25 Dec 2006 08:15:14
Tim Downie
Way Highland West run report

It's 5 o'clock in the morning of Christmas day and I've barely slept a wink
since finishing my run at midday on the 23rd. Not because I'm excited
about Christmas but because of a tsunami like urge to record my experience
onto something more permanent than my leaky memory.

This isn't so much a report as therapy. If it's a bit rough around the
edges, forgive me.

Background info
(for those who know nothing about the West Highland Way)

The West Highland Way is a long distance footpath that runs from Milngavie
train station (NW Glasgow) to Fort William, It's 95 miles long, has 11,000
feet of ascent and is noted for it's stunning scenery and fickle weather.
The majority of walkers traverse it from south to north and the annual
mid-summer WHW race does likewise. My run was born out of disappointment as
missing this year's race due to a metatarsal stress fracture sustained in
training.

I found it hard to come to terms with missing the mid-summer race and after
a couple of months I had the notion of running it on the shortest day of the
year (instead of the longest). The idea had a pleasing symmetry,
particularly when combined with the thought of running it in the reverse
direction from Fort William to Glasgow. Calling it the "Way Highland West"
was a narrative imperative.

I floated the idea amongst the UK ultra-running community and all but three
thought I was barking. Of those three, only one was keen, my friend David
McLelland who had run the race earlier in the year.

Training

Fitness-wise, I'd had a year of ups and downs. I started the year with
three months of 200+ miles and dropped my 5K PB to 19:09. In April my foot
bust, May 0 miles (but lots of x-training), June (after an 8 week layoff)
86 miles, July 26 miles (long holiday in the States), August 158, September
139, October 179 (Loch Ness marathon 3:29), November 239 & December 55.

With hindsight is was easy to see that throwing myself into those 200+ mile
months so early in the year after running 130s to 140s the year before was
just asking for trouble.

Having survived the Loch Ness marathon David and I started working out
logistics, gear and training. The weather was always going to be the joker
in the pack and all we could do in preparation was to train in whatever
conditions prevailed and invest in lots of technical running gear. Knowing
that we spend a *lot* of time in the dark we did several of our long
training runs in the evening to test out our head torches. I think we chose
well with the Princeton Tec apex torches. They served us well although I'm
sure some of the other new high-powered LED head torches would also have
worked.

Training went well up to the end of November when we did our longest run
(mostly in the dark) over Conic Hill (38 miles). December brought
torrential rain and my wife's aunt to stay and training took a nosedive. I
wasn't too worried however as the run was never going to be about speed and
I was more terrified of suffering another stress fracture than I was of not
being fit enough.

The run

After a night spent at Nevis Bank Hostel in Fort William, David and I, along
with my sister and daughter acting as support crew (SC) headed out to the
official signpost marking the end of the West Highland Way. At 8:00 am we
jogged off into the darkness up Glen Nevis through the forest roads. The
brooding bulk of Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest mountain was lost in low
cloud but the valley floor with Christmas lights twinkling on a large tree
was rather enchanting. The sky was lightening quickly but the denseness of
the forest in parts meant that we needed our head torches of the first half
hour of running. Despite the torrential rain earlier in the month,
conditions underfoot weren't too bad at all. A steady fine drizzle was
annoying though, particularly as I had forgotten to pack my contact lenses
and spent the next 60 miles wiping my glasses. On the whole, the weather
was kind to us in the sense that it could have been a whole lot worse. It
was relatively mild (est. 6-8C) but much of the time we were running through
a
steady fine rain.

We met our SC at Lundavra, just 6 miles into our run, not so much because we
needed anything but try and alleviate their boredom. Having helped out with
support in the summer race, I was acutely aware of how tedious it can be.
As it happened, whilst putting my head torch away, I spotted my nipple tape
in my bag. Oops! Very nearly ran a 95 mile train *without* any nipple
protection. So, as it turned out, it was a timely meeting.

About 10 miles into our run another hill runner came back up the path from
Kinlochleven to join us and accompanied us down into Kinlochleven and back
out over the
Devil's Staircase to Altnafeadh & Kingshouse (which is about 25 miles into
the route). We met our SC again in Kinlochleven. Another ultra running
acquaintance had predicted that we'd
probably see no more than 5 walkers on the WHW at this time of year. As we
jogged towards Kingshouse, we passed walkers 4 & 5, the last we were to see.
As we passed, I thought one of them was asking me for the time, I looked at
my watch and realised that he was saying "Is it Tim?" Turned out to be a
chap from my year at university who I'd spammed with a begging sponsorship
email. Fortunately he wasn't the axe-wielding grudge-holding type and was
accompanying his daughter for part of the WHW. I sure his daughter's
plans to be on the WHW at the same time were coincidental, whether his being
there at that time was coincidence or planned I don't know.

At Altnafeadh, a couple of miles short of Kings House, we had a brief stop
but the wind and damp clothes caused me to get cold. We both had many
changes of clothes but the combination of cool damp drizzle, wind & running
meant that dry gear didn't stay dry for more than a few minutes. In the
end, warm and damp seemed the best that we could hope for. Although the
terrain had been rough, I'd been feeling good up till then but the cold
sapped my enthusiasm and it was with a rather heavy heart (and legs) that I
set out across the Black Mount, a bleak and lonely corner of Rannoch moor.
David, my companion, seemed unaffected by the conditions, probably largely
down to his much better fitness (he's a 120 mile a week chap) and better
technical gear. Still, we made good time across the moor to Victoria bridge
where we met out SC again and then on to Bridge of Orchy (about 36 miles
into the run). It was now 4:00 pm and the sun had set and it was back on
with the head torches. These were to be our companions for the next 16
hours. From here until we reached Drymen, 12 miles from the end, our
universe contracted down to two pools of light at our feet. Although it was
frustrating not to be able to see the scenery, having such a tiny field of
view meant that one never became too intimidated by distances or hills,
simply because you couldn't see them.

At Tyndrum (43 miles) we met David's parents who were taking over the
support crew role for the night shift. We were both hungry and knowing that
there was a fish'n'chip cafe there we decided to go to the cafe to refuel
with plates of chips & mugs of tea. In terms of boosting my energy levels,
the chips worked wonders. Unfortunately, they also marked the onset of a
chronic indigestion/nausea that stuck with me for the rest of the run making
hard to get the necessary calories down. I'd been taking salt capsules
fairly regularly but on this occasion they didn't seem to be doing anything
for my gastric emptying. Perhaps eating a big plate of chips and running
straight afterwards was just too much to ask of them. ;-)

After Tyndrum we worked our way down to Beinglas farm which marks the last
easy access point for a support crew north of Loch Lomond. It's a hilly
section but we'd been running well and felling pretty good. We knew that it
would be 13 miles before we'd see our support crew again so we took a
thermos of coffee with us to sustain us.

