of the old route but there were going to be a couple of different bits. One plus was that we didn't have to go to the top of West Lomond as many times. I guess a minus was that there was quite a lot of running in narrow trods and contouring, especially after the Maiden Castle - or whatever its called - which is actually just a shaggy hump of grass. This made my ankles hurt like billy-o. My right ankle's been sore since the Maddy Moss Hill Race's endless contouring downhill on little narrow trods that cause those of us with long feet and a Charlie Chaplin style no end of bother. My left ankle is now nearly as sore as after the spectacular vertiginous bum-slide we headed back up the hill and then did the same contour/descent as in the 3rd leg of the Devil's burden. I have never been able to make any sense of this and today wasn't any different. I stumbled along losing ground, muttering to myself and finding nowhere to run. I walked straight into a boulder which was sore and pointless.
I am all out of sequence which kind of fits with the mood of the day. Jablonski was out and despite his protest that Largo Law was his longest run in a long time he was looking stronger and although we exchanged places a few times I knew he was going to sort me out on the bumslide and then the nasty rough stuff back to the forest paths. Judith Dobson was out testing the route for the first time and I was surprised and pleased to keep her behind me...
After an age lost on that final contour we were back into the woods and it was shady, there was a good path and not too far to go. All the kind of things that make you feel a whole lot better. I was in a happy mood running down through the trees to the finish. Gillian and Paul arrived in shortly afterwards. We had cups of tea and went home! Oh yeah and there was a prize-giving. I haven't got all the mens' positions straight but I know Tom Bowie came a popular 1st V60 to much applause. I think Mark Harris won and Colin Donnelly was certainly in there - a name I hadn't heard in a while. Adrian Davies was 1st V40. Apologies anyone I got wrong or I've missed out. Again I'm hazy on the detail of the ladies' prizes except there were two unattached runners in the top three. Megan Mowbray was one of the top three but I'm not sure which one. What I am sure of is Hilary Ritchie came 1st V40 and Phyllis Mitchell was 1st V50.
A great day out, a great race and Gillian and I agreed that the roast chicken crisps we had at the end were the best we'd ever tasted.