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The Hoka Highland Fling
by John Cowan - 07:29 on 05 May 2017
Three days after completing The Hoka Highland Fling, I am still coming to terms with what happened on Saturday and trying to process how I feel about the whole experience!
Right now, my running shoes are next to the bin and I never want to see Loch Lomond or a banana again!!!!!
Having spent months and months training and preparing for the event and scheduling training runs and races around 29 April, I probably wasn't enjoying or appreciating running as I should and it became a chore rather than a pleasure. Instead of appreciating a good 6, 10 or whatever distance run, I would be judging it against my weekly training target or percentage of The Fling distance. The big boost I did get was at Glentress Trail Marathon which I did enjoy and gave me the belief that I was on course for a realistic shot at the Ultra.
I have been really lucky and remained injury and illness free this year and arrived at Milngavie Station without strapping, pain or any niggle playing on my mind. Looking forward to the day, it was almost a relief to stand at the start thinking the journey was nearly done, confident in my training preparation and that my bloody mindedness (ask my wife) would see me through the day.
The run itself still feels rather a blur but I did enjoy the first half of the run, particularly over Conic Hill which showed in my split times. The second half of the run, I must confess was a completely different story and the technical rocky trails beside Loch Lomond really took their toll on my legs and muscles!
Leading up to the run, I did plan how to cope with the fatigue, pain and doubts but in practise none of these positive thoughts, motivational speechs in my head seemed relevant and the reality of the ridiculous 53 miles persisted in my mind. It occurred to me that although I was competing in one of the most stunning venues in the world, I may as well have been running anywhere as appreciating the view was the last thing on my mind which is a shame.
I feel as if I am not inspiring you all to sign up and as the days and weeks come and the aches subside, photos appear and the achievement sinks in, my recollection of the event will become more positive and new plans will emerge. I am grateful for all the support from everyone and was honoured to stand on the start line beside Alan Creighton on Saturday morning, knowing how much work he put into his training and what completing the run meant to him.
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