Post #whwrace Blues & Some Positive Blog Stats

It’s been a tough week since completing the West Highland Way Race. Thanks to severe night sweats, going through 1 set of sheets and 2 sleeping bags per night on average!, I have yet to have a fully uninterrupted nights sleep and I think that this is partially responsible for my slightly lower than usual mood. Apparently night sweats can be brought on by extreme exercise so I suspect that they will pass soon enough. What will probably take longer to pass is the slightly deflated feeling from having completed my ‘A’ race of the season.

I compared the West Highland Way Race to Christmas in a previous post, citing a long buildup followed by the event itself and then, all too soon, it’s gone, done, over. Little did I realise at the time just how apt this analogy would be.

One week ago today I was in Glasgow, getting ready for the 1am start to the West Highland Way Race in what was described by one blogger as apocalyptic weather conditions. This quickly became one of (if not THE) toughest weekends of my life, running some 40 miles further than I had ever run previously. That perhaps doesn’t sound that much but I can testify that running almost twice as far as before does not equate to twice as hard – I don’t think I could possibly quantify exactly how tough it was last weekend.

Fast forward a week and I am largely recovered, bar some stiffness in the ankles and right knee and am even contemplating heading out for a run of sorts tomorrow.

Fortunately the cankles have now gone! It was not a good look for me.

On a positive note, the stats for my personal blog http://www.pixelscotland.com/ have gone through the roof this month. With the addition of reviews, race reports etc. etc. to my long neglected site, I had noticed a steady increase in hits but this month has been something else!

I also received word from The Running Bug that my blog was the 4th highest viewed blog in the first 6 months of the year with some 5,500 hits. This has taken a considerable boost as views of my WHW Race Report, ‘Against All Odds‘, have added approx 800 more hits at the time of writing.

So, 3 weeks to go to the next event, the 40 mile Clyde Stride. By all accounts, given the exertions of the West Highland Way Race, this could prove far tougher than I might expect. I have completed it once before, in 2011. I wasn’t in peak condition having come back from 2 weeks in Menorca, where it was just too hot to run as far as I might have liked for training! Only time will tell how I get on this year but I will be disappointed if I don’t take at least something off of last years time.

After that, it’s back to the West Highland Way, for The The Devil O’ The Highlands, from Tyndrum to Fort William and then, finally, off to Speyside for The Speyside Way Race.

Happy running.

Against All Odds – The Quest For A West Highland Way Race Goblet

New post at The Running Bug, ‘Against All Odds‘.

Warning: the following blog post is quite a graphic account of my quest for a WHW Race goblet.

I travelled down to Glasgow on Thursday evening, leaving straight from work, in the hope that this earlier than previously planned departure would provide a more relaxed day in the build up to the race start, in Milngavie, at 01:00 am on Saturday 23rd June.

Arriving at the house of Leanne’s aunt and uncle, Sandra and John Donnelly, I discovered that my support team had ‘branded’ themselves, team Jonathong, based on a nickname that I was christened with by my wife’s brother. A 6 berth motor home had been hired for the weekend which provided my support crew of Sandra, John, my wife Leanne, and my support runner Ian Minty, with a little bit of comfort and a place to rest up if and when time permitted.

The weather in Glasgow on the Friday afternoon was something else. Torrential rain accompanied by some pretty loud and dramatic thunder and lightning cast a cloud over proceedings (no pun intended). Anyone familiar with Glasgow will know that Glasgow is no stranger to rain. As such, a weather warning that accompanied the forecast was more than a bit concerning and I was worried, more than anything else, that the race would be cancelled.

Fortunately, the thunder and lightning stopped. Unfortunately, the rain did not and the challenge of running 95 miles was further compounded by the atrocious weather conditions.

I had hoped to get some additional sleep throughout the day on the Friday but the combination of a John Bannerman concert soundcheck and then the concert itself taking place next to us on Glasgow Green, interspersed with the aforementioned thunder and lightning, meant that sleep was not on the agenda. By the time I finished the race I had been awake for some 50 hours approx.

