Twin Peaks Conquered - but I had to join a queue!

Twin Peaks Conquered - but I had to join a queue!

I've been a bit quiet for a few days. Mrs Malcy would say that's never a bad thing! It's the Great Trail Challenge next weekend in the Lake District, and this was my last 'training' weekend. The St Andrews Parkrun went as well as could be expected given that the starting pistol went off while I was still 200/300 metres away from the line. I had been taking my time driving there, you see. I had left in plenty of time and in fact was thinking about making a scenic detour on the way. I didn't, but sat in my car for a wee while before I headed to the start. But sat for a minute or two too long. I guess I learned another of life's lessons! So no PB this week. But according to Nike+, I wouldn't have made it anyway.

It would have been so easy to stop at the end of the first lap. How many times have I written that line? But every time I put on my running shoes and venture out, that's exactly how I feel. I DETEST running. Until I get past the first half mile or so - then I absolutely love it!

It was the same this morning, when I ventured up the Lomond Hills once again. I'd been building up my trail running during May, but now it was June. The last Sunday before "The Big One". No excuses, no rest until I completed the trail from the East Lomond to the top of its Western sister. The "I just want to stop" feeling came in on cue, and was dispensed with. The 'zone' soon came along and from then on things were fine.

I had been a fair way along the trail last time - I did 5k each way and reckoned there was only another 1k more to do. In fact it was 7.53km to the summit ... of which goodness knows how much was near vertical. Ouch. Literally. Boy did my ankles hurt going up that gradient! I pretty quickly came to the conclusion that there was a reason I hadn't seen anyone going up that side of the hill. I guess they all take the easier alternative route up ... and the 'Eiger' route down. Malcy, being a particularly stupid bloke, was doing it the other way round. On the other hand, nothing that I encounter in the Great Trail Challenge will now make me go "gulp". My fear of hills has been well and truly demolished.

So I arrived at the top of the West Lomond, for the first time in my life. I see it every day, For over thirty years I've thought about walking up there. And here I was. The air was totally clear, and the view was amazing. From the foothills of the highlands in the north, round by the North Sea at St Andrews to the east, and over to Edinburgh and beyond to the south. Even the Tay and Forth estuaries were twinkling in the sun. Wow!

Then it happened. Here I am - Malcy the Conqueror. Malcy the God of Hell Fire. All that stuff. And two guys come running up the hill. Not via the path. Not via the 'Eiger'. No - those would have been too easy. The were running 'free of constraints'. They had already been running for more than three hours and taken in three MAJOR hills. And they still had two more to go before they would be finished. Let's be clear - they weren't walking ... they were running the whole way. And they didn't look much younger than myself. Oh dear. I now need to find a huge rock and crawl underneath it!

They weren't the only people I came across either - I reckon I must have passed over 100 people walking at least part of the route. And a dozen or so runners. It wasn't quite a case of queuing up to ascend the peaks, but it was certainly a lot busier than in previous weeks. Isn't that great?

Anyway, I've gone on and on and on as usual. There would be lots more to tell. About how I had bought a chest strap for my camera and had taken a video ... except it showed the track rather than the view ... and the battery ran out ... and all the other things I have to sort out before next weekend's run. Or how, at the summit of the East Lomond I came across a couple of guys paragliding.

mmcinteractive.com/running/...

That looked real fun. Did I tell you that I joined my university's skydiving club a few years ago? It was great until the jump when I broke my leg ... Paragliding looks much safer.

So that's the tome finished. Job done. East and West Lomonds done - crushed under my feet. A 15k trail run - done! Two summits in one run - done!

Did I mention I was using my new trail shoes for the first time?

mmcinteractive.com/running/...

One week to go. Two more training runs along the Lomonds on Tuesday and Thursday, then we (myself and Mrs Malcy) head off to Keswick for a long weekend. It ALWAYS rains when we go there, but the forecast for next weekend is good. I'm looking forward to it!

