Turns out that there was more than one Westie at the LAMM this year… at least, if I am allowed to consider myself a lapsed/part-time Westie. Let my sorry tale be a warning to all. Always go to Wednesday night training. Not going to training has consequences and they are painful. Today, I am suffering. Or maybe it is just my inability to say no?
The text came last Monday – a friend had hurt her Achilles, would I be able to do the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon at the last minute? Foolishly I had made an off-hand comment several weeks earlier to the effect that I would be open to being called upon. After all, hadn’t I done exactly the same thing several years ago? Oops.
So there we were, setting off from Inverlael at 7:10 on Saturday morning with me wondering if this was really the right set of circumstances for my first hill run in over a year. In fact, my first run of any significance at all since early April.
Luckily it turned out to be brilliant fun and totally straightforward navigation as the visibility was excellent. Last weekend was definitely one of the best weather weekends I’ve ever had in the north west. There were incredible views across to An Teallach and north to Ben More Coigach, Stac Pollaidh, Suilven and beyond.
Although quite frankly, the stunning view was neglected as we concentrated on the job at hand. Mountain marathon navigation is all about figuring out the shortest, least tussocky/bouldery/boggy route to the next spur, re-entrant or stream junction checkpoint. I’m sure many runners would absolutely hate mountain marathons as the terrain can rarely be described as "runnable". Weirdly, I absolutely love the challenge of navigating and attempting to move quickly through the hills regardless of the terrain. At least, I love it when the navigation goes well. This weekend we only made one truly daft mistake when we followed the herd of other runners to the wrong lochan. Ironically it was a mistake that we probably wouldn’t have made had there been low cloud and poor visibility. Despite that we ended up 13th out of the 102 teams that finished C class and were highest placed female pair. Having run ourselves into the ground we were pretty pleased with that result!
What I’m not pleased with is how ridiculously stiff and sore I am now! Particularly as I am well aware that it is entirely my own fault for not going running more regularly. So, a vow is needed: either learn how to say no to last minute escapades or make more of an effort to get along to Wednesday night training. I know which would be more fun! Di has written about our run on her blog, there’s a post on mineand of course our grinning mugshots are up there with the multitude of other prizewinners on the LAMM website. The LAMM is a great event – really well organised, a good crowd of folk and fab locations – put it on the list for next year!