The stretch from Beinglas Farm to Inversnaid is infamously bad. It's not so
much a path as an assault course. In the daylight it's bad enough but in
the dark it was horrid. After all the rain that had fallen and record high
water levels in the loch, sections of it had disappeared in small landslips
or were just submerged under water. Other bits were covered in debris that
had floated in off the loch. The signposting is none too hot either going
from north to south. On a few occasions we were glad to have two heads
working on navigation rather than just the one.

At Inversnaid we stopped to have our coffee. By now it was about 1:30 am.
The hotel there was covered in signs saying "Closed" but oddly, there were
plenty of lights on and the front door was open. Given the choice of
shivering outside and drinking our coffee or sitting inside in the warmth,
we opened the door and called out to see if any staff we about. Not hearing
anything, we walked into the bar and sat down to drink our coffee. After
about 5 minutes a man walked past us without say a word. Either headtorch
wearing runners at 1:30 am on the 23rd of December when the hotel is closed
are a common sight or his brain just failed to take in what clearly
shouldn't have been there. After about another 5 minutes as I was coming
out of the loo, I bumped into another chap. This time it seems our
invisibility had worn off and he briefly quizzed me as to what the heck we
were doing there. After mumbling something about a charity run he dismissed
us as crackers (can't think why) but didn't throw us out.

Inversnaid to Rowardennan was hillier but easier underfoot and after meeting
up with our SC again and enjoying some bacon sandwiches we were ready for
the
last two testing sections. Rowardennan to Balmaha is stupidly hilly for a
path that supposedly follows the edge of the loch. If there's a pointless
hillock that the path could go over, over it goes. Again sections of the
path were either washed away or flooded. Nothing too bad though and we
didn't have to make any major diversions.

After another stop at Balmaha, it was time to go over Conic hill. Not
particularly high (the path rises to about 350 metres) but the temperature
dropped as we climbed and the mist from our breath irritatingly insisted on
rising in front of our head torches because of the breeze at our backs.

At 8:00 am we reached Drymen with just 12 miles to go. We had a 30 minute
stop to refresh and discard our headtorches as the sun was rising. It was a
glorious morning and despite our exhaustion (well mine anyway), we enjoyed
the spectacle of the lightening sky and the low sunbeams playing across the
rolling fields along that stretch of the WHW. I was past being able to run
continuously but could manage a reasonably good run/walk ratio.

A number of my clubmates and other WHW runners had arranged a training run
along the WHW from Glasgow northwards and after a while we started passing
them to the accompaniment of cheers and handshakes, Included in the group
was the race director/organiser of the official WHW race who presented me
with the new 2007 race buff. Emboldened by fatigue, I asked if there was
any chance of a 2006 race goblet (which I missed out on this year). I was
fully expecting him to quibble about my run not being a race, not timed,
unofficial etc. etc. but he agreed to send me one. I'm keeping my fingers
crossed that he'll come through with that one!

After 27 hours and 52 minutes we jogged through the underpass to Milngavie
train station where a small family reception party had gathered, complete
with banner! It was enormously relieving to have finished. Lots of hugs
and kisses all round.

It was tougher than I had anticipated, largely down to constant dampness for
the first 60-70 miles. Nothing extreme, but just hard to maintain
homeostasis. My nutrition could have been a lot better too but you live and
learn.

I'm sure you've all got better things to do today than read my drivel so
I'll stop here. Maybe I'll be able to sleep now.

Happy Christmas to you all!

Tim






























25 Dec 2006 09:03:09
Dot
Re: Way Highland West run report

Tim Downie wrote:

> It's 5 o'clock in the morning of Christmas day and I've barely slept a wink
> since finishing my run at midday on the 23rd. Not because I'm excited
> about Christmas but because of a tsunami like urge to record my experience
> onto something more permanent than my leaky memory.

<snipped nice run report >

>
> It was tougher than I had anticipated, largely down to constant dampness for
> the first 60-70 miles. Nothing extreme, but just hard to maintain
> homeostasis. My nutrition could have been a lot better too but you live and
> learn.

Yea, cool, damp can wear on a person, esp. when in your case you were
out for so long in it, including a good chunk of darkness.
Congratulations on a well-executed epic run.

>
> I'm sure you've all got better things to do today than read my drivel so
> I'll stop here. Maybe I'll be able to sleep now.

Very nice report and a challenging run well done, Tim. Thanks for sharing.


After you've caught up on your sleep...

Just curious as to what you used on your legs - tights plus rain pants?
Those temps are very similar to some of our Aug races - and a temp /
rain combo that I haven't had as much time to experiment with as I'd like.

Regarding head torches and breath. You might try lowering your torch
below your mouth level - like on sternum strap or waist belt. That gets
rid of the fog from breath and snow from the sky issue, but I've had
problems with the light moving from side to side as I run. I know other
folks have made that adaptation, but they haven't commented on the
sideways movement as body swivels (or maybe I've never gotten mine dead
center on the axis).

>
> Happy Christmas to you all!

And to you too. Thanks again. This provided an interesting Christmas Eve
story in this time zone.

Dot

--
"If we reach all our goals, we are not setting them high enough."
- Matt Carpenter



25 Dec 2006 01:37:53
Dave
Re: Way Highland West run report

Well done Tim!

As an 'ex-posted' then 'long-time lurker' now 'born again poster', I've
followed your exploits with some interest and it's great to see you had
success on the Way Higland West!

What an interesting experience it must have been to spend so long
running in the dark.

Actually, I was reminded of you and this group recently whilst watching
'My Heart is in the Highlands'. When Mark referred to you as a 'sick
individual', I imagine even he didn't see this coming!

Well done chap, now put you feet up with a mince pie and enjoy the
victory.

David



25 Dec 2006 05:58:39
joe positive
Re: Way Highland West run report

On Mon, 25 Dec 2006 08:15:14 -0000, "Tim Downie"
<[email protected] > wrote:

>This isn't so much a report as therapy. If it's a bit rough around the
>edges, forgive me.

[very nice report-as-therapy went here]

Great job. I'm really amazed that you undertook to do this outside of
the "official" race. Sounds like a blast, though it also sounds like
you'd have appreciated a bit more daylight.

I got a kick out of all those strange-sounding Scottish place names,
too. Is this the part of Scotland where the accent is - how can I put
this politely? - um, really, really, really, really, difficult for
Americans to understand?

happy xmas, by the way.


