Sunday saw me doing the Angus Half Marathon (also known as the Angus HaM). I had wanted to do the Great Edinburgh Run but weighing it all up Angus was the more logical. Edinburgh was 10miles against Angus 13.1. I had to go through Friday to get my race bib for Edinburgh and then leave before 8am on the Sunday, Angus meant leaving at 9am on Sunday alone. Just made sense.
So Sunday morning and the husband and I along with 2 out of 3 kids jumped in the car and drove an hour away to get there (a 16year old isn’t getting out of bed on a Sunday to watch his mum run!). I was nervous but nowhere near as nervous as I usually am. That was nice for a change. I had my breakfast of porridge with soya milk and banana and yes, if I’m being honest, half a can of red bull on the way. Shoot me.
I had checked the route map on the race info and knew it was predominately flat with a small hill right at the end. Ok, I can handle that – I run the Aviva hill 3 times a week, that’s worse! Driving up to the park where the race was the sun was coming out, still chilly but I decided I wouldn’t need my run jacket.
Note how I said ‘driving up to the park’.
I will come back to this later.
I collected my bib from the marque and waited in line for the bathroom. There was no chip on the back of the bib and the lady behind me told me they don’t do chip timing anymore. Good thing I had my Garmin (like I would leave it though ha ha). The race was full at 400 but there didn’t seem anymore than 300 there. Nice and small, I like that.
We started off and all was good. The miles ticked off quite nicely and I had the comfort of Strava in my ear giving me an update on my splits. I can’t seem to drag myself away from my Strava, it’s very much my comfort blanket. I didn’t even put my music on until almost 3 miles in and just enjoyed the relatively flat countryside.
As it was hot I took on water at the first 2 drinks stations remembering it was better to drink before getting dehydrated. At 8 miles I had my gel, again unusual but I was thinking take it before waiting until the last minute. I played cat and mouse with an older man for the first 5 miles as well, that gave me a giggle. After mile 5 though it seemed he had dropped back.
Mile 10 and I thought back to the race info – at 12 miles is the last small climb then you’re home. Ok, no worries, hills aren’t an issue and this looked more like a bump on the info.
11 miles and we started up hill.
Hmm ok, a bit early but I can go with it. I kept moving declining the last water station and the sweets. Big mistake. Huge in fact. The climb didn’t stop! Up and up and up. I can handle hills but all of a sudden I was light headed and came to an abrupt stop desperately looking for something to prop myself up on. What on earth was happening?!? I had had breakfast, I had had water, I had even had a gel. This hill was not what I was expecting and my head just threw a toddler tantrum. Was I really about to quit and have to be taken to the finish by medics?
Eh, no. Not for me. I did a ‘body’ check. Toes were numb from pain – yup blisters. Great. Legs were fine though and hips were fine too. Breathing was good. Ok, a couple of deep breaths, check your comfort blanket for time and just go. One foot in front of the other, 1,2,3,1,2,3. You’ve already got blisters the least you can do is make them worth it.
As I approached the last small corner a Marshall came in to sight like a mirage. ‘Straight to the gate then it’s a flat 400 yards from there, you’ve got this lass’.
I think I fell in love.
The last stretch and I was joined by a guy who was also glad it was almost over. As another women picked up her speed past us he laughed and I knew he was thinking the same – ‘whatever’. I saw my daughter at the side and I asked her if she was going to help me to the finish. ‘No you’re all sweaty mummy’. Got to love her, she did give me the boost I needed.
Yards from the finish line and my husband and youngest were there. I put on my biggest smile and waved before desperately crossing the line and finding somewhere to sit down ie about 2 yards from the finish.
The course was good – but what a load of lies the race info was! We drove home back down that terror hill and there were still people running/walking up it. I felt their pain that was written all over their faces. It was a tough one.
A good result for me though – a new pb and top 10 in my category. Happy with that.