We departed for registration in Milngavie around 10:15 pm. I introduced Minty to Sandra and John for the first time and got myself weighed and registered for the race.

Around 12:30 am the race briefing took place in the car park at Milngavie railway station, just next to the underpass which is the start line for the event. From an initial high of 230, we were now down to a field of 172 runners. The race briefing included the following:

“Weather. There will be some. When the sun shines, it’ll be hot. When it’s raining, it’ll be cold and wet. If it’s windy, there’ll be less midges.”

At this point, it was obvious to all that the rain would be hugely significant this weekend and, just in time for the start, the heavens once more opened up with heavy rain.

Despite the weather, there was an excellent turnout with people lining the streets from the start line at the underpass to the turnoff that takes you off Milngavie high street and on to the West Highland Way route itself. The weather certainly didn’t dampen the spirits of the runners, support crews and spectators and this was a real standout high point for me.

Unfortunately, this high was short lived.

By the time I first met with my support crew, 12 miles into the race in Drymen, I had already had to make a few additional stops in the area surrounding the trail as explosive diarrhoea threatened to derail my quest for a WHW Race goblet. By mile 17, I was again suffering an unexpected stop and I was thoroughly demoralised as the torchlights of runners once again moved past my hidden position. I was already contemplating a DNF (Did Not Finish) and was in turmoil.

Meeting my crew in Balmaha, having ascended and descended Conic Hill, the first big hill of the day, I took some Immodium in the hope that this would help settle the stomach. This appeared to work, at least for a while.

The lochside section, from Balmaha to Rowardennan went OK but I was concerned that my unplanned pitstops had put me way back in the field and, it crossed my mind, might even have left me in last position. I didn’t see any runners for a while and, as such, was delighted to finally come across fellow runners.

I met up with Sue Walker in this section and enjoyed catching up with Sue in the run in to Rowardennan. This helped take my mind off the problems I had been having.

Arriving at Rowardennan, I was conscious that this would be my last meeting with my support crew for some time as both Inversnaid and Beinglas Farm were, for one reason or another, inaccessible to support crews. I decided to change my socks as they were soaked through and I was concerned that this would impact negatively on my feet. Large parts of the trail throughout the whole of the West Highland Way resembled streams and even rivers rather than the trail that we had expected to run on. Waterfalls along the trail side bore testimony to the extent of the rainfall as their waters and ferocity were swelled to impressive levels. One of the negatives from this was that the majority of water crossings, normally dealt with by some strategically placed stepping stones, now involved wading through the water. Two minutes after changing into fresh socks, they were once again soaked through.

Approximately 40 miles in, I experienced another low and it stayed with me for the next 10 miles, compounded by the ‘never ending’ forest between Crianlarich and the Auchtertyre Farm checkpoint.

I was looking forward to my support runner, Minty, joining me at Auchtertyre farm. I met Minty on various training runs and, having run almost the entire 55 miles of the 2011 Cateran Trail Ultramarathon with him, I could think of no one that I would rather run the remaing 45 miles of the West Highland Way Race with. Minty had travelled hundreds of miles to support me and I had made assurances earlier in the year that I would most definitely make it past this point and require the services of a support runner.

At this point, things went from bad to worse.

50 miles into the race, the weather finally brightened up but I found myself again ravaged by explosive diarrhoea. I hit a new low. Knowing that I had to get back out there and keep on running, I made a move to leave the motorhome. At this point I suffered projectile vomitting, literally painting the walls and toilet bowl of the small motorhome with the contents of my stomach. Looking back at this point on the drive home today, Leanne and I both agreed that the Family Guy ‘Who Wants Chowder’ scene came closest to describing the events:

There was no way I could run another 45 miles. However, there was also no way that I could let my support runner and crew down. (Just for the record, I made every attempt to clean up the mess I made before departing the motorhome. No support crew deserves to have to clean that up! As I was informed today, I wasn’t quite as thorough as I thought I was).