Karen



live! vicariously!


25 Dec 2006 14:48:33
Anthony
Re: Way Highland West run report


Tim - thanks for posting that intersting report. Had a good laugh
when reading about your 1:30 am meetings at that "closed" hotel
which some passing angel had left open for you...

Amazing effort. Sleep well.

Anthony.




25 Dec 2006 15:00:56
Mark Hutchinson
Re: Way Highland West run report

Tim, a great run and a very comprehensive report.

I am wondering about the denizens of the shuttered hotel's bar. Were
they as sinister as the ones in the "American Werewolf In London"?

Come to think of it, did you see any werewolves while you were cavorting
out there in the moors? And if so, were you able to touch them?


25 Dec 2006 16:01:25
Roeret
Re: Way Highland West run report



Let's look at the "basic" facts......

95 mils trail with 11.000 ft up...
28 hours "on feet"
where ~20 in the dark
chronic indigestion/nausea for the last 50 miles..
first 60-70 miles damp/cold in drizzle/rain WITHOUT contactlenses; only
glasses!! (I think that only people who uses glasses know how annoying that
is!!!)

AND HE JUST DID IT!!

Man I'm impressed!!!!!!!

martin, denmark




> It's 5 o'clock in the morning of Christmas day and I've barely slept a
> wink
> since finishing my run at midday on the 23rd. Not because I'm excited
> about Christmas but because of a tsunami like urge to record my experience
> onto something more permanent than my leaky memory.
>
> This isn't so much a report as therapy. If it's a bit rough around the
> edges, forgive me.
>
> Background info
> (for those who know nothing about the West Highland Way)
>
> The West Highland Way is a long distance footpath that runs from Milngavie
> train station (NW Glasgow) to Fort William, It's 95 miles long, has
> 11,000 feet of ascent and is noted for it's stunning scenery and fickle
> weather. The majority of walkers traverse it from south to north and the
> annual
> mid-summer WHW race does likewise. My run was born out of disappointment
> as missing this year's race due to a metatarsal stress fracture sustained
> in training.
>
> I found it hard to come to terms with missing the mid-summer race and
> after a couple of months I had the notion of running it on the shortest
> day of the
> year (instead of the longest). The idea had a pleasing symmetry,
> particularly when combined with the thought of running it in the reverse
> direction from Fort William to Glasgow. Calling it the "Way Highland
> West" was a narrative imperative.
>
> I floated the idea amongst the UK ultra-running community and all but
> three
> thought I was barking. Of those three, only one was keen, my friend David
> McLelland who had run the race earlier in the year.
>
> Training
>
> Fitness-wise, I'd had a year of ups and downs. I started the year with
> three months of 200+ miles and dropped my 5K PB to 19:09. In April my
> foot bust, May 0 miles (but lots of x-training), June (after an 8 week
> layoff) 86 miles, July 26 miles (long holiday in the States), August 158,
> September 139, October 179 (Loch Ness marathon 3:29), November 239 &
> December 55.
>
> With hindsight is was easy to see that throwing myself into those 200+
> mile months so early in the year after running 130s to 140s the year
> before was just asking for trouble.
>
> Having survived the Loch Ness marathon David and I started working out
> logistics, gear and training. The weather was always going to be the
> joker in the pack and all we could do in preparation was to train in
> whatever
> conditions prevailed and invest in lots of technical running gear.
> Knowing that we spend a *lot* of time in the dark we did several of our
> long
> training runs in the evening to test out our head torches. I think we
> chose
> well with the Princeton Tec apex torches. They served us well although
> I'm sure some of the other new high-powered LED head torches would also
> have worked.
>
> Training went well up to the end of November when we did our longest run
> (mostly in the dark) over Conic Hill (38 miles). December brought
> torrential rain and my wife's aunt to stay and training took a nosedive.
> I wasn't too worried however as the run was never going to be about speed
> and I was more terrified of suffering another stress fracture than I was
> of not being fit enough.
>
> The run
>
> After a night spent at Nevis Bank Hostel in Fort William, David and I,
> along with my sister and daughter acting as support crew (SC) headed out
> to the
> official signpost marking the end of the West Highland Way. At 8:00 am we
> jogged off into the darkness up Glen Nevis through the forest roads. The
> brooding bulk of Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest mountain was lost in low
> cloud but the valley floor with Christmas lights twinkling on a large tree
> was rather enchanting. The sky was lightening quickly but the denseness
> of the forest in parts meant that we needed our head torches of the first
> half
> hour of running. Despite the torrential rain earlier in the month,
> conditions underfoot weren't too bad at all. A steady fine drizzle was
> annoying though, particularly as I had forgotten to pack my contact lenses
> and spent the next 60 miles wiping my glasses. On the whole, the weather
> was kind to us in the sense that it could have been a whole lot worse. It
> was relatively mild (est. 6-8C) but much of the time we were running
> through a
> steady fine rain.
>
> We met our SC at Lundavra, just 6 miles into our run, not so much because
> we
> needed anything but try and alleviate their boredom. Having helped out
> with support in the summer race, I was acutely aware of how tedious it can
> be. As it happened, whilst putting my head torch away, I spotted my nipple
> tape
> in my bag. Oops! Very nearly ran a 95 mile train *without* any nipple
> protection. So, as it turned out, it was a timely meeting.
>
> About 10 miles into our run another hill runner came back up the path from
> Kinlochleven to join us and accompanied us down into Kinlochleven and back
> out over the
> Devil's Staircase to Altnafeadh & Kingshouse (which is about 25 miles into
> the route). We met our SC again in Kinlochleven. Another ultra running
> acquaintance had predicted that we'd
> probably see no more than 5 walkers on the WHW at this time of year. As
> we jogged towards Kingshouse, we passed walkers 4 & 5, the last we were to
> see. As we passed, I thought one of them was asking me for the time, I
> looked at
> my watch and realised that he was saying "Is it Tim?" Turned out to be a
> chap from my year at university who I'd spammed with a begging sponsorship
> email. Fortunately he wasn't the axe-wielding grudge-holding type and was
> accompanying his daughter for part of the WHW. I sure his daughter's
> plans to be on the WHW at the same time were coincidental, whether his
> being there at that time was coincidence or planned I don't know.
>
> At Altnafeadh, a couple of miles short of Kings House, we had a brief stop
> but the wind and damp clothes caused me to get cold. We both had many
> changes of clothes but the combination of cool damp drizzle, wind &
> running
> meant that dry gear didn't stay dry for more than a few minutes. In the
> end, warm and damp seemed the best that we could hope for. Although the
> terrain had been rough, I'd been feeling good up till then but the cold
> sapped my enthusiasm and it was with a rather heavy heart (and legs) that
> I set out across the Black Mount, a bleak and lonely corner of Rannoch
> moor. David, my companion, seemed unaffected by the conditions, probably
> largely down to his much better fitness (he's a 120 mile a week chap) and
> better
> technical gear. Still, we made good time across the moor to Victoria
> bridge where we met out SC again and then on to Bridge of Orchy (about 36
> miles
> into the run). It was now 4:00 pm and the sun had set and it was back on
> with the head torches. These were to be our companions for the next 16
> hours. From here until we reached Drymen, 12 miles from the end, our
> universe contracted down to two pools of light at our feet. Although it
> was frustrating not to be able to see the scenery, having such a tiny
> field of view meant that one never became too intimidated by distances or
> hills, simply because you couldn't see them.
>
> At Tyndrum (43 miles) we met David's parents who were taking over the
> support crew role for the night shift. We were both hungry and knowing
> that there was a fish'n'chip cafe there we decided to go to the cafe to
> refuel
> with plates of chips & mugs of tea. In terms of boosting my energy
> levels,
> the chips worked wonders. Unfortunately, they also marked the onset of a
> chronic indigestion/nausea that stuck with me for the rest of the run
> making
> hard to get the necessary calories down. I'd been taking salt capsules
> fairly regularly but on this occasion they didn't seem to be doing
> anything
> for my gastric emptying. Perhaps eating a big plate of chips and running
> straight afterwards was just too much to ask of them. ;-)
>
> After Tyndrum we worked our way down to Beinglas farm which marks the last
> easy access point for a support crew north of Loch Lomond. It's a hilly
> section but we'd been running well and felling pretty good. We knew that
> it would be 13 miles before we'd see our support crew again so we took a
> thermos of coffee with us to sustain us.
>
> The stretch from Beinglas Farm to Inversnaid is infamously bad. It's not
> so
> much a path as an assault course. In the daylight it's bad enough but in
> the dark it was horrid. After all the rain that had fallen and record
> high water levels in the loch, sections of it had disappeared in small
> landslips
> or were just submerged under water. Other bits were covered in debris
> that
> had floated in off the loch. The signposting is none too hot either going
> from north to south. On a few occasions we were glad to have two heads
> working on navigation rather than just the one.
>
> At Inversnaid we stopped to have our coffee. By now it was about 1:30 am.
> The hotel there was covered in signs saying "Closed" but oddly, there were
> plenty of lights on and the front door was open. Given the choice of
> shivering outside and drinking our coffee or sitting inside in the warmth,
> we opened the door and called out to see if any staff we about. Not
> hearing
> anything, we walked into the bar and sat down to drink our coffee. After
> about 5 minutes a man walked past us without say a word. Either headtorch
> wearing runners at 1:30 am on the 23rd of December when the hotel is
> closed are a common sight or his brain just failed to take in what clearly
> shouldn't have been there. After about another 5 minutes as I was coming
> out of the loo, I bumped into another chap. This time it seems our
> invisibility had worn off and he briefly quizzed me as to what the heck we
> were doing there. After mumbling something about a charity run he
> dismissed us as crackers (can't think why) but didn't throw us out.
>
> Inversnaid to Rowardennan was hillier but easier underfoot and after
> meeting up with our SC again and enjoying some bacon sandwiches we were
> ready for the
> last two testing sections. Rowardennan to Balmaha is stupidly hilly for a
> path that supposedly follows the edge of the loch. If there's a pointless
> hillock that the path could go over, over it goes. Again sections of the
> path were either washed away or flooded. Nothing too bad though and we
> didn't have to make any major diversions.
>
> After another stop at Balmaha, it was time to go over Conic hill. Not
> particularly high (the path rises to about 350 metres) but the temperature
> dropped as we climbed and the mist from our breath irritatingly insisted
> on rising in front of our head torches because of the breeze at our backs.
>
> At 8:00 am we reached Drymen with just 12 miles to go. We had a 30 minute
> stop to refresh and discard our headtorches as the sun was rising. It was
> a glorious morning and despite our exhaustion (well mine anyway), we
> enjoyed the spectacle of the lightening sky and the low sunbeams playing
> across the
> rolling fields along that stretch of the WHW. I was past being able to
> run continuously but could manage a reasonably good run/walk ratio.
>
> A number of my clubmates and other WHW runners had arranged a training run
> along the WHW from Glasgow northwards and after a while we started passing
> them to the accompaniment of cheers and handshakes, Included in the group
> was the race director/organiser of the official WHW race who presented me
> with the new 2007 race buff. Emboldened by fatigue, I asked if there was
> any chance of a 2006 race goblet (which I missed out on this year). I was
> fully expecting him to quibble about my run not being a race, not timed,
> unofficial etc. etc. but he agreed to send me one. I'm keeping my fingers
> crossed that he'll come through with that one!
>
> After 27 hours and 52 minutes we jogged through the underpass to Milngavie
> train station where a small family reception party had gathered, complete
> with banner! It was enormously relieving to have finished. Lots of hugs
> and kisses all round.
>
> It was tougher than I had anticipated, largely down to constant dampness
> for
> the first 60-70 miles. Nothing extreme, but just hard to maintain
> homeostasis. My nutrition could have been a lot better too but you live
> and learn.
>
> I'm sure you've all got better things to do today than read my drivel so
> I'll stop here. Maybe I'll be able to sleep now.
>
> Happy Christmas to you all!
>
> Tim



25 Dec 2006 16:26:58
Roeret
Re: Way Highland West run report

Roeret wrote:

