The Mighty Deerstalker! – 20th March 2010

Saturday I experienced the worst thing I have ever chosen to put myself through… the mighty deerstalker.  Advertised as 10k and a bit… it was 8.67 miles of hell. 
We started off running up along a flat grass bit and over some hay bales, when everyone got to the hay bales, this was where the first bottle neck occured.  Then we ran on a little then went back on ourselves so we could go over a mat to get our timing chips activated.  Utterly pointless and badly designed.  They should have had the mats at the start line, and over the whole area so everyone was timed from the start.
Anyway, we went on, running and started with our first bit of water… 3 mud baths up to my thighs… I did the first and the second, and decided it was a better idea to go around the 3rd.  A spectator said ‘red card’ but I couldn’t have cared less.  After that it was up through a forrest trail, quite steep at points until we got to a trail at around 1000 feet up.  We ran along the trail then went into the forrest and up onto a sort of assault course.  The sun was still out but as soon as we went into the forrest it got dark. We did some odd wooden assault course, then returned down the hill back to the trail.  There was a steep drop before the road, and I almost fell on my arse, but a man managed to catch my arm when he heard me scream. Lucky me!
Along the trail some more – the sun was setting – and we had a beautiful view over the scenery, then another steep incline, eventually getting us to the top of a 1400m ascent!
At that point I met someone called Matilda who’d travelled all the way from Inverness to do the MDS.  We seemed to have the same sort of pace on the roads and forrestry so it was nice to stick with her for a bit – say 15 – 20 mins.  She then left me on a downhill bit where it was clear she was more experienced at running down hill.  She said – you just need to let yourself go… I tried, but pulled back a bit so as not to kill myself!!
The 1400m hill didnt seem to bad, I think because we were gong through forrestry and just climbing and descending…after that…it got dark…and it’s hard to remember what came next!!
We went over 2 river crossings to start…then we for some reason went into a river and walked/ran against the current for what seemed like ages!!  I think it was about a quarter of a mile.  The ground was slippery and the water was up to the top of my legs… it was hard going and hard keeping your balance, especially with the uneven river bed.  About half way up I managed to slip and fell slap bang onto my knees!! ouch!! I managed to submerge my garmin in the river, but it was ok.  I was a little worried as it didn’t seem to be beeping for every mile, but then I realised I was going so slowly (up hill) that i wasn’t travelling the miles to get it to beep!!
After that the next I remember was getting to about 5 miles…and I was going up another hill… a steep hill with scree underfoot. Dangerous, stupid, single file.  Extremely hard work and at times I was on my hands and knees scrambling up.  It was dark, getting cold and I was wet through.  I noticed my watch and saw that I’d been running for 1:42..the time I did my half marathon in and decided this was so stupid.  Most people were in single file, but some idiots were running above us, and making the scree fall.  It seemed to take forever to get to the top.  At one point I even fell onto my side the ground was so unsteady.  Hurt my elbow a little but kept going.
On the plus side, becuase it was so cold, it was clear and there were loads of stars out… the plough and orion and the moon shining down on us. 
I finally got to the top of the second hill and after about 6 miles, I decided it was time to take my second caffiene gel.  Then it was down hill sort of and across a path where a marshal called Phil was standing. I only knew his name as someone behind me shouted it out at him.  Then we did a loop of something… I forget now as it was so dark… you can probably see it on the map below… then passed phil again. 
Up the hill I met a man called Andy who runs with the Bellahouston Road runners.  He said my back pack (water pacK) was lighting up with his head light and it was very pretty.  He had done it before and he said we had another 2 or 3 river crossings to go.  Arg.
He led me to another forrestry bit, this time it was a steep mud bank with ropes going down it. Andy went down first, showing me how to absail down it.  I got the hang of it and luckily I didn’t hurt my hands on the rope.  Although at one point I looked up and realised that I was lifting the rope up a few feet off the ground, and the was almost castrating the man in front of me (behind me).  Lol… woops.  It meant he had to go down the rope side ways.
I got almost to the bottom and I had to let go of the rope and somehow negotiate the 6 ft drop.  I managed to land somehow on my bum/side of my hip… and clattered down on it.
I felt ok, but I’d later realise that I’d bumped so hard it was swollen and bruised. 
I ran on and it was about a mile or so before the end…across a few river crossings and through a tunnel…then up onto rather wet muddy land again.  Then it was mainly flat running through the streets of the town before the finish.
I managed to finish in 2 hour 34… pretty good I thought – but not a time I would be trying to beat.  I was first back from our group and I quickly got stripped off, dried off and tried to warm up before encouraging the others to do the same when they got back.
It was challenging, in that I didn’t know how long it was, but it wasn’t a run, and it certainly shouldn’t have been advertised as 10k ish.
RUN: 8.7 miles, 2 hours 34, 800 calories, Ave HR: 152 (80%), Max HR: 187 (98%)
Here’s me in a runnel about a mile or so before the end… I got in and I was thinking… no no no, not my pants…!! then it was too late…. yuk!
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