Saturday, June 26, 2010

Highlights from West Highland Way - 2010

I am proud of this one! Last year as I towed the start line I had no idea of what lay ahead of me - this year I knew the monster I was about to undertake and the pain I may meet again. I had a plan for taking care of my feet and a plan for almost anything that might arise. But would it be enough? It was a busy year with taking on the MSc program at SFU. My training was different this year - maybe it was better? I now really appreciate the meaning of the courage to start. It took a lot of courage and inner belief for me to start the 2010 WHW. Neil and I did it together again - it is much simpler for crew and I really enjoy his companionship and support out there!

Final preparation before the start.

Supportive encouragement from Neil.

Supportive encouragement from Charles...he is packed and ready for a long weekend!

I can...I can...I can do it.Race briefing. The start included a respectful acknowledgement of Dario and Gillian sent us on our way.
The sun is rising - what a beautiful day
Coming up Conic Hill

Taking in the views of Loch Lomond.

The end of the Loch. Nice!

Lots of Ferns!

Under the viaduct on the way to Auchtertyre Farm

Changing socks, shoes and re tapping the feet as required. We did this at each stop to help the feet - this was our foot care plan. It made the foot pain less intense but they were still very tender at times. Charles had the foot care and taping technique down to a fine art.

Neil enjoying an ice cream cone at Tyndrum. Thanks Graeme for fetching them for us! When we left you Neil mumbled that 2 scoops would have been good. ;-) Highland Cows

Picture taken by pacer of another runner between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy.

Complete change of clothes at Bridge of Orchy - dry clothes and warmer clothes preparing for the evening. Oh and I brushed my teeth here too - it felt great!

Murdo had the Scottish flag flying at his checkpoint - nice touch!

On our way to Victoria Bridge - the sun is becoming lower in the sky.

Still moving forward!

The next morning...heading towards Fort William. It was a clear night and a bit cold that required us to add another layer of clothing.

Almost the edge of the parking lot of the Leisure Center.


Final weigh weight has gone up at the last 2 weigh ins. Too much fluid and S -Caps.
Not good!

The toast of completion - whisky in the quaich. Well done Neil! The Finish!

Receiving our Crystal Goblets at the Prize Giving. We only had 20 minutes of sleep prior.
We did it!!
We arrived back in Canada on Tuesday at 9pm - up early for work on Wed. We did manage a bike ride and 2 runs this week. Overall we have done really well considering we completed 95 miles and have jet lag (8 hour time difference) all in the same week.
The video clip is from the down side of the Devils Staircase. Thought those of you whom have never seen it in the dark might appreciate it. ;-) We made it to the prize giving and had the opportunity to speak with John K, Jim Drummond and others. We had some lunch and then a quick nap prior to the post event party at the pub. Graeme and Fiona joined us all for the post race party. We managed to stay until the end. Great to meet Richie the winner, Marco and Debs, Sharon, Caroline and Neal. We had been back and forth with Keith and George throughout the day so we were able to share some battle stories. Not including the little naps we had we were up for @ 62 hours! Now that is a test of endurance!
Thank-you to the race committee who made this years event possible. You did a fantastic job!
We will be back!
Carolyn and Neil

Monday, June 21, 2010

32 Hours, 17 minutes and 20 seconds - Finished!


All is well! We have had minimal access to the internet or computer since we finished. Quick post to inform you the journey on the 95 mile West Highland Way was a success. The weather was perfect - not a cloud in the sky until the last hour of the event. The feet were better this year due to Charles' great taping techniques. Heading out for dinner - last night in Edinburgh. Back to Canada tomorrow! Full report to follow soon!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

North Berwick and Final Run

Bass Rock - North Berwick
Enjoying the sea side cafe.

Neil having a coffee

Neil's Dad and I on the beach!

Jumping over the wet spots on the beach!

Heading down - almost done.

Coming up the grass on Arthur's Seat.