>
>
> Let's look at the "basic" facts......
>
> 95 mils trail with 11.000 ft up...
> 28 hours "on feet"
> where ~20 in the dark
ARGGHHHH should have been ~16 hours
> chronic indigestion/nausea for the last 50 miles..
> first 60-70 miles damp/cold in drizzle/rain WITHOUT contactlenses; only
> glasses!! (I think that only people who uses glasses know how annoying
> that is!!!)
>
> AND HE JUST DID IT!!
>
> Man I'm impressed!!!!!!!
>
> martin, denmark
>
>
>
>
>> It's 5 o'clock in the morning of Christmas day and I've barely slept a
>> wink
>> since finishing my run at midday on the 23rd. Not because I'm excited
>> about Christmas but because of a tsunami like urge to record my
>> experience onto something more permanent than my leaky memory.
>>
>> This isn't so much a report as therapy. If it's a bit rough around the
>> edges, forgive me.
>>
>> Background info
>> (for those who know nothing about the West Highland Way)
>>
>> The West Highland Way is a long distance footpath that runs from
>> Milngavie
>> train station (NW Glasgow) to Fort William, It's 95 miles long, has
>> 11,000 feet of ascent and is noted for it's stunning scenery and fickle
>> weather. The majority of walkers traverse it from south to north and the
>> annual
>> mid-summer WHW race does likewise. My run was born out of disappointment
>> as missing this year's race due to a metatarsal stress fracture sustained
>> in training.
>>
>> I found it hard to come to terms with missing the mid-summer race and
>> after a couple of months I had the notion of running it on the shortest
>> day of the
>> year (instead of the longest). The idea had a pleasing symmetry,
>> particularly when combined with the thought of running it in the reverse
>> direction from Fort William to Glasgow. Calling it the "Way Highland
>> West" was a narrative imperative.
>>
>> I floated the idea amongst the UK ultra-running community and all but
>> three
>> thought I was barking. Of those three, only one was keen, my friend
>> David McLelland who had run the race earlier in the year.
>>
>> Training
>>
>> Fitness-wise, I'd had a year of ups and downs. I started the year with
>> three months of 200+ miles and dropped my 5K PB to 19:09. In April my
>> foot bust, May 0 miles (but lots of x-training), June (after an 8 week
>> layoff) 86 miles, July 26 miles (long holiday in the States), August 158,
>> September 139, October 179 (Loch Ness marathon 3:29), November 239 &
>> December 55.
>>
>> With hindsight is was easy to see that throwing myself into those 200+
>> mile months so early in the year after running 130s to 140s the year
>> before was just asking for trouble.
>>
>> Having survived the Loch Ness marathon David and I started working out
>> logistics, gear and training. The weather was always going to be the
>> joker in the pack and all we could do in preparation was to train in
>> whatever
>> conditions prevailed and invest in lots of technical running gear.
>> Knowing that we spend a *lot* of time in the dark we did several of our
>> long
>> training runs in the evening to test out our head torches. I think we
>> chose
>> well with the Princeton Tec apex torches. They served us well although
>> I'm sure some of the other new high-powered LED head torches would also
>> have worked.
>>
>> Training went well up to the end of November when we did our longest run
>> (mostly in the dark) over Conic Hill (38 miles). December brought
>> torrential rain and my wife's aunt to stay and training took a nosedive.
>> I wasn't too worried however as the run was never going to be about speed
>> and I was more terrified of suffering another stress fracture than I was
>> of not being fit enough.
>>
>> The run
>>
>> After a night spent at Nevis Bank Hostel in Fort William, David and I,
>> along with my sister and daughter acting as support crew (SC) headed out
>> to the
>> official signpost marking the end of the West Highland Way. At 8:00 am
>> we
>> jogged off into the darkness up Glen Nevis through the forest roads. The
>> brooding bulk of Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest mountain was lost in low
>> cloud but the valley floor with Christmas lights twinkling on a large
>> tree
>> was rather enchanting. The sky was lightening quickly but the denseness
>> of the forest in parts meant that we needed our head torches of the first
>> half
>> hour of running. Despite the torrential rain earlier in the month,
>> conditions underfoot weren't too bad at all. A steady fine drizzle was
>> annoying though, particularly as I had forgotten to pack my contact
>> lenses
>> and spent the next 60 miles wiping my glasses. On the whole, the weather
>> was kind to us in the sense that it could have been a whole lot worse.
>> It was relatively mild (est. 6-8C) but much of the time we were running
>> through a
>> steady fine rain.
>>
>> We met our SC at Lundavra, just 6 miles into our run, not so much because
>> we
>> needed anything but try and alleviate their boredom. Having helped out
>> with support in the summer race, I was acutely aware of how tedious it
>> can be. As it happened, whilst putting my head torch away, I spotted my
>> nipple tape
>> in my bag. Oops! Very nearly ran a 95 mile train *without* any nipple
>> protection. So, as it turned out, it was a timely meeting.
>>
>> About 10 miles into our run another hill runner came back up the path
>> from Kinlochleven to join us and accompanied us down into Kinlochleven
>> and back out over the
>> Devil's Staircase to Altnafeadh & Kingshouse (which is about 25 miles
>> into
>> the route). We met our SC again in Kinlochleven. Another ultra running
>> acquaintance had predicted that we'd
>> probably see no more than 5 walkers on the WHW at this time of year. As
>> we jogged towards Kingshouse, we passed walkers 4 & 5, the last we were
>> to see. As we passed, I thought one of them was asking me for the time, I
>> looked at
>> my watch and realised that he was saying "Is it Tim?" Turned out to be a
>> chap from my year at university who I'd spammed with a begging
>> sponsorship
>> email. Fortunately he wasn't the axe-wielding grudge-holding type and
>> was
>> accompanying his daughter for part of the WHW. I sure his daughter's
>> plans to be on the WHW at the same time were coincidental, whether his
>> being there at that time was coincidence or planned I don't know.
>>
>> At Altnafeadh, a couple of miles short of Kings House, we had a brief
>> stop
>> but the wind and damp clothes caused me to get cold. We both had many
>> changes of clothes but the combination of cool damp drizzle, wind &
>> running
