You always think you are going to get an amazing nights sleep after running a 24hour race, but it never quite works out like that. I can’t move my legs a millimetre in any direction without yelping in pain, so in the absense of sleep i might as well rustle up a race report. It’s around 48hours since i last slept so expect spelling errors, factual innacuracies and flights of fancy. It’s possible none of this actualy happened, but if that is the case i can always play the brain haemorrhage defense trump card.
So, Glenmore 24 hour trail race. I won this race back in 2012. It’s the only race i’ve ever won, and that was quite exciting. So when i entered the 2014 race back in november I was hoping the big boys would stay at home and i could win another shiny trophy. I guess like Greig Gleindinning I am a bit of a pot hunter. Although his technique is to find 10k races in obscure borders towns to win, my version is to find stupidly long races where you can win by being the last person to get bored of running around in circles. Well, I jest, you do need a bit of training, but a low boredom threshold will take you a long way in 24 hour racing.
In feburary the aforementioned sub arachnoid brain haemorrhage occured (try spelling that after 48 hours with no sleep) which kind of blew a hole in my training. Most of Feburary was spent enjoying the facilities on ward 65 at the Southern General and much of March was spent napping and trying to remember what I’d had for breakfast. By April I had got fed up of googling brain haemorrhage to 5k training plans and started doing a little bit of running, I even ventured out for a few hill races. My lack of fitness was apparent, I could no longer keep up with bella’s resident mountain goat al ewan and had to resort to giving the v60 ladies a run for their money. By may i was back at work and i was running regularly but very slowly. By june most of the fatigue and headaches I had been having were starting to wear off and I was starting to feel like normal. It was at this stage that Glenmore became important to me, i felt that if i had a decent run there it would be the final stage in getting my life fully back to how it was before the brain haemorrhage (end of the serious bit, stay with me there is some toilet stuff coming soon).
Over june, july and august i got 3 decent months of training in but that doesnt make very interesting reading so lets just cut to the startline:
We are in a field near Aviemore. Its cold and it’s raining and I’m about to spend the next 24hours running laps of a 4 mile trail loop. I’m starting to seriously question my life choices. Is this really so important to me, couldn’t I just have done Parkrun? The gun is fired and we trot off on our 1st lap past loch morlich and I immediatly start to remember why i love this race. A lot of people think lapped races are boring. But there is a really elegent simplicity about them. All external complications like navigation and carrying food are stripped away and it just becomes about the process of moving one foot in front of the other. You pushing your body to the limit, how far can you go in 24 hours?
Or at least this is the kind of bullshit you have to keep telling yourself in a 24 hour race to stop yourself nipping off for a bag of chips and an early night in a warm bed.
My 2012 race had been punctuated by stomach problems in the early stages -“stomach problems” tends to be the euphemism of choice in race reports for massive exploding bottom issues (I believe my effort of 4 poos in the first four laps is still a race record). However there was no such drama this time around, which is a bit of a disappointment as all race reports need a good poo story, hence me revisiting past glories. Instead the main theme for the 2014 glenmore 24 was rain. There was was rain, thunder, and hail in varying quantities. But this is aviemore in september, you dont come here for the weather, so you just have to suck it up and get on with it. And thats what i did, i ran, walked and shuffled for 24 hours. And i loved every minute of it, which i guess marks me down as some sort of weirdo, but there was a load of other weirdos out there doing the same thing which makes it even more fun.
So I’m actually getting pretty tired now so i wont give you a blow by blow account so lets just have some race stats: i managed 124 miles in the 24 hours. enough for 2nd place and a wee trophy. And definetely enough to put this brain haemorrhage business to bed for good. On on…
ps i should give a special mention to Elsie who devoted her weekend to ultra support duties which included watching me smear my bum crack with vaseline. She is a very special lady.
by Grant M