I don’t know where I summoned any reserves from as I don’t remember feeling quite so low in the entirety of my 40 years, but I made it back out the door, shivering furiously and running on empty.

Minty coaxed me into a brisk walk and arranged for my support crew to meet me in Tyndrum, some 3 miles ahead – just in case.

To everyone’s surprise, none more so than me, I picked up!

There is a saying “If you feel good during an ultra, don’t worry, you will soon get over it.” I would like to add that this can also work in reverse. Checking Facebook this morning, I saw that someone had posted the following message: “To the kind marshall at Bein Glas who strongly suggested I give it until Auchtertyre to decide whether to pull out – thank you”. I know exactly what they mean. What a difference a few miles can make, especially in a race of this length.

The next 45 miles saw me expertly coaxed between running, hiking and, where necessary, shuffling, as Minty kept me moving forward. When we neared checkpoints, Minty would phone in my ‘order’ for food and drink and my excellent support crew made sure that it was ready for my arrival, regardless of the location and/or time of night. This even included sourcing things that I had never even considered (fizzy orange Lucozade) which helped to lift my mood in the aftermath of my projectile vomit session.

Towards the end of the race, and especially in the forest just before the final descent into Fort William, I started to suffer from hallucinations which I can only put down to sleep deprivation. I was certain that I saw a guinea pig on the trail, which turned out to be a rock, and was equally as certain about the presence of both white and brown rabbits along the trail (more rocks!) which refused to move as we ran through them. For a while, everything that I looked at appeared to have hidden depths and shapes.

Getting up and over the Devil’s Staircase and then the long climb out of Kinlochleven, I started to turn my thoughts to the finish.

By this point, my feet felt like they had blisters forming on top of existing blisters. I didn’t want to remove my socks and trainers for fear of the condition of my feet and kept shuffling on. The skin on the soles of my feet felt separated from the feet themselves and I found the rocky terrain underfoot particularly difficult. Each stray stone that jarred my foot ripped at the skin leaving me in pain.

I was also increasingly bothered by pain in my right hip and feared that I had somehow done some real damage to the area. As I found out on finishing, the pain was related to an ITB issue and I also found out that the left ITB was almost equally as tight so I have no doubt that the left hip would also have started to give me grief had I been required to run any further.

Minty and I finally arrived in Fort William at around 08:00 am Sunday morning and I crossed the finish line in a time of 31 hours 1 minute and 51 seconds.

We were 4 hours before the cut off and the start of the presentation of the well earned goblets where each finisher received their goblet in time order.

In that time I had a massage provided by Athletes Angels. This was both heavenly and painful in equal measure but I was glad of the opportunity to give the legs some much needed TLC. Further, the ITB issue was diagnosed at this point so at least I knew then that I had not created a greater problem with the hip.

I slept solidly for 2 hours in the motorhome, possibly the best 2 hours of sleep I have ever had, awakening just in time to grab a bacon butty before heading to the presentation.

Of the 172 starters, 119 finished, an amazing number given the adverse weather conditions.

I am sure that I have left heaps out of the above blog post. However, given that I am still suffering from sleep deprivation and still haven’t really got my head in the game yet, I wanted to get at least some of the weekends events down as a constant reminder of an excellent weekend.

Leanne tweeted my progress over the weekend and I will catch up with everyone over the next couple of days. Thanks to everyone who sent tweets and messages. Hopefully the above will serve as an insight into the toughest weekend I have experienced to date!

So, finally, down to the thanks.

A huge thanks to my support crew of Leanne, Sandra and John, who so willingly gave up their weekend to follow me about as I pursued my goal of joining the WHW Race Family. Little did I realise when I warned you that it is not uncommon for support crews to see their runners at their worst, that it would happen to me. Thanks for getting me through it.

Minty, thanks for agreeing to travel so far to act as my support runner. Thanks also for suggesting that you join me at Auchtertyre Farm, the earliest point at which a support runner is permitted. Given the events that took place there, I doubt I would have made it out of the motorhome had you not been due to join me. Your experience kept me moving forward and ultimately saw me achieve my goal of WHW Race Family membership. I owe you big style!

