Things were going swimmingly well, recovering from a torn ankle ligament meant chocolate biscuits, crisps, peanuts and beers whenever I wanted. I'd give him the order and off he'd trot to fulfil my request. I managed to stop him from running, convincing him he needed to rest and recover rather than run in the dark. I even managed to dissuade him from doing ankle strengthening exercises, the wobble board stayed firmly packed away while we lounged on the sofa watching tv.
Things went downhill on Friday though, my life of excess and slumber came to an abrupt halt. I knew he hadn't withdrawn from the GO33 but I wasn't too concerned as time went on. There wasn't the usual pre ultra activity of drop bag packing or looking out the required kit. I convinced him the seven hour round trip and early departure wasn't worth it, plus he'd only ran 15 miles in two months.
We came home from work, I gave him the usual Friday night order - it's the weekend, go get a beer. He reached into the cupboard and took out a North Face water bottle. WTF? I said a beer, you've made a mistake, put it back! He didn't put it back, instead we spent the next two hours arguing as he dug out a back pack, running kit, a foil blanket and food. I told him this was not on, he was forsaking a Friday night of beers and Saturday morning long-lie to shuffle in the rain.
I'll foil this in the morning, the alarm was set for 3 o'clock, there's no way he'll get up at that time. Sure enough the iphone chimed at 3, switch it off and turn over , that's my boy, time for some serious sleep. 0320 and up he gets, I almost had him, he almost fell into a deep sleep before getting up. You're going to pay for this, I'm going to make your race hell for going against my wishes Georgey boy.
I sat in the corner mulling things over while he drove to Killin, there was a glimmer of hope when he got lost at Dunkeld but google maps soon had him on the right road along Loch Tay. We were directed to park at a grass field in Killin, he could barely contain his excitement.
Yeah yeah, go and register and chat with your like minded ultra buddies, I'll just sit and wait.
So off we went, through the main street of Killin, we all disrupted local traffic as hundreds of runners ran past the Falls of Dochert. As vehicles slowly followed behind runners I managed to sneak in some negative vibes, telling him he's not fit enough and could hardly keep up. I felt the relief as he turned off the road and hit the uphill forest section.
And so I began my assault, I called on lungs to restrict oxygen. He struggled to get into a rhythm while I suggested turning back. It wasn't too far to turn back and call it a day, after all he hadn't trained for this. He wouldn't listen though and carried on panting up the steep trail.
We eventually reached the forest summit, he was stubborn, and began the descent to checkpoint one. It was time to throw another spanner in the works, bowels, do your stuff and stop this nonsense. What do you mean there's nothing you can do?? If I can rely on anything to ruin a race it's the runners trots! He went before the start? Damn it!
Escorted across the road and straight through the checkpoint he went, still dragging me along. He's enjoying this now, the spectacular view from the railway line down Glen Ogle keeps a spring in his step but I'm not finished yet, I have more disruption planned.
At least I can rely on someone in my quest to stop this run, hip flexors step forward and take a bow. Lack of training meant something had to give, look how he runs like John Wayne, keep up the good work.
Checkpoint two and he had the audacity to run straight through, Mr smarty pants has carried all he needed. Just after the checkpoint he consumed a boiled egg and packet of crisps, stomach, I'll be calling on your services soon.
He was really hurting on these road miles, not only that but a fellow runner told him we have to run back up Glen Ogle. It was time to ping in some negativity and break his spirit, especially as it started to rain.
He likes autumn, soft golden pine needle covered trails, leaves displaying colours from green through to copper, mist rising from lochs and rivers, I couldn't have this positivity, time to call on my old pal stomach to break things up. Come on, where is the nausea? Threaten to throw up! Refuse to take any form of food. What do you mean you're fine? Oh yes, you know who your friends are, just sit in the corner and consume the eggs, cheese, crisps and twix, I'm all right jack eh? Don't forget it's me who looked after you and got you to this size. Don't come running to me when he decides to start a training regime, you and I are finished.
He was not in a good place, the penultimate checkpoint came and went, then back up Glen Ogle. It was a steady incline and all I had left to disrupt the race was muscles and tendons. The hip flexors were doing a good job but I needed something else to chuck a spanner in the works. With seven miles to go, step forward my old pal, Achilles tendon. Achilles tendon last disrupted running back in 2007 which sidelined him for five weeks, this was a pain he was not going to take chances with. In fact he thought his race was over and so I thought I won before he stopped at the side of the trail and took his shoe off. He must have applied the physio tape too tight which affected the tendon. He removed the tape, put the shoe back on and almost danced up the trail, the pain was gone and I was running out of ideas.
Final checkpoint, some familiar faces including one of the race directors - Bill. Coke, he was needing coke but all that was left was a dribble at the bottom of a bottle, ha ha. He was kicked out of the checkpoint for the last, mostly downhill 4 miles of the race. I made it as uncomfortable as possible, downhill comes as a blessing for most runners but not for Georgey boy today. With aches and pains he made his way down being passed by countless runners and willing for the finish.
Back through Killin he dragged me, on the pavements this time towards the park, then a circuit round the park before running under the finish arch and another ultra medal, one he didn't think was possible after injury.
So thanks a bunch Bill and Mike. Thanks to you and your team of BAM volunteers putting on a great race, George had an amazing time and got his mojo back. He's going to start training again and is talking about doing Marcothon... mmmbbbwwwaaaa..... :-( :-(
Saturday 33. Weekly total 33 miles,