Vesti la Giubba

Not sure whether I am more scared or excited, but for better or worse I have got myself a place in the West Highland Way Race which starts in Milngavie at 1am on June 22nd 2013. There was a fantastic night on Facebook, Friday past when it became known that the ballot places were being announced and people started getting the confirmation emails. I was lucky that I didn’t have to wait too long until mine came through. I would have been awful to have to wait till the end when everyone else was posting about being “in”.

For those who don’t know about it, the race takes place along the West Highland Way which links Milngavie just outside Glasgow to Fort William 95 miles away.

IMG_0782
Highland Fling finish 2012

Running this sort of distance is most definitely Outside my Comfort Zone.  I have never run this far.  In fact I have never run anywhere near this far.     So far I have completed the Clyde Stride, Devil of the Highlands and the Highland Fling.  In terms of experience this is next to nothing.  My times have been decidedly middle of the pack.  I don’t consider myself  an ultra runner. In fact, not only am I not an ultra runner,  I am not sure I am really a “real” runner,  I am too old, too slow and too big to compete with the racing snakes. But that doesn’t stop me doing it lots. and lots. and lots.

I do however try hard, my mother would describe me as thrawn, and once I set foot on the start line then you know it might not be pretty but the job usually gets done.

The furthest I have run so far is the 53 miles of the Highland Fling race which covers the southern half of the Way. When I finished the Fling I was in much better shape than I had expected to be and so the idea was born – could I go further?

I used to stumble on the web sites for races like the Devil and Fling and wonder about what sort of super athletes could take part in these long races over difficult terrain when I would struggle to do even a half decent marathon.  However the more I found about about the people who do these races the more I came to the conclusion that actually these are mostly just ordinary people doing extraordinary things. And while there are the “superstars” of the sport who run ridiculous distances in stupidly quick times, even they seem likeable ordinary people.  The more I read of the exploits of the folks who do these races the more I am inspired by the refusal to accept any limitations on what we can achieve if you put your mind to it.

So I am in. I expect it will hurt and in a strange way I am looking forward to the sleep deprivation, the cramps and the hallucinations coming my way next June. To my support crew, including and especially my long suffering wife Helen, I shall get my apologies in now.

and the title of this post? Operatic tenors are not what you would normally associate with long distance running but this is one of my favourite arias and while it has absolutely nothing to do with running, the translation could fit quite well….

Recitar! Mentre preso dal delirio,         Act! While in delirium,
non so più quel che dico,                           I no longer know what I say,
e quel che faccio!                                           or what I do!
Eppur è d’uopo, sforzati!                            And yet it’s necessary… make an effort!
Bah! Sei tu forse un uom?                           Bah! Are you not a man?
Tu se’ Pagliaccio!                                            You are a clown!

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