Showing posts with label West Highland Way Race. Show all posts
Showing posts with label West Highland Way Race. Show all posts

Monday, 16 June 2014

Panic training for the WHW Race

Thankfully it is not me I am referring to. It is Brother Calderwood.

The Highland Fling was somewhat of a wake up call on how his minimal training might have been enough to get him through the Fling, but not the West Highland Way Race.

So, did he then sensibly devise a training plan and pace himself? Pffft, did he heck. Panic training is what us Calderwoods do best!

So when he asked a couple of weeks ago if I fancied a long run on the West Highland Way. I, still high from finishing The Highland Fling, responded "sure, why not?".

That "long run" was 37 miles. Since it took me 2 weeks to be able to walk properly after the fling and 3 sports massages, I was a little dubious about knocking out that kind of mileage again. Especially when the only training I have done was bicep curls with a large glass of wine.

Our estimated time to complete was longer than our fling times. The train fare was double the cost of our fling entries; without any bottles of wine, t-shirts or baked potatoes. All in all it was not looking to be as much fun.

And it wasn't.

On race day adrenaline and sheer mental strength can get you through 53 miles. On a training run, you are relying on bullying from your brother, jelly beans and piri piri humus wraps. Wraps that you told your brother (who is completely adverse to any spices what-so-ever) were normal humus wraps, resulting in him nearly punching you in the face at the top of the devils staircase.

We got through it (Bridge Of Orchy to Fort William), but I feel this picture on the train home really summed me up at the end.

I need to seriously start thinking about doing some proper training if I am intending on running any 53 miles races or 37 mile training runs any time soon...ohh wait...I am my Brothers support runner for the WHW race.

Anyone up for a 37 mile training run and some piri piri humus wraps this weekend?

Looking strong...3 miles in.

Brother Calderwood looking strong coming out of Kinlochleven, post can of Irn Bru and packet of Salt and Vinegar Golden Wonders - food of champions.

Selfie - cos we are cool.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

What time is it? It's Marcothon time!

What time is it? It's (nearly) Christmas time...

What does that mean to us runners? Aside from our social calendars filling up quicker than me at the Pizza Hut buffet?!?!

It means...

Starbucks RED cup time...ohhh yes...Toffee Nut Lattes, Eggnog Lattes and best of all Gingerbread Lattes! Nom nom nom nom...

No! Only kidding, although the red cups are my cue to start ramping up the red wine consumption.

This year for me it means Marcothon!

Why? Why NOT is the question!

On a serious note the WHY? is because I have been accepted into the West Highland Way Race 2013! And how do you train for a 96 mile trail race? Well I like to think running is a good start, even if it is for 3 miles each day (or 25 minutes whichever comes quicker).

I'll admit, running on Christmas Day does seem strange to me. The thought of having to tear myself away from my newest cabbage patch doll seems unbearable.

But I have to give it try. God loves a trier.  But he loves me more.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

WHW training run...with Spiderman!

In my continued attempt to establish a fitness base worthy of an entry into the West Highland Way race 2013, I signed up for a 43 mile training run on Sat 24th November, organised by Ian Minty.

Clearly I would not be able to complete the full 43 mile run, however I was aiming to complete the first 22ish miles from Tyndrum to the base of the Devil's Staircase.

So at 8am, four of us (Ross Lawrie, Paul Houston, Ian Minty and myself) met at the Green Welly Stop. Prepared for the four seasons of weather that Scotland can offer in any one day, our backpacks resembled those of the hill walkers setting off for a week long trek. Mine in particular was the heaviest - despite the fact I would be running the least distance.

And off we went. The initial climb out of Tyndrum set the tone of the run, my layers started to come off and Ross' camera came out.  Whilst I spent every hour removing one of my 40 layers of clothing, Ross resembled a superhero, climbing up rocks trying to get the best angle for his amazing photographs.

Later I found out that Ross' ninja/superhero poses were well practiced - he actually impersonates our favourite comic character - Spiderman, for charities such as Make a Wish foundation and Chas.  I was in the presence of a Legend.

Aside from Ross' ability to climb cars and bins, I'm sure you will all agree with me his photographic ability is amazing... check out some of the pictures from the run below (there are more on my picasa album if you're interested).

To summarise, I completed the full 22 miles and had a great day out. I don't like to give a step by step encounter, as it can be REALLY boring to i'll let the photos tell the story of the run.