Huge thanks also to Race Director Ian Beattie, to the doctors, crew, Marshals and members of The Wilderness Response Team who gave up their time so that we could chase our goals in safety.

To all my fellow runners, well done on an outstanding achievement, especially given the weather conditions. I hope that you are not as blistered and immobile as I feel today. Any advice on cankles would be much appreciated!

3 Sleeps Until #whwrace

This will likely be my last pre-race blog post. Hopefully, with a bit of luck and a whole lot of determination, the next post will contain photos of a cherished goblet and some photos of various stages of the West Highland Way Race.

We are heading down to Glasgow straight after work on Thursday, giving us a whole day in Glasgow to prepare and chill in the build up to the race registration on the Friday evening and the eventual race start at 01:00 am on the Saturday morning.

As such, it’s decision time where kit is concerned. There are compulsory and recommended items of kit and, where possible, I aim to have all of them available to me during the race.

Given the uncertainty of the weather and the likelihood of at least some rain throughout the day, I am taking a number of changes in clothing and, this evening, will get these packed away in some order of preference. There are even a couple of Salomon vest tops in there but, given the forecast, it’s unlikely that they will see the light of day.

I will run with my favoured The North Face Triumph waterproof, either on or in the pack, dependent on the weather. Given that I may be moving ‘slightly’ slower by the end of proceedings, I am also packing a more substantial Arcteryx waterproof which will also provide a little more warmth – perhaps something that will be required come the second evening of running.

Trainer wise, I will start in the Hoka Stinson Evo Bs and will have the Hoka Mafates, Brooks Pure Grit, Inov8 Roclite 315s and Merrell Trail Gloves in case my feet need a change of shoe.

A huge pile of food, clothing and equipment in my hallway is testament to the needs of this race. A final shop on Thursday evening/Friday morning will serve to top up the food with the last few essentials and, after that, I think I will be good to go.

On the basis of discussions, forums and general advice the support strategy has been refined and I am hoping that my support team also has a great weekend. Without them all, this would simply not be possible.

Having completed 3 ultras already this year, from 33 miles up to 55 miles, and each with a new PB, I am confident that I have it in me to keep going for at least a bit longer. It will then be down to grit and determination to see me through to the end in Fort William.

So, as the day nears closer, my only real concern is the effect of sleep deprivation. I ‘like’ to get my 8 hours and, as I realised at the weekend, even a couple of hours later to bed than usual has a knock on effect on the rest of my day. As such, how I will cope with the sleep deprivation is anyone’s guess. That, I think (barring injury) is the main challenge to me completing the 95 miles.

At this point in time, the nerves still haven’t kicked in and I am still looking forward to the race. Hopefully this will continue to be the case right up until the off and, from then on, it will just be a case of getting on with it!

How will I feel after running 80 miles? How will I cope with the lack of sleep? Will my nutrition strategy see me through the distance? How long will it take to recover? I could go on. This is a massive step into the unknown but one that I have been looking forward to for some time now. There will no doubt be a lot of pain and suffering along the way but the objectives are clear and it was my own choice to up the ante and enter ‘the big one’. By the end of this coming weekend, I will likely know the answer to all of the above questions and more.

You can follow my progress on Twitter as I hope to be tweeting along the way (reception permitting!).

You can follow the race using the #whwrace hashtag on Twitter.

The race website will also be updated periodically

I found ‘How to Run the WHW Race Very Slowly‘ on the WHW Blog Updates website this week, well worth a read. The WHW Blog Updates site is an excellent resource listing many WHW Race blogs. I look forward to pouring over the various race reports in the weeks to come.

Best of luck to all those running the race (currently 182 starters) – See you all in ‘Fort Bill’

7 Sleeps

Only 7 sleeps to the 95 mile West Highland Way Race. It’s quite a thought that this time next week I will be about to embark on my longest run ever, by some 40 miles. I have been in discussion with my support team and with Ian Minty, my support runner, and I am feeling good about everything.

