We had the Glen Lyon Trail Race planned for the weekend, and to prevent a long drive up from Edinburgh early in the morning on Sunday, I'd booked somewhere to stay in Killin on the Saturday night.
On Thursday I got another piece of CBT course work back - and this one was a substantial fail. I'm not going to dwell on this particularly. Just it means more days of May will have to be given over to the perhaps fruitless task of trying to re-submit and scrape a pass.
Lying in bed I was trying to describe for myself the way that I felt about it all. Two words came to mind. One was "spewing". This was in my head from when my friend Paul Edwards had to stop and stretch 22 miles into a marathon because he was getting cramp. We had always been friendly rivals. I was half glad to go past him at 22 miles, but knew it was bad news for him. I asked him how he was a week later and he said he was spewing. By this it was clear he meant an emotional state rather than a physical act. I am likewise spewing about the CBT stuff.
The other word is scunnered. I told someone off my course about it and she said "Oh, what a scunner." Again, bang on. I was scunnered.
I felt so scunnered I felt like I didn't want to go away at the weekend. I couldn't be bothered and I couldn't see the point. I thought it would likely turn out to be one of these endurance weekends where you are trying to be cheerful about enduring discomfort, bad food, being cold, being sore, being tired, not getting a good night's sleep and bad weather. Buchanan and I would be butting heads. Maybe the car would throw in some of its tricks. But I'd spent a fair amount of money on the weekend, which was now not refundable....so I went.
The drive to Killin was a bit bad tempered. For whatever reason, Peter and I were irritating each other. This turned around remarkably quickly when we went into a bar and had a drink while we were waiting on food. We were both pretty hungry so we felt fairly drunk by the time our food came. We ate stodge and then had stodgy puddings with ice-cream. After that we went for a wander around Killin. It was nice to be in a place where the noise of birds chattering away is much louder than the sound of traffic. We loafed around a bit, and then went back to the place we were staying and got to bed early for an early start.
I'd taken my tablet, which is the cheapest one that I could find, so's we'd have access to the internet. I had never tried out the camera on it, so I took a picture of Peter reading in bed.
The camera's maybe not its best feature.
The next morning dawned bright and cold. The woman running the B&B where we were staying (Ardlochay Lodge) was very nice about giving us breakfast early. We filled our faces at 7am. Peter went for the full cooked breakfast but I'd already eaten twice as much in muesli and toast as I would normally have, so thought I better not push my luck. I didn't want to come home fatter than I'd left.
It turned out the people in the room next to us were known quantities in the form of Gordon Eadie and Michelle Hetherington, so we all had breakfast together.
They'd done the Glen Lyon ultra the day before so had some inside info on the trail run we'd be doing. The info which interested me the most was that Michelle thought the route was more like 15 and a half miles than 17. Obviously they might throw in an extra bit, - but if it was just round the loch, as it was rumoured to be, it would likely be a bit short.
I like nothing better than a short race and I perked up.
The drive to the start over Ben Lawers was spectacular and a bit frightening. I'd had a whole cafetiere of coffee to myself so I thought part of my alarm might just be adrenaline pouring into my system. There were some very slim single track roads on blind corners with a precipitous fall through space in a van being the reward if you misjudged it. I could see, when I occasionally took my eyes off the road, that we were in a wild, mountain landscape. But most of the time I was watching the road.
Further along the road we saw Eoin Lennon riding his bike in to the start. We offered him a lift but he was happy with his 16 mile cycle as a warm up before the race. Peter had already been telling me that Eoin had run...15.11? for the 5K race on Friday night, so we were aware he was in good form.
Arriving at the start it was cold, but sunny and bright. Most of the competitors had that "ultra" look. Lots of compression socks, hats with visors and camel backs. There was a nice low-key atmosphere.
There were 90 sign ups for the race but I heard there were only 55 actual starters. I was, again, very pleased with this. I was in the mood for a nice, peaceful, low pressure race - and it looked like that was what I was going to get.
Below are my three race pics, taken in short succession. There was actually somebody behind me but I've managed to eclipse him with my head.
I had company for the first 2 miles as a runner came and chatted to me for a while - but then I was heating up and had to stop to take my long-sleeved top off. After that I was running pretty much tout seul. I went past a bunch of people on the first hill as there were a good number of people doing the ultra thing and walking the hills. It was no steeper than the Arthur's Seat road so I didn't feel inclined (no pun intended) to walk.
After the hill I think 4 people passed me. The whole of the 2nd half I could only see a girl who had passed me at the water stop at 9 or so miles. She was going faster than me but only a little so she gradually got smaller and smaller.
The wind was behind for the first half and in our faces for the 2nd. The course was kind of hilly but never as steep as the first hill again. In the last few miles I was still hoping the course would be a bit short. I was feeling okay, but just pretty creaky, and I had no desire to push it. I was very glad to catch sight of the dam, which meant the end, when I was at about 13 miles.
2 and a half miles later I was sitting in a camping seat eating a huge scone with jam and cream. I saw Eoin there and asked him how he got on. "Okay" he said, so I realised I needed to be more direct. "Did you win Eoin?" I asked this time. "Uh, yeah". He went for a scone too, and a big wedge of chocolate cake.
It was also lovely to see friends Richard and Christina and their baby Ben. We stood around and chatted until we got cold and then headed for home.
It was a good-sized drive home, but it was fun. I had forgotten how much I like getting out of Dodge and going to have an adventure. It helps when the sun shines brightly all weekend.
This morning it took me half an hour to climb out of bed after my alarm had gone off, knowing I would have to come back down to earth and face my CBT demons. Which is what I should be doing now.