Climb out of Tyndrum:

Climb out of Bridge of Orchy (I am in the bottom right hand corner):

Snack stop on the Rannoch Moor - runner style - no hands!

I can also impersonate a childhood character Ross... Budgie the helicopter:

Descent into Glencoe. We met the boys brigade along with Colin he isn't a member...he was chasing us... who were running behind him... yep, i'll let you figure that one out:

Climb out of Kingshouse:

Minty and I on the home straight (run to base of Devil's Staircase!)

And Finally... 

Random item of the post - "Dummies Dance South Africa"

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Team GB and The Giant Scottish Midgie

Quite a while back, I signed to go down to the Olympics with some of the running gals - a flippant decision that turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

And what weekend did we pick? SUPER SATURDAY!!!

The Scottish Midgie and Co (Alison Winship, Carol Anne Thomson, Me, Kathryn Pennel (The Midgie), Ryan Thomson, Jessica Oliver-Bell and Avril Mason) with the torch.

Equipped with a union jack scarf and some Team GB face stickers we were like tourists on steroids. I've worked and visited London millions of times (that's means "a lot" to the non weedgies), but an outsider would have thought I had never been out in public, let alone been to London before.

This was fuelled by Garscube's wonderful Alison Winship and Pitreavie's Kathryn Pennel.  So innocent and excitable, even when I was trying to be a miserable cow (which comes naturally to me), I couldn't help but get drawn into the their excitable aura. At times, I did think that perhaps we shouldn't be allowed out in public...

Especially when Ali, on more than one occasion, decided to fashion a piece of clothing out of a plastic bag and the fact that we were walking around with Kath dressed as a giant midgie...

But I had fun, and after a while, I no longer noticed the giant midgie... except when the antennae poked me in the eye... and when I had to sit beside her in an Italian restaurant. 

I won't dwell about the weekend, as it will only make me sad. But to summarise... we held the Olympic torch, met a gold medalist (& medal), met athletes, met ex athletes (Roger Black), met randoms, sent postcards with the "official" Olympic stamp, partied in Hyde park, screamed at Bradley Wiggins, screamed at McFly, screamed watching Jess, Mo and Gregg, screamed with what was left of our voices for Team GB (especially Freya) during the marathon, watched Andy Murray, watched the 100m on the train crammed round an ipad with strangers... I could go on and on and on about everything wonderful and eventful that was crammed into that weekend! A selection of pictures below:




It was truly inspiring...perhaps that's what they intended, as I handed over the credit card for some Team GB gear. Ohh well. Can bailiffs confiscate clothing?

Along with the Olympics, I was inspired by fellow Scottish athletes in the weeks that followed, namely the Scottish gals, Debbie Martin Consani and Sharon Law, who both did Scotland proud in the IAU 24 hour ultra running championships.

High on inspiration, I've now entered the Devil of the Highlands and Highland Fling races....and the West Highland Way Race - eeek!

Better get my (larger than normal) ass back running.

There's a midgie in my room...

Monday, 20 August 2012

Those who can't run, support

Better late than never? I have been prompted into blogging action after receiving this email
from my friend:

“Just checked your blog

Knee high grass, boarded up windows, spiderwebs.

The neighbourhood kids say it’s haunted.”

Those who can’t run, support

You may not know this but I had actually entered the WHW race for 2012. In case you may
have missed/ignored/skimmed my first post, I ended up injured quite early on into that ambition
which ultimately took me out of the game. Supporting my brother (Craig Calderwood) and my
surrogate brother (David Gow) therefore became the only running I would be doing at this
year's WHW race. Even then, there were moments when this looked ambitious.

I'm sure there are PLENTY of detailed runners and support blogs out there covering the WHW I'm doing another one. But I will keep it brief and filled with pictures :)

What a year eh? It rained, it poured and I was snoring. I usually swear by the mantra that your
skin is waterproof. However, it was just SO cold and wet and awful, that even my bacon roll got
wet whilst I was snuggled up, wrapped in a sleeping blanket and drinking my coffee.


Bless them all. How Terry Conway got a record in those conditions is UNBELIEVABLE. What
is more unbelievable is the thought of what time he could do under "normal" conditions.