17 Replies

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  • Way to go Malcy, well done you. I dislike hills when they're covered with tar or slabs but hill tracks are a different ball game, so darn hard. Your one tough guy well suited to the name of God of Hell Fire ;)

  • I have no idea how you find the energy and presence of mind to do all this. But my hat (if I wore one that is) goes off to you.

    I am sure you will enjoy next weekend and give it your all. AND if you can't run down you could always paraglide :-D

  • Well done on what sounds like a brilliant run, Malcy.

    Wow, at your trail shoes laces! Those will be spotted from miles away. :-)

  • I hear the Air Force were scrambled when a spy satellite detected a missile launch this morning. But it was only the red from my laces ... Hopefully, it won't take long for the rain and mud to dull the laces down a bit.

    Mrs Malcy has been watching the French Open tennis this week ... day-glo seems to be the 'in' colour at the moment.

  • Love the blog and the photos Malcy. Might just try the Lomonds one day. Hope Keswick goes well.

  • Gosh, that's impressive. I do admire those of you who run the hills and mountains - it's SUCH a lot of extra work and needs so much more strength and stamina than running on the flat. It must be hugely rewarding in terms of achievement when you can look out at those views and know that you've run there.

    As to those guys who do 5 major hills at the same time - well, you've got to admire people like that but they have to be a bit bonkers, don't they? Great trail shoes, but I think I'll have to recalibrate the colour settings on my monitor as it doesn't seem to be able to cope...

  • I reckon we're all bonkers. Especially those laces

    I bought a similar pair of road shoes at the same time - dayglo green ... the colour of a highlighting pen! Nobody can say they can't see me coming ...

  • I love your blog, as always, and wonderful photos too. I don't know how you do it!

  • You don't know how I do it? After what you did, it's the rest of us who don't know how YOU do it! :)

    It is fun though, isn't it?

  • Great blog Malcy! A couple of real LOL moments....sitting in the car too long, taking the hard way round the route, crawling under your rock, the shenanigans with the camera and, er sorry, the throw-away remark about the broken leg!! :D More than a couple but so funny! ;)

    Hope the last 2 training runs go well and enjoy Keswick.... maybe after the Challenge with a beer in hand!! You will be fine!

    Sue

  • Yep - it was certainly an eventful weekend. BTW - the story about the broken leg is true. Landed on my left foot, the wind caught me and swivelled me round with my foot still planted firm down. My eg did a fair impersonation of a barley sugar stick ... a spiral fracture all the way up the tibia. Or the fibia. Whichever is the big one.

    Here's the funny bit. I had to go to hospital (obviously) and stayed in overnight before getting the leg reset the next morning. I had a visit from a group of nurses who came to see the skydiver. I guess they pictured a handsome twenty-year-old. So you can imagine their disappointment when they found an overweight forty-something! :)

  • I gathered it was true....not at all funny I know and sounds a very bad accident and fracture...ouch! :O

    Oh Malcy, I'm sure the nurses still loved you though.....dont put yourself down! ;)

    S

  • Nah - it WAS quite funny, even at the time. It didn't hurt - I just heard the crack and new I had a problem. But when you have a brisk wind, you have to collapse the canopy before you get dragged away - trailing our broken leg.

    So there was nothing for it but to stand up and do the necessary. The guys in the control room thought that meant I was OK .. until I dropped back down and gave them a wave. Standing up was a bit painful (!) but otherwise, I didn't feel a thing.

    Blimey!

  • "new I had a problem"? Oops

  • Reminds me of a frog I once saw with a broken back leg, dragging itself along....sad but oh how I laughed, it just looked so funny!! I have now got a fit of giggles thinking about it and comparing it to you being dragged along by the wind.......

  • Good luck with the Great Trail Challenge ... break a leg! ;-) btw it can't be any tougher than the Lomonds!

  • Thanks - I'll let you know how I get on. I thought I must be crazy to enter it. But having done the training, I think it'll be OK. Then again, I look at the elevation profile and see two REALLY steep sections. I just know I'll be walking up those. If I manage to figure out how to take a passable video in time, I'll create a youTube account and post the highlights. I can promise lots of puffing and panting!

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