>> meant that dry gear didn't stay dry for more than a few minutes. In the
>> end, warm and damp seemed the best that we could hope for. Although the
>> terrain had been rough, I'd been feeling good up till then but the cold
>> sapped my enthusiasm and it was with a rather heavy heart (and legs) that
>> I set out across the Black Mount, a bleak and lonely corner of Rannoch
>> moor. David, my companion, seemed unaffected by the conditions, probably
>> largely down to his much better fitness (he's a 120 mile a week chap) and
>> better
>> technical gear. Still, we made good time across the moor to Victoria
>> bridge where we met out SC again and then on to Bridge of Orchy (about 36
>> miles
>> into the run). It was now 4:00 pm and the sun had set and it was back on
>> with the head torches. These were to be our companions for the next 16
>> hours. From here until we reached Drymen, 12 miles from the end, our
>> universe contracted down to two pools of light at our feet. Although it
>> was frustrating not to be able to see the scenery, having such a tiny
>> field of view meant that one never became too intimidated by distances or
>> hills, simply because you couldn't see them.
>>
>> At Tyndrum (43 miles) we met David's parents who were taking over the
>> support crew role for the night shift. We were both hungry and knowing
>> that there was a fish'n'chip cafe there we decided to go to the cafe to
>> refuel
>> with plates of chips & mugs of tea. In terms of boosting my energy
>> levels,
>> the chips worked wonders. Unfortunately, they also marked the onset of a
>> chronic indigestion/nausea that stuck with me for the rest of the run
>> making
>> hard to get the necessary calories down. I'd been taking salt capsules
>> fairly regularly but on this occasion they didn't seem to be doing
>> anything
>> for my gastric emptying. Perhaps eating a big plate of chips and running
>> straight afterwards was just too much to ask of them. ;-)
>>
>> After Tyndrum we worked our way down to Beinglas farm which marks the
>> last
>> easy access point for a support crew north of Loch Lomond. It's a hilly
>> section but we'd been running well and felling pretty good. We knew that
>> it would be 13 miles before we'd see our support crew again so we took a
>> thermos of coffee with us to sustain us.
>>
>> The stretch from Beinglas Farm to Inversnaid is infamously bad. It's not
>> so
>> much a path as an assault course. In the daylight it's bad enough but in
>> the dark it was horrid. After all the rain that had fallen and record
>> high water levels in the loch, sections of it had disappeared in small
>> landslips
>> or were just submerged under water. Other bits were covered in debris
>> that
>> had floated in off the loch. The signposting is none too hot either
>> going
>> from north to south. On a few occasions we were glad to have two heads
>> working on navigation rather than just the one.
>>
>> At Inversnaid we stopped to have our coffee. By now it was about 1:30
>> am. The hotel there was covered in signs saying "Closed" but oddly, there
>> were
>> plenty of lights on and the front door was open. Given the choice of
>> shivering outside and drinking our coffee or sitting inside in the
>> warmth,
>> we opened the door and called out to see if any staff we about. Not
>> hearing
>> anything, we walked into the bar and sat down to drink our coffee. After
>> about 5 minutes a man walked past us without say a word. Either
>> headtorch wearing runners at 1:30 am on the 23rd of December when the
>> hotel is closed are a common sight or his brain just failed to take in
>> what clearly
>> shouldn't have been there. After about another 5 minutes as I was coming
>> out of the loo, I bumped into another chap. This time it seems our
>> invisibility had worn off and he briefly quizzed me as to what the heck
>> we
>> were doing there. After mumbling something about a charity run he
>> dismissed us as crackers (can't think why) but didn't throw us out.
>>
>> Inversnaid to Rowardennan was hillier but easier underfoot and after
>> meeting up with our SC again and enjoying some bacon sandwiches we were
>> ready for the
>> last two testing sections. Rowardennan to Balmaha is stupidly hilly for
>> a
>> path that supposedly follows the edge of the loch. If there's a
>> pointless
>> hillock that the path could go over, over it goes. Again sections of the
>> path were either washed away or flooded. Nothing too bad though and we
>> didn't have to make any major diversions.
>>
>> After another stop at Balmaha, it was time to go over Conic hill. Not
>> particularly high (the path rises to about 350 metres) but the
>> temperature dropped as we climbed and the mist from our breath
>> irritatingly insisted on rising in front of our head torches because of
>> the breeze at our backs.
>>
>> At 8:00 am we reached Drymen with just 12 miles to go. We had a 30
>> minute stop to refresh and discard our headtorches as the sun was rising.
>> It was a glorious morning and despite our exhaustion (well mine anyway),
>> we enjoyed the spectacle of the lightening sky and the low sunbeams
>> playing across the
>> rolling fields along that stretch of the WHW. I was past being able to
>> run continuously but could manage a reasonably good run/walk ratio.
>>
>> A number of my clubmates and other WHW runners had arranged a training
>> run along the WHW from Glasgow northwards and after a while we started
>> passing
>> them to the accompaniment of cheers and handshakes, Included in the
>> group was the race director/organiser of the official WHW race who
>> presented me
>> with the new 2007 race buff. Emboldened by fatigue, I asked if there was
>> any chance of a 2006 race goblet (which I missed out on this year). I
>> was fully expecting him to quibble about my run not being a race, not
>> timed,
>> unofficial etc. etc. but he agreed to send me one. I'm keeping my
>> fingers crossed that he'll come through with that one!
>>
>> After 27 hours and 52 minutes we jogged through the underpass to
>> Milngavie train station where a small family reception party had
>> gathered, complete
>> with banner! It was enormously relieving to have finished. Lots of hugs
>> and kisses all round.
>>
>> It was tougher than I had anticipated, largely down to constant dampness
>> for
>> the first 60-70 miles. Nothing extreme, but just hard to maintain
>> homeostasis. My nutrition could have been a lot better too but you live
>> and learn.
>>
>> I'm sure you've all got better things to do today than read my drivel so
>> I'll stop here. Maybe I'll be able to sleep now.
>>
>> Happy Christmas to you all!
>>
>> Tim