The Royal Mile - John Knox's House

It was a beautiful morning. We walked down the Royal Mile to Arthur's Seat and had a short run on the grass and the same path we did on Tuesday minus the climb to the top. Everything felt good and I think we are now pretty well over the jet lag. On our way back up the Royal Mile we came upon a great little shoe store. I found the cutest pair of Tartan shoes - Doc Martin's. Oh and a nice pair of red shoes with the perfect heel height for work. I felt sorry for the shop assistant as we had just finished our run in running gear we have now worn a few times without washing!! -nasty! It was such a beautiful day we decided to go for a drive to North Berwick. We picked up Neil's Dad and were there in no time. The area was stunning as we drove by many famous Golf Courses such as Gullane, Aberlady and North Berwick. We had a walk on the beach and bite to eat at a sea side cafe. Tomorrow we are resting, packing up our purchases and preparing our gear. We will have dinner at Charles and Jane's, pack the car and then start the journey with Charles to Milngavie. We plan to leave Edinburgh around 9:30 - 10ish which should have us in Milngavie in plenty of time. Weather forecast looks favourable for the weekend - maybe even a bit warm!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

West Highland Way Lunch and Evita

From far left: Keith, Murdo, Robert, From far right: Neil, Chris and Ian.
Jack and Neil post play tonight at the school.

Church spire with Edinburgh Castle in the background. Near our flat on the Mound.

Today we met up with folks participating in the WHW for lunch at Henderson's in the Church Crypt just off Princes Street. Thanks for gathering us Murdo! The weather was warm and we sat outside on picnic tables. It was nice to connect with people who are as crazy as us! We shared plans for the event and stories from past events. It made the WHW seem more real for me today and it brought back more vivid memories of the journey. It also brought out a bit of fear in me and the reality of what I am getting myself into. Some of us who gathered today are a bit more crazy than the rest - enough said for now! ;-) The committee has been working very hard to launch another great WHW event. Murdo reminded us of the Dario Memorial book that he has placed along the route. Neil and I will have a look for it and hopefully find the book and sign it.
After lunch we walked to Run 4 It - Neil bought a Steven Fallon book on Classic Hill Runs and Races in Scotland. (I think he has a few in mind...the Cateran Trail Run is in the area where his family farm was growing up). Next stop Tiso's where I found a pair of Merrell light hikers (like a sturdy trail shoe) for the last half of the event. The shoe is designed with the heel dropped slightly taking the pressure off the ball of the foot...this might be good!!
Tonight we did a quick food/drink shop to Tesco's and bought water/coke/Lucozade/crips ( a massive 26 pack bag - lots of good flavours Graeme - for us and the crew.)
This evening we attended Jack's school play "Evita". It was very well done and we ended up sitting next to Neil's previous Physical Education teacher. He knew Neil had emigrated to Canada and managed to round up a few other teachers in the intermission to catch up with us. Unfortunately Neil did not even mention he was here to tackle the WHW 95 miles. I think that would have scored him a few points in the P.E. Department!
After the show we had dinner at Gennarios an Italian Restaurant in the Grassmarket. We enjoyed our "last supper" here before WHW last year. Tomorrow we need to gather the bits and pieces required for sustenance along the way. We plan to go out for a light trot when we wake up in the morning - this is just for confidence building to remind us that the legs can still go!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Arthurs Seat

Edinburgh Castle
Carolyn running at the base of Arthur's Seat.

Carolyn running down the grass on Arthur's Seat

Carolyn coming off the top of Arthur's Seat - note the pretty purple flowers blooming in the rock.

Neil with Edinburgh in the background.

Carolyn running down Salisbury Crags.

Neil running along the side of Salisbury Crags.

The view of Princes Street from our room.

Today we had a bit of a sleep in. A good thing considering we have been staying up too late with the jet lag. I felt better today because of the good rest. It's amazing how the flight and time change really throw you off. The last few days I felt really dehydrated despite drinking lots of water. I think last night's Thai Food (with plenty of salt!!) perhaps helped with the electrolyte imbalance I was feeling. Today we bought some Lucozade which I think also helped. We had another great visit and dinner with Charles, Jane, Jack and Dad tonight. We started talking about race day and the stops for the crew. Tomorrow we are meeting some fellow participants in the WHW for lunch. We hope to confirm a few of the changes for our crew this year.
Late morning we had a climb up Arthur's Seat and a run down and around. It was great to play around up there today. After cleaning up back at the flat we had some good shopping time in Edinburgh. A few wee gifts were purchased as well as a few pieces of clothing for us. (OK...for me! ;-)