After a physio appointment yesterday my Achilles niggle got the all clear which is a great psychological boost. There is some scar tissue, most likely from the injury that I picked up at The Cateran Trail Ultramarathon, but the Achilles itself seems ok.

Given that the pain had subsided, I did feel a bit of a fraud taking up an appointment slot but it was reassuring to hear that my Achilles is unlikely to cause me any issues on the day. I was really impressed at the physio service. So, 7 sleeps and counting!

UltrAspire

I recently came across a line of ultramarathon specific products from the USA, thanks in part to some excellent reviews from Ian Corless (http://iancorless.org/). Ian has produced some very positive reviews for two UltrAspire products in particular:

Looking over the range, I was particularly impressed with the look of the Kinetic and Fastpack backpacks, which both offer easy front access to a variety of pockets while letting you carry bottles, my hydration container of choice. As a larger runner who often suffers in the heat, the Kinetic, with its open back, really appeals.

With an emphasis on freedom of movement and coming in small, medium and large sizes, these packs look just the ticket and the brand certainly appears to be increasing in popularity. The UltrAspire Fastpack and the Spry vest both received positive reviews in the July edition of TrailRunner(USA) magazine (http://www.trailrunnermag.com/).

For those of us who like waist packs, the Molecular Belt System (MBS) looks great, letting you construct a waist pack specific to your needs using a variety of connectors, pockets, and main units. The Impulse waist pack, with its two bottles caught my eye and is endorsed by none other than ultramarathon legend Karl ‘Speedgoat’ Meltzer.

UltrAspire gear is now available in the UK from The Ultramarathon Running Store:

Keith Godden is the man behind The Ultramarathon Store and has been running ultramarathons for 5 years now, most recently the 145 mile Grand Union Canal Race (GUCR) in June 2012.

Hopefully I will get an opportunity to put some UltrAspire kit through its paces in the near future. If anyone has any experience of using UltrAspire gear, please drop me a line on info@pixelscotland.com and let me know what you think.

West Highland Way Race Trailer

Logged on to Facebook this morning to see this excellent West Highland Way Race trailer from Grant Cairns, a fellow West Highland Way runner. After watching this, I can now update my official pre race status to ‘bricking it’ lol! A great video. I look forward to seeing an apres race one and, after discussions with my support crew and support runner, there might even be one of my own!

The West Highland Way Race – The Final Countdown

New post at The Running Bug, ‘The West Highland Way Race – The Final Countdown

Wanted: West Highland Way Race Support Crew. Must be prepared to give up an entire weekend, put up with interrupted sleep (at best), drive around the countryside and ensure that your runner is clothed, fed and constantly running/walking/shuffling/crawling forward. Basic first aid skills and thick skin may be required.

If I saw this advert I would personally think twice (at least!) about responding! Fortunately for me, my friends and family didn’t and, as a result, I have a great crew in place to help me on my way to trying to complete the 95 mile West Highland Way Race, my longest race to date by some 40 miles.

Essentially the object of the West Highland Way Race is simple. You start at Milngavie Railway Station (7miles north of Glasgow) at 1am on Saturday 23rd June 2012 & run/jog/walk to Fort William Leisure Centre by noon on the Sunday 24th June 2012, 35 hours to cover 95 miles including 14,760ft of ascent. (www.westhighlandwayrace.org)

There is less than 2 weeks to go now until the race and, due to an achilles niggle picked up at The Cateran Trail Ultramarathon, I have cut right back on the running these past few weeks. As a result, I should reach the start line well rested, an enforced taper of sorts!

Mrs Mac will be there to try and ensure that I don’t do myself too much damage! She will be joined by her aunt and uncle, Sandra and John Donnelly. The three of them will be in the motorhome that we have rented for the weekend and I hope that they enjoy the event as much as I will.

I am also fortunate to be joined by Ian Minty (known as ‘Minty’), who will be my pacer for the later stages of the event. I have known Minty for a short while now as a result of various training runs and ultramarathons. We ran almost all of the 2011 Cateran Trail Ultramarathon together, pulling each other along to the finish and it was this run in particular that cemented a great friendship.

