Ding Ding, Almost The Fling

Hoka Highland Fling 2015

Ding Ding, almost the Fling. Well, at least, it feels like it’s almost the Fling. And yet, it’s actually still approx. 1 month away. Probably just as well as far as I am concerned as ‘training’ hasn’t gone to plan since the D33, just for a change. In fact, I would go so far as to say that calling it ‘training’, even with the little ‘ and ‘ marks of sarcasm, would leave me open to legal action under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which I just found out replaced the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (Wow, this blog post is bordering on educational!). I would most definitely fail under the ‘As Described’/’match any description’ element.

After my unexpected D33 PB, I’m hopeful of a Fling PB. Why exactly is anyone’s guess as I certainly haven’t logged the miles to justify such an expectation. Hopefully I can at least get a good solid month of training in. So, excuses for the lack of training of late. Are you ready for the usual, and occasionally quite unusual, stream of reasons?

Family, as usual, is the #1 reason for training not going to plan, but the unexpected and last minute cancellation of our Cairngorm trip, an extended birthday weekend staying at Glenmore Lodge, with its ample trail running opportunities, was a particular blow. I have to admit that it put a dampner on my whole birthday weekend but Harris was poorly and, in all likelihood, I doubt that any of us would have coped well living in a single room for the few days of the trip. Family most definitely comes first. The doom of that weekend was likely compounded by the fact that I spent the best part of the weekend dealing with the family filing cabinet, a sadly neglected place where old paperwork goes to die, filled with papers, policies, letters and various other items that have long expired in terms of any usefulness! Ah well, at least the one thing to emerge from that weekend was the completion of a long put off task!

Health wise, I have (touch wood), somehow, still managed not to succumb to the flu / sickness / general malaise that is still doing the rounds. I’ve felt below par on a few days, and out of sorts on others, but have yet to come down with the bugs that have been affecting Harris and Leanne, something quite unheard of for me. I can only suspect that I have somehow found an immune system, something that appears to have been quite lacking for me for as long as I can remember. I can only hope that I don’t fall ill at the final hurdle, on race day. Even the thought fills me with dread!

The last of my excuses is my legs! Following on from my ‘hill reps’ on Bennachie, I experienced the weirdest DOMS ever. The body felt OK initially, with nothing more than I would have expected in terms of pain. However, perhaps aggravated by a Pilates class on the Tuesday, my legs went into meltdown. My quads were actually tender to touch for over a week, and the thought of running was just beyond me. The best that I managed was a couple of cross trainer sessions and a swim, and even those were a bit lacking. I did try foam rolling, using my Triggerpoint The Grid STK Massagestick but it was a laughable effort, literally. The second the Massagestick touched my quads I actually laughed out loud, such was the level of pain. It was a case of ‘ha, this is soooo not happening’ (Just for the record, I do actually consider myself to have a decent level of pain endurance!)

And then, just when the legs started to come around again, and the propsect of getting back to training presented itself, I was bitten twice on the legs whilst giving my lawns the first cut of the year. By what exactly, I am unsure, but I suspect that it was a horse-fly. Knowing full well how these things tend to go, I raced to the bathroom cabinet for some generous applications of antihistamine cream. However, the damage was done and, within the hour, both legs were in full on swell mode, with the left calf swollen and the right leg swollen and burning hot from ankle to knee. A week on from this, ‘normal service’ is starting to return and the legs have returned to normal size. The bites themselves, however, are still a bit tender. Running once bitten isn’t advisable. Whilst the pain levels are acceptable, it appears to aggravate and spread whatever it is that is ‘doing the rounds’ in my legs!

It could have been worse I guess. A few years back I was bitten a couple of weeks before the Fling. I was actually off work for a week, under instruction from the Doctor to keep both legs elevated to try and reduce the swelling. I was advised not to run the Fling but, also, that if I absolutely had to run it (my doctor knows me well!), that I should not train at all in the interim period. Thus, when I did run the Fling that year, it was my first run in over 2 weeks!

I really do wish that I wasn’t the equivalent of a ‘Happy Meal’ where insects are concerned. As good as it is for anyone in my vicinity, as all attention appears to be focussed on me, this ‘meal’ certainly isn’t ‘happy’!

Crossing The Line - Hoka Highland Fling 2015So, that’s it for the excuses. Believe it or not, the whole point of this post wasn’t to let everyone know how training (sorry ‘training’) wasn’t going, but was, in fact, to put up a gallery of Fling / West Highland Way route photos, most of which were taken last year on my way to an unexpected Fling PB. In fact, had I not stopped to take quite so many photos, it could have been a vastly improved PB. Ah well, the benefit of hindsight!

One of my most memorable 2015 photos wasn’t even taken by me. It’s the one shown to the left, where Harris has joined me on the red carpet, running to cross the line.

Just for the record, in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been slowly (emphasis on slowly) expanding pixelscotland.com, with the addition of a Running section, complete with my running CV (or at least what I can remember and find results for), a Resources section, which is not meant to be definitive in any sense of the word, but to provide a listing of all of the retailers, brands, blogs and so forth that I myself find useful, and a Scottish Ultra Marathon Series section which, in the fullness of time, will be expanded to include all of the previous postings related to my ultra races.

Hopefully you like the direction that the site and blog are taking. I have to admit that I have already turned down the offer of some shiny new kit, just so that I could stick to the newly stated principles of my blog/site, and it hurts. Not only would the opportunity to test and review the item in question have been most welcomed, but I also felt like I was letting the person in question down, someone who has, in the past, provided items for review. To say that I felt bad was an understatement. However, there’s little point in revamping the site if I am just going to ‘capitulate’ and follow the same path as before.

Happy running :o)