25 Dec 2006 07:36:20
Black Metal Martha
Re: Way Highland West run report

Awesome race report!

I remember visiting that area with my family as a teenager. Must have
been a wild race. :)



25 Dec 2006 11:26:03
Biker Local
Re: Way Highland West run report

"highlander"
Hellicentic:means:
"south long" means you faceing south.
"North" means your faceing to the north.
so when you look at the stars;
remember "west" to "north north east" is all you see in 6 hours of the
stars. 6 of 24 hours or, 1/4 of a whole. 2 a.m. to 8 a.m............
so if you follow a non polor constalation.
say "Cancer" or the equator line of "tropic of cancer." in the west.
tilt never over 23 =BC=B0 total or =F7by 2 =3D11.+=B0winter North is
tilted back,
of equator.
hellictic to south or
"south long: well curve to the right the stars well move into the polor
stars to the right..world spins counter clockwise.
and "North" well curve to the left.
the stars well travel into the polor stars on a curve to your left.
because the world turns counter clockwise.
looking south long or north. you can not travel faster then the curve of
world as the constalation go behind the polor constalations.
do ot think the world spins clockwise.
or you well follow the wrong direction to were you are seeking.
left or right of a fix point on the planet.

good job highlander.
maybe the pub thing was pushing it a little.
send the man some cupcakes for his trouble.
and time to have a good holidays there.
sllep well.
party time soon....

I bike every wear, for food for fun and for every thing.
1 day I would like to travel too;
camp and hike and bike with a back pack, a tent and just Go go and go.
and return too.
plesent trails
Lowtuc Zow



25 Dec 2006 20:16:32
Tim Downie
Re: Way Highland West run report

The best bit. ;-)

http://www.zen31010.zen.co.uk/images/wayhighlandwest/thefinish.jpg

Tim





25 Dec 2006 23:02:00
Tim Downie
Re: Way Highland West run report

Dot wrote:
> Very nice report and a challenging run well done, Tim. Thanks for
> sharing.