The Food

David and Craig's Grub. Not showing the masses of sandwiches that would have put
the teddy bears picnic to shame and enough pizza that would have put Pizza Hut out of
business (if Pizza Hut decided to open up branches at Rowardennan, Bridge of Orchy and


The Start

<Video stolen from UltraPyllon's YouTube channel>

I ran support for my brother with David in 2011 and we covered the last 26 miles. Whilst it was
no comedy show - we had a "laugh". There was banter, jokes, chuckles and smiles all round.
Having a "laugh" at 60+ miles I hear you cry! Surely Craig did not try hard enough someone
asks. I'll let you decide... #musttryharder

But there were no chuckles this year. The only voice that could be heard for the last 26 miles
(my support leg) was my monotonous tones constantly asking "Beans, Discos, Chocolate or
Irn Bru?" When we hit flat or downhill I felt like I was walking my dog, The Duke. I would
shout "right" which is usually how I'd summon Duke to stop him rolling about in the mud and
come along but in this case it was my code to Craig and David to stop them rolling around in
the mud and start running again.

Like a horrendous hangover there was the vow to never ever EVER do it again. From now on
they were only going to be support runners… £100 says they do it next year.

I don't want to say "highlights" so I'll call them my memorable support moments:

Derrydaroch – Disqualified
We walked down knowing it wasn't an official support spot, intending to offer nothing but our
kind words. However, we were advised that not being an official support spot meant our kind
words were also not allowed and we could get the boys disqualified. As we were being
escorted away this is was, of course, the moment the boys came down the hill. Thinking that
we had given up waiting they were screaming at the top of their lungs "HEEYYY, Mum, Carol,
Stephanie, Heather, HEEYY, coke, vaseline, HEYY HEY HE H H.... ....". We turned and like
some cruel game, gave a wave, and then walked off. I have never seen 2 grown men look so
dejected or heartbroken. I kind of liked it. It was like a cruel game of support team teasing.

Bridge of Orchy – Car thieves
Stephanie (David's Missus) locked her keys in her car, this was funny for all of about 5
seconds until we realised the boys were due in any minute. Some people asked if they could
help. Stephanie's panic stricken reply was "Yes, do you have a black bag and some masking
tape?". The fathers "politely" told her that no f***ing window was getting smashed. The guys,
with the help of some AMAZING volunteers and marshalls, managed to use a knife, a donated
umbrella and fishing wire to open a window and then used some sturdier wire they acquired
(from somewhere?) to Crystal Maze style hook and drag the keys out. My other half then
handed us some Greggs doughnuts he had bought and left.


Glencoe – Drunk
The boys sat in very hot cars for 25 minutes. This was not good. John Kennedy and I were
supporting them from this point and, just as well, as the two of them looked and sounded
drunk! The poor souls were slurring words and staggering. Whilst talking to my brother I
realised he was running with his eyes closed. I promptly punched him on the arm, whipped
down his hood and whipped off his thermal hat giving him a face full of wind and rain. He then
cried (quite literally) "Why are you doing that?". "To wake you up boy!" was my reply. He was
then warned that if he did not wake up he was getting chucked into the first burn I saw! Tough
love people that's how I roll.... no hugs and kisses from me! Thermal hat confiscated and icy
cold burns are what you get!

Kinlochleven - Midgies
Despite climbing up the hill, the rain had eased off and the midges had descended in for their attack. Through the dark midges nets we had limited moments of banter and chuckles. Moments that were so limited in the last 26 miles that they have become memorable. One moment I recall was David coming off a hill, only 1 mile after Kinlochleven thinking he was on the descent into Lundavra. Ohh how excited he got, he nearly started skipping. Until Craig and I looked at each other in a state of confusion and Craig broke the news that we were about 6 miles from Lundavra. That must have been a long 6 miles for David after that.

Fort William – Happy Ending
But of course every story has to have a happy ending and THEY DID IT – 23 hours and 2
minutes! They overcame some obstacles (turns out David’s sore shin was a stress fracture!) so I think you will all agree that 23 hours, with a stress fracture and in those conditions is pretty AWESOME!

It's all about me
My support leg (Glencoe to Fort William) took 6.5 hours (Garmin link here). Personally, I think the last 26 miles is probably the toughest section and the conditions only made it worse. But I really enjoyed it. I felt good, there was no injury niggles and it’s the first long run I have done in the last few weeks where I haven't had a hangover. Overall I felt pretty GREAT :)

So will Craig and David do the race again next year? There's only one way to decide...FIIIGGGHHHTTT....

Well actually, I was thinking a poll, but you gotta love Harry Hill. However, I have not worked out how to add one, so I'll save it for November when the 2013 entries open ;)