It's only 10 weeks to go until the West Highland Way race on 23rd June. That means it is time to start increasing the mileage, focusing more specifically now on long, steady off-road runs, a lot of which will be on the WHW route itself.
Yesterday I met up with Ellen, Debbie, Aileen, Mags, George, Bobby, Alasdair and Karen at the car park at Bridge of Orchy, setting out for Fort William around 8.30am. Weatherwise it was a brilliant day. If anything, it was a touch too warm at some sections, although it seems a bit churlish to complain about the heat in Scotland in the middle of April. We took the first couple of sections to Kingshouse relatively easily, but worked a bit harder up and down the Devil's Staircase to Kinlochleven. By this stage we had split into 3 groups - Debbie, Aileen and I had pushed on a bit at the front; Ellen and Mags were working away steadily not far behind; and then George, Bobby, Alasdair and Karen were just behind them. The last group (the 'Troonies') are training for the Devil O' The Highlands Footrace on 9th June, and were only going as far as Kinlochleven.
I arrived in Fort William 7 hours and 32 minutes after setting out. This was probably a bit faster than I had planned to run, but was about 8 minutes behind Debbie, who had pushed on very strongly towards the top end of the Lairig Mor. I suffered a bit from cramp on the last sections, probably as a result of the heat, and although it was never enough to stop me running it did slow me down at quite a few points. It's something I'll have to have a think about - it does cost a bit of time when it happens, and I'm sure it can be avoided by eating and drinking the right things. If there are any nutritionists out there with any advice, please get in touch!
We had plenty of time to get a coffee at the local Morrisons - I even had time for a shower at the Fort William Leisure Centre, which meant I wasn't as smelly as the others - before we headed back to Bridge of Orchy on the 5.40 train. All in all a great day out, and one which should set us up nicely for the 53 mile Highland Fling race from Milngavie to Tyndrum in a couple of weeks time. Bring it on!