It’s when, not if

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” Theodore Roosevelt.

Training for the Devil O’ The Highlands race, or rather the lack of it, has been getting me down. I won’t go on and on about it as I know I’m still recovering from the West Highland Way Race, which I have to keep reminding myself was only 6 weeks ago and where I gave my body an absolute battering. And it could still be another few months until I’m back on track. But, ahhhh! It’s frustrating!! From being at pretty much the peak of my physical ability, having training consistently and rigorously right up until race day to now feeling like I have nothing. I have no enthusiasm, I’m still tired and things keep hurting.

But, I know things will get better.

This time last year at the top of the Devil's staircase. I wasn't feeling the love at that point either, but things soon turned around! Photo - Fiona Rennie
This time last year at the top of the Devil’s staircase. I wasn’t feeling the love at that point either, but things soon turned around! Photo – Fiona Rennie

Less than 2 months ago I asked my body to do something huge. To get me across 95 miles of trails, nearly 15000 feet of elevation, forget that sleep existed, break through barriers of pain levels I had never experienced in my life before and to get to that finish line. And some how it did all that and more in under 23 hours without falling apart.

Now I’m asking it to go back to the place where the pain level had been switched up a notch or 5 and run another race in those same grueling hills. And I’m oddly excited about it! Not excited in the way I was before the WHW race, knowing I had tapered and everything was in good working order but excited in the way I’m ready to test my body again. I may not be at my fittest, but I’m still strong as I have been churning out the yoga and Pilates classes now that I’m teaching and covering classes at my work. My hamstring flexibility is still horrific and I have to apologise every time I try and demonstrate something that requires straight legs, but that’s another story.

Training runs since the WHW race have been few and far between, but I've still been out and about!
Training runs since the WHW race have been few and far between, but I’ve still been out and about!
5 Munros in less than 30ft of visibility. In the pouring rain. I really know how to choose my friends!
5 Munros in less than 30ft of visibility. In the pouring rain. I really know how to choose my friends!
Training in summer in Scotland.
Training in summer in Scotland.

I’d love to be able to turn up on race day and be ready to give it my all, but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. I’m at the stage where I’ve shaken off most of my post WHW race niggles (feet are still in a pretty horrific state, but I’m assuming I’m now at the stage where nice feet are a thing of the past!) and just in case, I’m going for a last minute trip to the sports therapist to tape up anything that might fall apart during the race! More than anything I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again and catch up with post West Highland Way Race stories as I had to leave pretty sharpish after the presentation ceremony and didn’t get much of chance to see anyone. I know that many of them are back to their running best already and I’m looking forward to seeing how they get on.

Last year I didn’t have the best of races, even though it’s still one of my favourite races to date. I’d be more than happy to match last years time. Barring a tragedy, I will get to that finish line and will then have completed all 3 races on the West Highland way in a little over 3 months. That’s around 191 miles and roughly 30000ft of elevation. I’m starting to agree with my family that I was probably wired up a bit wrong.

The plans for after this race are to have a good recovery and then it’s back to it with gusto. I’m really looking forward to the Glenmore 12 race in September and also finishing off the year with Glen Ogle round 4. Hopefully breaking through the 5 hour barrier to finish off a pretty epic year of racing! BAM crew – please don’t move the finish line further away again this year, I’m so close!

See you on the start line!

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