Thanks
>
>
> After you've caught up on your sleep...
>
> Just curious as to what you used on your legs - tights plus rain
> pants?

No rain pants. the majority was run in plain old Ron Hll tracksters.

> Those temps are very similar to some of our Aug races - and a
> temp / rain combo that I haven't had as much time to experiment with as
> I'd
> like.

It's the sort of weather you wouldn't really give a second thought to for
shorter runs but over many hours it's not a lot of fun.

>
> Regarding head torches and breath. You might try lowering your torch
> below your mouth level - like on sternum strap or waist belt. That
> gets rid of the fog from breath and snow from the sky issue, but I've had
> problems with the light moving from side to side as I run. I know
> other folks have made that adaptation, but they haven't commented on
> the sideways movement as body swivels (or maybe I've never gotten mine
> dead center on the axis).

It was never that bad a problem. I have experimented with a waistband
mounted torch but it wobbled too much. If it had been much worse I think I
would opt for a hand held torch.

Cheers.

Tim




25 Dec 2006 23:03:56
Tim Downie
Re: Way Highland West run report

Dave wrote:
> Well done Tim!
>
> As an 'ex-posted' then 'long-time lurker' now 'born again poster',
> I've followed your exploits with some interest and it's great to see
> you had success on the Way Higland West!
>
> What an interesting experience it must have been to spend so long
> running in the dark.

Interesting is a good word for it. Definitely an unusual experience. Not
in a hurry to repeat it though. ;-)

>
> Actually, I was reminded of you and this group recently whilst
> watching 'My Heart is in the Highlands'. When Mark referred to you
> as a 'sick individual',

He's got a lot to aswer for that boy. Besmirched my good name right across
the interweb. ;-)

> I imagine even he didn't see this coming!
>
> Well done chap, now put you feet up with a mince pie and enjoy the
> victory.

Thanks David

Tim





25 Dec 2006 23:08:19
Tim Downie
Re: Way Highland West run report

joe positive wrote:
> On Mon, 25 Dec 2006 08:15:14 -0000, "Tim Downie"
> <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>> This isn't so much a report as therapy. If it's a bit rough around
>> the edges, forgive me.
>
> [very nice report-as-therapy went here]
>
> Great job. I'm really amazed that you undertook to do this outside of
> the "official" race.

I think it's just part of the natural progression from being a runner with
speed aspirations to one who realises he's cr*p at speed and might as well
just get out there for fun. ;-)

> Sounds like a blast, though it also sounds like
> you'd have appreciated a bit more daylight.

Nah. That would have defeated the whole purpose of doing it on the 22nd.
We didn't even have any moonlight.

>
> I got a kick out of all those strange-sounding Scottish place names,
> too. Is this the part of Scotland where the accent is - how can I put
> this politely? - um, really, really, really, really, difficult for
> Americans to understand?

Americans? Heck I can't understand most of it. Gaelic speakers will tell
you that pronunciation of these odd places is easy, you just say it as it's
spelt. Unfortunately if you don't know the phonetic rules for Gaelic, you
either end up dislocating your jaw or spitting everywhere. ;-)

>
> happy xmas, by the way.

Thanks.

Tim





25 Dec 2006 23:08:48
Tim Downie
Re: Way Highland West run report

Anthony wrote:
> Tim - thanks for posting that intersting report. Had a good laugh
> when reading about your 1:30 am meetings at that "closed" hotel
> which some passing angel had left open for you...
>
> Amazing effort. Sleep well.

Thanks Anthony. Hopefully will tonight.

Tim





25 Dec 2006 23:11:05
Tim Downie
Re: Way Highland West run report

Mark Hutchinson wrote:
> Tim, a great run and a very comprehensive report.
>
> I am wondering about the denizens of the shuttered hotel's bar. Were
> they as sinister as the ones in the "American Werewolf In London"?

A tad on the creepy side. More reminiscent of Jack Nicholson out of "The
Shining"

>
> Come to think of it, did you see any werewolves while you were
> cavorting out there in the moors? And if so, were you able to touch
> them?

Nope. There nearest thing to anything scary was something that plopped into
a water filled ditch next to us (possibly an otter) and a small snake that I
hallucinated briefly.

Tim




25 Dec 2006 23:12:19
Tim Downie
Re: Way Highland West run report

Roeret wrote:
> Let's look at the "basic" facts......
>
> 95 mils trail with 11.000 ft up...
> 28 hours "on feet"
> where ~20 in the dark
> chronic indigestion/nausea for the last 50 miles..
> first 60-70 miles damp/cold in drizzle/rain WITHOUT contactlenses;
> only glasses!! (I think that only people who uses glasses know how
> annoying that is!!!)
>
> AND HE JUST DID IT!!
>
> Man I'm impressed!!!!!!!

Thanks Marin (although you're embarrassing me now). Thanks too for your
text messages.

Tim




25 Dec 2006 23:13:28
Tim Downie
Re: Way Highland West run report

Black Metal Martha wrote:
> Awesome race report!

Thanks

>
> I remember visiting that area with my family as a teenager. Must have
> been a wild race. :)

Tiring but not wild. In fact my run in mid-summer 2005 through the
thunderstorm was much wilder.

Tim




25 Dec 2006 19:36:58
joe positive
Re: Way Highland West run report

On Mon, 25 Dec 2006 23:08:19 -0000, "Tim Downie"
<[email protected] > wrote:

>I think it's just part of the natural progression from being a runner with
>speed aspirations to one who realises he's cr*p at speed and might as well
>just get out there for fun. ;-)

oh, I hope not. With a (recent) 5K PR like yours, you're hardly
washed-up. Please don't retire to ultras-only just yet. Unless
that's what you want, of course.


>> I got a kick out of all those strange-sounding Scottish place names,
>> too. Is this the part of Scotland where the accent is - how can I put
>> this politely? - um, really, really, really, really, difficult for
>> Americans to understand?
>
>Americans? Heck I can't understand most of it. Gaelic speakers will tell
>you that pronunciation of these odd places is easy, you just say it as it's
>spelt. Unfortunately if you don't know the phonetic rules for Gaelic, you
>either end up dislocating your jaw or spitting everywhere. ;-)

In my limited experience listening to people from Scotland (which
mostly comes from movies and TV), I've come to recognize two accents.
One sounds fairly "British" and I can understand it without much
confusion. The other is hard to describe, but it sounds like the
consonants get swallowed and then coughed up again, and I can only
understand about 7 of every 10 words. When the speaker's had a lot to
drink, I'm lucky to get 3 out of 10. Is this Gaelic-accented English?

fwiw, there are American accents that confound me too, and I'm good
with languages.


