The last few weeks have been a bit turbulent. One of the three legs, the mental one holding up my stool of running went a bit wobbly. I lost practically all of my running mojo and struggled to get out and run even the shortest distance. I was desperately trying to repair this leg when a second, the physical one completely fell off. As I write this I'm trying to fix the stool so I can make the start of the Cateran.
So how did I manage to miss one of the main ultras of the year, and which by all accounts on social media was the best yet? I won't go into the mental side of things, I'm still working on that but I will detail the physical side.
First, I haven't been stretching, not before and not after any of my runs, even though I know I should.
Second, I changed my safety shoes at work. Something I don't like doing, particularly before races.
These trainers are the minimalist footwear of the safety world with no cushioning, minimum heel to toe drop and are very light.
Third, I stupidly used these safety trainers for a training run at work when I forgot to pack the Hokas.
Fourth, that same day, I was running with Skye, trying to teach her good running technique which exacerbated the problem.
All of the above meant I woke up Wednesday morning with calf pain. The muscle was so stiff I couldn't walk without discomfort. With only three days before the Fling, that's when it dawned that I might not be fit for this race. Needless to say, all running was postponed while I iced and tried to rest the muscle as much as possible.
All accommodation was booked and paid for so we would still be heading off for the weekend.
I still thought I could shake off this injury enough to run the Fling but was mindful that the Cateran was only three weeks later. This was a juggling act, so on Friday afternoon we drove south to the Pond Hotel where I felt the strain was easing off. I would go out for a test run then make my decision.
As soon as we arrived, I changed into my running gear. Two miles, I thought to myself. If I can run two miles pain free then I'll make my way to registration in the morning. It took ten steps to make up my mind.
There wasn't a snowball's chance in hell my calf could do this ultra. I walked back to the room and withdrew from the race.
I would still go to Milngavie on Saturday morning, I had a runner to take to the start. I took the SLR to take some pictures but felt completely out of it. I withdrew from the race too late to volunteer or help out.
I stood on the bank and took some pictures of the assembled crowd before moving to the Main Street.
The atmosphere was electric as runners assembled under the bridge. Lighting under the bridge flicked off and on adding to the tension. Then they were off to clapping and cheers, I stood taking pictures, all of which I screwed up with the wrong settings on my camera, this weekend just wasn't going well at all.
Once all the runners were through the street emptied. I decided to head back to the room and take a hot bath to aid recovery.
We had a room booked in Fort William so we fully intended to stop off at the finish and see the first runners in. It felt strange driving North on the West side of Loch Lomond, I kept glancing over to the other side, hoping to see a splash of colour through the trees, fellow runners enjoying the beautiful trail. It looked even more scenic when viewed from the wrong side, I still couldn't believe I managed to screw up my training and miss this race. We stopped and went down to the shore. I could see where the West Highland Way was by the tree line and wished I was running with friends. The rain came on just as we drove through Tyndrum where I didn't feel like stopping, I just wanted to get to Fort William and spend quality time with my family.
I would just like to say well done to John Duncan and all associated with the Fling, going by the feedback on Facebook, the high standards of this race were raised again, looks like everyone had a ball.
The race is on to recover in time for the DC110. It's not an ideal lead up to my main ultra of the year and my confidence has taken a knock but I'm determined to toe the line on 16th May. For the first time ever I've booked a sports massage, then I'll resume running this weekend. It's imperative I run pain free and consign the calf strain to history, otherwise the Cateran will be in jeopardy, that would be another tough ultra to miss.
Tuesday 7 miles. Weekly total 7 miles.