"No, not me, not ever, no no no, definitely not..." I have said on numerous occasions when pressed on whether I would ever attempt the West Highland Way race. Yet there it is, my name on this year's starters list. So what's changed?
Last year was a write off. It started well with training well underway for attempt 2 of the Fling. By February I was running like a pensioner with a hip replacement and by March I wasn't running at all. Whatever the problem with my hip was it wasn't for fixing in any hurry. Only the passing of time would fix this one but it took 5 months. By then almost all fitness I ever had was gone and the journey back would prove to be long. I tried to keep my fitness up by going to the gym but it's not the place for me. I tried cycling, I was even gifted a shiny new road bike, but my heart wasn't in it. It was simply a case of knuckling down and getting on with it.
It was tough, tougher than I imagined but I persevered safe in the knowledge that persistence paid off. Except this time it wasn't. I was slow, lethargic, struggling to get my breath and pretty pissed off. A blood test confirmed I was anaemic, not just a little bit but a big big bit. After a few weeks on high dosage iron I was like a new woman. In this time my OH had pioneered the 100 Days of Christmas challenge - run the 100 days up to Christmas which turned out to be 101 cos he canny bloody count - which I cheerfully subscribed to, bagging myself a new half marathon PB in the process. And then injury struck again about 30 days in, this time with my ankle. No idea the problem but again the only solution was rest. "Luckily" during that time I was confined to bed for a fortnight with flu which helped the ankle recovery process if nothing else.
I managed to get back on my feet just in time for this year's Marcothon, a challenge I have failed on 2 previous occasions, and through the usual difficulties of time restrictions, children, weather etc. I made it!!
The thing that changed then. Doing Fiona's support last year really made me have a re-think. After a full-on week with the weans with little respite I headed up on the Saturday to join the support team at Tyndrum. I ran with Fiona from Glencoe into Kinlochleven and carried on the support until she finished on Sunday morning. Okay I was a grumpy bastard on the journey home, but during the moments of extreme stress and fatigue I thought "I could do this..." and I genuinely think I can.
Now the real work begins. The plan? Well there isn't really one except to say that it's all about this one race and little else matters. I may or may not dabble in a few races in the lead up to June but I know where my focus is and that's where I plan to keep it...