Guest Blog – WHW Race crewing 2018 by Joanna Murphy.

One of my brilliant friends had written a blog post on her side of the West Highland Way race. Enjoy!
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The race from a crewing perspective!

I can’t remember exactly when I was enrolled to Iona’s support crew but I think it was shortly after the 2017 race. I knew for sure I wanted a year away from racing this myself but couldn’t bear not to be involved. Despite having run the race twice myself and enlisted the help of my own support crews, I have never previously been on the other side.

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The Highland Fling 2018 – RACE REPORT

The Highland Fling 2018

TIME: 10 Hours 07 Minutes and 09 Seconds

OVERALL : 107th/673 finishers

GENDER: 13th/186 females

run finish

The Highland Fling 2018 was to be not only my first ‘A’ race of the season, but my first race of the season. My run training went downhill in January after a foot injury threw me off course and I wasn’t back to high weekly mileage until the end of February, which meant about 5 weeks of proper training before the taper began. What could possibly go wrong?!
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RACE REPORT – The River Ayr Way Challenge 2017

The River Ayr Way Challenge

TIME: 6 Hours 26 Minutes and 45 Seconds

OVERALL : 10th/69 finishers

GENDER: 1st/15 females

After a few months of a blog hiatus I think I’ve finally found my run and write mojo again! My recovery from the Great Glen was slow, painful and tedious and even after a 2 week holiday which was spent gallivanting around Eastern Europe and over a month of “easier” training, I still didn’t have the desire to push myself 100%. Even new kit didn’t inspire me and my lack of speed was really getting me down as I watched friends getting faster and faster and I was struggling to complete an interval session without getting frustrated.

And then something suddenly felt right again. Whether I had just taken some pressure off myself or had finally recovered from the pounding I put my body through at the Great Glen, I don’t know. But I finally felt positive about my running again, I wasn’t feeling out of breath after the first mile and I was ready to get things back on track. After a few months of deciding what races I really wanted to focus on in the latter part of the year (I think this plan changed about 5 or 6 times, but I think I’ve finally got it right!), the River Ayr Way Challenge was chosen to be my next big push.
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The final countdown…

The hidden trails after Rowardennan. Definitely worth hunting out.
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The swimming term is coming to an end and just as well as I am completely exhausted. The kids have been bouncing off the walls for close to a month now, knowing that the summer holidays are fast approaching and my staff and I are counting down the minutes until the term ends! Then it’s straight on to fitness class cover which isn’t really the perfect preparation for a huge race, but needs must and I’ll just keep the impact low and my drill sergeant voice on top form!

As ever, I’ve found the whole work/life/training balance hard and I’m still not getting it quite right. I took on a few more 1-2-1 swimming lessons in my own time, so even on beautiful nights I found myself heading home after work, putting a cushion over my head on the couch to block out the light and passing out for a good 20 minutes before getting out to do my training. I’ve been following a Neil MacNicol training programme now since March and I’m definitely feeling stronger and leaner, but also 10 times more knackered and still haven’t found my love for speed work. Does anyone ever? I do struggle with speed work on my own, but with very little time to now get to running club I find if I have a plan I will (mostly) follow it even if I don’t really feel like it. My speed will come back, for now it’s all about the endurance.
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RACE REPORT – The Cateran 55 Ultra marathon

CATERAN 55 ULTRA MARATHON 2017

TIME:10 Hours 34 Minutes and 4 Seconds

OVERALL :27th/92 finishers (8 DNF)

GENDER: 4th/26 females

My first attempt at the Cateran in 2015 was the first time I’d ran further than 33 miles. I was nervous and probably a little under trained having just come back from injury but I had a great day out and finished in a not too shabby 11 hours 30 minutes. Heading up this year I had an idea of what time I wanted and sourced some splits from check point to check point from previous races. I noted these down with the plan to jot them on my hand the following morning as a rough guide.

After work on Friday I headed home, finished my packing and headed through to Stirling to pick up Lois who was marshalling and then head North to Glenshee. Once again I was staying in the Gulabin Lodge which is right on the start line and meant not too much stressing about time and getting things done before the race. Once we arrived I went about registering, picking up my lovely kit bag memento (an awesome light blue colour this year), saying hi to all my friends and finding my room. I was staying in a room with the lovely Stonehaven ladies: Claire, Jo and Lindsay and being the last to arrive was up on the top bunk of a seriously shoogly bed. Every time I moved the whole bed shook, so apologies to Jo if you felt like there was an earthquake during the night!!
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