As I blogged in ‘6 simple lessons from 3 months running 10kms‘ my 100 x 10km challenge took a blow when I recently came down with manflu. However, I was so far ahead of track I was able to absorb a two week absence.
Last week, still recovering, I jumped back into it by joining Isatou, Nike #WeRunGLA and 20 others on another scenic run from Balmaha along the shoreline of Loch Lomond. It was a nice community run, on a beautiful sunny day, followed by some delicious food (Salmon and potato salad to die for and an enormous burger) from the The Oak Tree Inn… I’m starting to enjoy this neck of the woods!
It was a gentle run, but I’ll be honest I struggled. Being sick had taken its toll and I feared I had lost a great deal of the fitness I had worked so hard to build up.
One positive, was a burning desire to get back into it. The following week was so busy it didn’t allow me to get out either, so I took the decision to join some crazy running buddies and Ultra Marathon trainers on what they call the ‘Conic Double’, up and over Conic Hill from my beloved Balmaha and back up and over again. What I only realised last minute was the ‘double’ actually meant all of that Twice!!
That’s up and over, back up and over…. up and over, back up and over… 15km of 4 climbs and 4 descents, with a total accent of close to 1000 meters!
Well, we left early (Celtic vs rangers was on later in the day) and stocked up on potassium on the way. I realised if you havn’t been up a hill before and you are about to take it on 4 times running, there’s an inevitable amount of uncertainty that helps pump adrenaline around the body, just as important as the bananas!
We set out from the Balmaha car park and took a gentle run, breaking through the forest to square up to our challenger… the ‘hill’ staring back at us with all its cunning enormity. An instant climb put us soon out of breath, I wondered if there would be any running possible. The early morning skies threatened to be quite nice. Half way up there was further motivation from the stunning view out over Loch Lomond.
Getting to the top means one thing, other than being out of breath and a little wobbly on the legs, and that is the reward of a downhill… wohoooooo… My favourite!
I couldn’t help myself but hurdle my way down, up and over the boulder steps, bringing back youthful memories of hiking across Austria where I received the nickname ‘Mountain Whippet’.
We past a few hikers along the path, so they were a bit surprised when we ran past them again on the way back, and again and again, they were very politely vocal about their strong belief that we were balmy.
On the second uphill I attempted a constant steady pace and was proud to not give in to the temptation to stop and rest. On the forth uphill I managed to dig deeper, and was proud not to give in to the temptation to roll over and cry!
Variety is the spice of life. Every time we reached the top the weather had changed, from blistering sunshine to strong winds, 4 seasons in a single run.
On the third peak, plateau and downhill a strong wind picked up, and for the first time in my 28 x 10k runs to date the wind was not smacking me in the face! This time the wind was on my side and I could feel ‘lift’ as it drove me forward like a god given gift from the skies. I did a 1km downhill in 4:05 despite having to leapfrog over boulders and a few gob-smacked hikers along the way!
A slightly different challenge, but what a stunningly beautiful place to do something a little mad. All of us finished buzzing, and unlike my first Balmaha 25km run that almost left me sick, I’m already zealous to do this one again!
Next day was a slightly different story, as I could hardly walk. The ‘Giant Hill Reps’ had taken its toll on my calfs. As I hobble rather gingerly around the office trying not to look ‘odd’ shuddering at the sight of any steps, I told myself it is all part of the training.
Thats 343km, and 29 x 10ks done, and loving it!
Don’t just do a Conic, do a Double Conic!
No Pain, no gain. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.