I was delighted when Minty offered to run the last 45 miles (approx.) of the race with me, joining me at the earliest permitted opportunity for pacers on the race. Having ‘only’ run 55 miles before, I appreciate that the last 40 miles will be totally unknown territory and, as such, I am even more grateful to have Minty running alongside, keeping me upright and on track!

An email from Minty a few weeks back brought home the close proximity of the event. I can only really liken it to Christmas. There is this long, drawn out build up followed by a mad panic in the couple of weeks preceding the event and then, all too soon, it will be over for yet another year. Hopefully, come noon on the 24th June, I will be about to receive the best present that I could wish for – one of the prized finishers goblets and entry to The West Highland Way Race Family.

Minty’s email got me thinking. There were so many good questions. Things I had barely considered. I was in the frame of mind that I was going to turn up and run. End of story. The email was just the kick up the backside that I needed.

The email broached the idea of starting my taper, my plans for the day itself, consideration of where I should be at what time, how hard to push through the day, how hard I should ask my support team and support runner to push me, what goals and/or approaches are important to me, and, equally as relevant, what goals and/or approaches aren’t!

The email also mentioned the dreaded DNF (Did Not Finish) scenario. Under what circumstances would I accept a DNF? (fatigue? Injury?) Should the support team ever suggest a DNF? Should the support team try to put me off of a DNF if I am feeling low?

All good questions that got me thinking, and not before time. Minty’s aim was to best prepare for the race so that he could help steer me in the direction that I wanted to go, especially when my own mental faculties might be impaired through exhaustion and sleep deprivation.

All of these questions, and more importantly their answers, were equally relevant to my crew in the motorhome.

So, after considerable effort, I came up with a game plan for the day.

Barring serious injury, a DNF does not factor into my plans. I am, of course, saying this with no experience of how it feels to be at mile 80 with a further difficult 15 miles to go and suffering from aches, pains and sleep deprivation. In my head, I hope that I will be strong enough to follow this conviction! (I really hope this one doesn’t come back to haunt me!)

I have now prepared and sent a spreadsheet with estimated timings to my support crew. I have set myself gold, silver and bronze standards to aim for. Gold is anything under 28 hours. Silver is 28 to 32 hours, and Bronze is 32 hours to 35 hours. Anything over 35 hours is beyond the permitted completion time for the race and, as such, is outwith the ‘medals’.

I have also given some thought to food requirements. As with The Cateran, I am going with ‘real food’ but will have a small supply of gels just in case. I am planning on eating everything from potatoes, porridge and tomato soup to cheese and onion sandwiches and Jamaican Ginger Cake (the latter two were staples of my Cateran ‘diet’) and drinking everything from water with High 5 Zero hydration tablets to Coke, Coffee and Slimfast shakes.

The main aim of the day is simply to finish. It doesn’t have to be pretty – it will likely be anything but!

With a bit of luck the weather will be on our side. Last year I followed the race via Twitter while on holiday in Menorca. Back home it was torrential rain, bad enough for races of 13 hours, never mind 30 hours! The previous two years were very hot by all accounts. For me, something in between would be just perfect and hopefully would minimise the need to change kit too many times (Race regulations are that you must have 5 different sets of kit available).

The 230 runners who were originally allowed entry to the race have now dwindled to 180 approx as injury and other circumstances take their toll. I hope that everyone who makes it to the start line at Milngavie at 1 a.m. on Saturday 23rd June has a great weekend and that they all reach Fort William.

Hopefully the support crews and runners will also have a great weekend. By all accounts, there is a great camaraderie between the teams as they each help their runners to try and achieve their goal. Seeing your runner at his or her worst, battered, bruised and deprived of sleep can be tough on crews, often including loved ones. However, this will hopefully be balanced out by the fun of the day and, with a bit of luck, by the site of seeing their runner finally cross the line, whether it be in 15 hours 44 minutes (Course record set by Jez Bragg in 2006), in 34 hours 59 minutes, or anything in between!

