WHW: just around the corner

Scary close? Hilariously close? Mind numbingly close? The West Highland Way race is now only 2 weeks away. In some ways it is hard to imagine that a fortnight from typing this I will be have been running for 16 hours with maybe half as much to run again. After my training recce end of March I was feeling really positive, but a month after the doubt crept in: I questioned what I was doing and felt I hadn’t done enough. The Causeway Crossing 100K was alright… it didn’t go entirely to plan but the result was still pretty good and there was benefit from the experience. Hydration and ‘keeping your head’ were drilled home, I picked up from the bad parts, and was motivated to put in some hard efforts in the next small block of training.

May proved really busy with random meals and sleep. I had taken a week to recover but was surprised 2 weeks later when I was completely flat on a 13 mile run home from work. I was drained, no energy, no pace and couldn’t even get my heart rate to rise over 130 bpm. An extra day or two of intensive rest and eating was called for, then I was finally back to training capacity. I’ve put in some hill sessions and fast tempo runs, always telling myself that the last rep or extra km will be the difference between finishing the WHW, and not. In some ways, it’s these mind games that actually will make the difference, rather than the physical benefit. I’ve also been doing one or two treadmill runs as part of a study, but I’ll write about those later.

There’s also all the planning to do for the support crew so they know where they are going, when to expect me, what to check over and have on hand for me. I need to decide all my gear, get a hydration and fuel plan together (and some alternative back-up foods), recovery kit, camp gear, midge nets, sunscreen, first aid… there’s more… lots of little things. After I type this I need to order a few bits and pieces. I should get everything packed next weekend, all ready to go. Planners have been made, videos watched, reports poured over. I am as prepared as I can be.

Thinking back to my recce, my main concern is missing the trail in some of the early sections! I might save photos of the route onto my phone (a mandatory item) rather than have to carry the map, but I’ll ‘use the force’ where possible. The technical trail by Loch Lommond will take a lot out of me but I enjoy running trail like that. The dreaded parts are the long descents into Kinlochleven and Glen Nevis, although by then there may be nothing left for these leg wreckers to wreck.

I go forth in my quest for the crystal goblet.

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