Karen



live! vicariously!


25 Dec 2006 18:06:40
D Stumpus
Re: Way Highland West run report


"Tim Downie" wrote

http://www.zen31010.zen.co.uk/images/wayhighlandwest/thefinish.jpg

Great pic! Almost looks like you were finishing up a little training jog.

Congrats. I have tons of respect for anyone who does that kind of distance,
and more for those who do it without the support and comraderie of a full-on
race.

Regards,

Dan



--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com



26 Dec 2006 05:59:00
Doug Freese
Re: Way Highland West run report


"Tim Downie" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> It was never that bad a problem. I have experimented with a waistband
> mounted torch but it wobbled too much. If it had been much worse I
> think I would opt for a hand held torch.


I never could get used to the head lamp. I did not like the idea that
the light turned when I turned my head to scope for sounds and markers
and my peripheral light/vision would be zero. I have an older(meaning it
uses 3 D batteries rather than AA or AAA and is a bit heavy) 10 LED
that gives off a ton of light. Short of being a minor weight lifting
exercise I can hold the light steady without much work and run so much
more confidently on single track.

The good thing about today's "torches," you can get the same voluminous
light and much lighter in weight although I don't know if the make 10
LED head lights.

-Doug




26 Dec 2006 03:58:58
bob watkinson
Re: Way Highland West run report


Yeah great report Tim. So what was your lowest point on the run? Did
you ever feel like you might just jack it in and how did you get
yourself through any points like that.

Funny you should mention chips. We were just debating on the Fell
Runners Association forum about fish and chips. Some ultra runners like
Mike Cudahy seem to swear by them but seems they may not have agreed
with you.

OK so how you gonna top that? You've raised the mark now. You got
anything else lurking in that crazy mind of yours ;-)

Cheers,

Bob



26 Dec 2006 13:49:54
Tim Downie
Re: Way Highland West run report

Doug Freese wrote:
> "Tim Downie" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
>> It was never that bad a problem. I have experimented with a
>> waistband mounted torch but it wobbled too much. If it had been
>> much worse I think I would opt for a hand held torch.
>
>
> I never could get used to the head lamp. I did not like the idea that
> the light turned when I turned my head to scope for sounds and markers
> and my peripheral light/vision would be zero. I have an older(meaning
> it uses 3 D batteries rather than AA or AAA and is a bit heavy)

D cells??! I suppose it's fitting that a dinosaur should be running with a
fossil. ;-)

Tim






26 Dec 2006 08:16:40
h squared
Re: Way Highland West run report

Roeret wrote:

>
> Let's look at the "basic" facts......
>
> 95 mils trail with 11.000 ft up...
> 28 hours "on feet"
> where ~20 in the dark
> chronic indigestion/nausea for the last 50 miles..
> first 60-70 miles damp/cold in drizzle/rain WITHOUT contactlenses; only
> glasses!! (I think that only people who uses glasses know how annoying that
> is!!!)
>
> AND HE JUST DID IT!!
>
> Man I'm impressed!!!!!!!

and with parts of the trail washed away...

and, as others have mentioned, it wasn't even an official event- it was
just tim and his (crazy) friend. i once pronounced it was impossible to
do something like that on one's own; the motivation provided by the
other participants was essential to success. but tim has happily proved
that wrong.

heather


26 Dec 2006 20:52:02
brian fisher
Re: Way Highland West run report

Good job Tim!
I enjoyed reading your account.

Was navigation in the dark much of a problem or is the WHW well-defined all
the way?

Best wishes, Brian




27 Dec 2006 11:34:28
Dominic Sexton
Re: Way Highland West run report

In message <[email protected] >, Tim Downie
<[email protected] > writes
>It was never that bad a problem. I have experimented with a waistband
>mounted torch but it wobbled too much. If it had been much worse I think I
>would opt for a hand held torch.

I use a Princeton Tec Apex like yours but I tend to run alone and having
no other beams around means that it doesn't cast shadows on the rough
ground like a torch not mounted near the eyes does.

Therefore when going over rougher ground where I need to be able to see
the bumps better I turn the headtorch to low power and run with a torch
in my hand. Keeping it down near my waist shows the nearby bumps, holes
and rocks quite well and the headtorch gives a general lighting further
ahead.

I use one of these as my hand torch:

http://www.ultraleds.co.uk/product_info.php?cPath=29&products_id=1333

It weighs 110g with batteries (3 x AAA) is reasonably bright and fits
the hand well.
--
Dominic Sexton


27 Dec 2006 10:13:03
Doug Freese
Re: Way Highland West run report


"Tim Downie" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> D cells??! I suppose it's fitting that a dinosaur should be running
> with a fossil. ;-)

So true but it's like running in daylight and us old guys need to watch
our step, frail bones you know, and it's easier to step over things you
can see. ;)

-D




29 Dec 2006 01:57:25
Tony S.
Re: Way Highland West run report

"Tim Downie" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
...
> This isn't so much a report as therapy. If it's a bit rough around the
> edges, forgive me.

Good read Tim, thanks, and congratulations on your shortest day trek; who
knows, maybe you started something there. Equal congratulations on your
19:09 earlier in the year, didn't catch that before. So did you have any
problems with wet feet?

-Tony




31 Dec 2006 00:51:19
Tim Downie
Re: Way Highland West run report


"Tony S." <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> "Tim Downie" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
> ...
>> This isn't so much a report as therapy. If it's a bit rough around the
>> edges, forgive me.
>
> Good read Tim, thanks, and congratulations on your shortest day trek; who
> knows, maybe you started something there. Equal congratulations on your
> 19:09 earlier in the year, didn't catch that before. So did you have any
> problems with wet feet?

Amazingly my feet hardly gave me any bother. I started out with some
gore-tex lined trail shoes (which were useless - probably because of prior
mistreatment) and then ran in my sealskinz for much of the run. My feet
still got sweaty and soggy but because time was less of an issue than in the
race, I took a bit more time drying off my feet periodically and
re-annointing them with vaseline (petroleum jelly). The last 12 miles were
on dry trail, in dry socks and dry shoes (oh bliss!).

I was impressed by the Sealskinz which I would use again. The only downside
is their cost (and their susceptability to damage by toenails).

Dead chuffed to finish with only one small blister under my second toe that
I wasn't even aware of.

Tim