Thanks again to everyone in my team. Your efforts are hugely appreciated. The West Highland Way Race has been a goal of mine for a while now and I am grateful of your help as I try to reach that goal. With a bit of luck I will not be moody/stroppy/quick tempered etc. etc. From the various podcasts and articles that I have listened to/read it is clear that runners may not always be at their nicest once the miles and hours start to take their toll. As such, I will get my thanks in now and apologise in advance for any of the above.

Finally, thanks in advance to the organisers and marshals, without whom the race would not be possible.

See you all in Fort William!

Links

Schlumberger Crawfish Carnival

With less than 2 weeks to go to the 95 mile West Highland Way Race and with an achilles niggle still hanging over me, I am deep in ‘taper mode’. Having ramped up the mileage this year, the enforced hiatus feels both weird and refreshing. One thing that I have found is that, with the absence of long slow runs, I now have considerably more time on my hands at the weekends. This was put to good use this weekend at the Schlumberger Crawfish Carnival, a day of events and food courtesy of Mrs Macs employers – Schlumberger.

Mrs Mac, her brother Ross, and myself went along to Castle Fraser, near Kemnay, where we made the most of the opportunities to try archery, quad biking and, perhaps best of all, Segways. The quad bike is the only motorised vehicle that I have driven since driving a tractor ‘down on the farm’ back in my school/early University days when I used to spend the summers picking vegetables. Given that I almost managed to take out some of the poles and barriers, I don’t think I will be sending off for my provisional driving licence any time soon lol!

I did fare better on the Segway. I had hoped to do better than former US President, George Bush and was surprised when I didn’t fall. After getting over the initial weirdness, I soon found myself zipping (or so it felt!) around the small obstacle course, and can’t wait to try one out for a longer session.

Segway Aberdeen provided the Segways on the day and offer 1 hour sessions on a bespoke obstacle course in Templar’s Park, Aberdeenshire. I am looking forward to heading down there at some point in the not too distant future.

Achilles Niggle & Physio

I was both surprised and delighted to speak with the local physio about the achilles niggle in my ankle. I felt something ‘go’ around the 6 mile mark of the recent 55 mile Cateran Trail Ultramarathon but ‘carried’ the injury to the finish as I was determined not to end the race immediately before my attempt on the West Highland Way with a DNF.

Given my intention to still run the 95 mile West Highland Way Race, I had expected little in the way of sympathy and, indeed, to be told quite simply not to run. However, the phone referral that took place was very positive and it would appear that they are keen to do as much as possible to help me get to the start line in the best possible condition.

While the inflammation has subsided considerably, there is still some sharp pain and the ankle just doesn’t look ‘quite right’. Here’s hoping for some further improvement in time for the race.

www.canadaplace.ca

I was delighted to receive an email from www.canadaplace.ca today asking for permission to use one of my images in a new permanent interpretive exhibit telling visitors about the war of 1812 that will be installed on the promenade deck of Canada Place this spring.

“The War of 1812 Experience at Canada Place will commemorate the 200th anniversary of one of the major milestones on Canada’s road to becoming an independent country. Canada would not exist as we know it today had the American invasion of 1812-1814 not been deterred. Scheduled to open in June 2012, the War of 1812 Experience at Canada Place will be free to visitors, bring our nation’s history to life and interactively demonstrate how our past helped shape the world we live in today.”

About Canada Place

Located in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown harbour front, Canada Place is the inspiring national landmark welcoming local residents, visitors and ships to the West Coast. Canada Place Corporation is the owner of Canada Place, and is the coordinating landlord for the organizations at Canada Place including the Pan Pacific Hotel, Port Metro Vancouver corporate offices and Cruise Ship Terminal, World Trade Centre and Vancouver Convention Centre East.

I was fortunate enough to get married in Canada in 2010 and spent 3 weeks touring around this awesome country. Vancouver was our final destination and I recall seeing the distinctive Canada Place building. Hopefully we can return there to see the image in use in the not too distant future!