It was pitch black and raining outside, as I was applying suncream. Like ultra-distance running, the Scottish weather is fickle. You never quite know what you'll get, so best be prepared for all eventualities.
So it was my first Highland Fling. 53.3 miles will a little 6000ft of ascent and a nice 6am start. All uninviting factors, but I was so bloody excited.
Anyone who is interested in Scottish running blogs, will have probably read a few race reports, so I'm going to try and keep this short and sweet. Well, short anyway.
I went off too fast. Made a comment about road shoes being fine for the terrain...and then took an arse-over-elbow tumble down Conic Hill. Paid for my over zealous start in the second section. Picked up after Inversnaid and picked off a few runners in the process. At the start I had joked with JK as I turned my back on him and told him to get used to the sight - little did I know he would so easily oblige! :-) I Had a bit of battle from Beinglas with Helen Johnson - who has previously put me in my place. I was VERY brave with the beasts at Coo Poo Junction, as after 46m I didn't care if they killed me. I managed to pull away from Helen after Crianlarich, but she made me work for it.
The last few miles were a bit stop-start and every bump was a mountain. A girl was running out from Tyndrum and informed me I was third lady. Surely not. I thought Helen and I were going for 1st vet. I just assumed Lucy Colquhoun had finished so far ahead of everyone, that said girl hadn't noticed her.
I walked the last teeny weeny hill on the tarmac road passed By the Way. I joked with a smiling and cheering family that I was saving it for the final sprint. Heading through gates and down the rocky path, I heard bagpipes tuning up. I'm not usually a fan of the ol' pipes, but it was the most amazing touch. My own personal welcoming party.
I'm not even sure I heard anyone cheering as I approached the finishing gantry. I was in my own little state of euphoria. Mrs JK had to scream at my to "click in" and Muriel had to physically remove the chip from my wrist.
I spotted the Gibbering Midget who informed me I was 3rd, behind her 2nd and (obviously!) Lucy's 1st position. As we were jumping about shrieking, I thought she was sharing my excitement. I later discovered her shrieks were because I was jumping on her toes :-)
So finishing third (in 9:48hrs) behind two WHWR winners? That's nothing to be snuffed at. I think race organiser, Murdo, was just as excited at his top three girls as we were.
Sonic finished 3rd too - which was quite uncanny. Even more so that the Crazy German was just ahead in 2nd position. Considering Sonic and the CG train together and so do the Gibbering Midget and I...I think it's a good way to continue.
The GM, Karen Mac and I also won the first ladies team prize, so it was a good day for Garscube all round.
We enjoyed quite a few beers between finishing and the presentation. Funniest moment was when waiting for our team name to be announced, the hand of god (via JK) came from above and whipped the bottles of beer out of our hands followed by the words: "you're not going up there with them!" and the chorus reply: "Sorry, Dad!".
Big huge thanks to Murdo, Ellen and all the wonderful stewards. Congrats to all starters and finishers. Special congrats to first time Flingers, Silke, Karen Mac and Rachel I'm-never-doing-it-again-but-already-planning-next-year. Yes, ultra-running is like child birth. Refer to previous post.