Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Summer adventures

Sticking to warm slopers on Pallet Knife, Font 7b+, Torridon

After I got back from Pabbay, there was only a few days before the West Highland Way race I had entered. I had spent most of the spring thinking there was no possibility whatsoever thatI’d be able to do it. My ankle had progressed a bit, then got worse, then much worse, then a bit better again. I’d get a few runs in for a couple of weeks, then have to stop for a few weeks, then attempt to start again.

My total mileage from January to the start of June was only just double the length of the race. Oh dear. However, during June I did manage a couple of weeks running 60 miles a week, so that was better than nothing. I mostly did shorter runs because that’s all my foot would allow me to. The longest was only 25 miles. But I could do 10K in under 40 minutes so I was definitely better than couch potato standard. I figured that even if I could only run 40 or 50 miles, I’d walk in the rest and call it a success under the circumstances.

However, on my last run before the race, I realised I was about to pay for trying to go from zero to fit in a few short weeks. The plantar fascia I tore in last year’s accident started to burn sharply and I knew it was over. Nevertheless, I showed up at the start line and ran the first 20 miles before limping into Balmaha, not leaving any doubt in my mind. I was upset. The experience has left a bigger scar in my mind than in my foot. Perhaps after another year, my foot will be in better form for running. At least I can give it a break and start from scratch again. 

The trouble with these sorts of experiences is that they are a storm in a tea cup. In one part of your mind, it's really pretty upsetting. End of a little dream and all that. But to everyone else, it's no big deal. Life goes on. Lucky to be alive after the accident anyway etc.. All true. I guess I just haven't grown up enough to deal with such little frustrations. The scary thing is, I don't always feel like I want to.

So with that, my little diversion was consigned to the past, and two days later I was tied in at the foot of Conquistador E7 7a at the Loch Tollaidh crags. After a quick abseil brush and check of the gear, I decided to go for a flash attempt. I got through the initial boulder problem without any trouble. I felt pretty relaxed, and so I didn’t really notice the pump creeping in as I worked my way towards the second crux high on the route. This also went by without much trouble, but a sense of urgency suddenly hit me as I hung from a sloper trying to fiddle in a small RP. There were no footholds and so a bit of a grunt was required to pull over the final bulge into a face full of drizzle. The buzz was enough to clear some cobwebs and remind body and mind that it’s built for climbing steep rock.

Alicia enjoying some perfect sandstone in Glen Torridon

The following day myself and Alicia toured the lovely sandstone of Torridon and worked projects in the Arisaig Cave. I went back just afterwards and found a kneebar which changed a Font 8a project into another classic 7Cish (it was pretty damp when I did it so maybe it’s be easier in fresh weather).

After that, A period of three difficult weeks began. More about that in a separate post.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dave, guessed at continued injury problems when I heard you'd pulled out of WHW Race so early, but really hope we'll see you entering, running and finishing well up next year!