I signed up rather late for this one. Mainly because I couldn’t make up my mind between the picturesque 10k just up the road or to re-visit the first half marathon I had ever done that also had an awesome medal. In the end I opted for the ‘sensible’ (?) option which everyone had said was a really nice run.
Not going to lie, glad I did, especially after finding out the cost of the shuttle buses, the amount of road works and let’s not even mention the fact the medals weren’t ready for the half. Im not too shy to admit – I like me a bit of bling! And I like it when I cross that line!
Both my mum and dad were coming to this one with our youngest and we knew quite a few others running it as well (51 Perth Road Runners at last count, not that I know everyone of them ha ha). It was going to be a good day. I had put firmly in my mind I had to take easy as I really dont want to put the marathon at risk so I wasn’t aiming for that PB.
We actually set off on time – miracles can happen apparently – and met the parents up there. Early. Very early. In fact so early it reminded me why I was not known for being on time. Man it was boring waiting around. Countless trips to the bathroom entailed followed by constant checking of the time until finally, we made our way to the start area.
We said a quick hello to Brian and Ginnie. Brian had ran it last year and was doing it again this year and Ginnie had recently completed a swim longer than the Amazon (well, in my eyes anyway). A quick photo with the Road Runners then we all gathered behind the line. I went further back than I usually do but figured it was chip timed so didn’t matter. (Bit of a mistake there as it was done on gun time).
Off we went and it was a very small climb to start with. All that could be seen was a sea of green vests and as I slowly made my way forward there were many ‘good luck’ comments as I passed (it’s not called the friendly running club for no reason). It was hot but bearable thankfully and there was shade so it didn’t bother me too much.
First kilometre down and someone in the distance caught my eye.
Must. Not. Race.
It wasn’t closed roads and there were quite a few marshal cyclists going back and forward reminding us to ‘stay on the pavement’. You knew when someone didn’t listen to them as the tone very quickly turned into stern parent! I stayed firmly on the pavement.
My pace was steady, good, keep it there. Yes I know who you can see up further ahead. Leave them, don’t push it.
Another kilometre down.
Another 400metres closer.
Then……. ‘Mark, where you going, that’s the wrong way’. He had pulled off in to the bushes.
Sometimes I wish I was a bloke – for that advantage alone. Needs must and all that.
Right, seriously, enough now. I slowed my pace back down as we entered the Faskally Woods and took in the scenery. I don’t do a great deal of trail running so I was loving this. I went over a timing mat at about 5km and was just thinking how odd it was to have it on such a small race until I ran over 3 more and realised they were mats over cables as the woods have a light show.
Maybe it was hotter than I thought.
Shortly after, Brian passed me with his friendly ‘alright Webley’ looking like he had only just started running and wasn’t half way through! He does the same at park run everytime too. I’m huffing and puffing away and he’s relaxed as if he’s out for a nice stroll. Ah well. Very quickly Mark catches up with me and thanks me for keeping him on the right path 🙂
Do I try to chase him again?
I wouldn’t say chase as much as I would say ‘consciously tries to keep up with’.
That is until – the bridge!
I take a sharp turn on to the bridge. I take a few steps. I feel a slight wobble. Oh that’s a bit different I think. I keep going. It wobbles again. Not so sure I like this. It then drastically moves right to left – at least 5 metres.
I stop dead. What the @&!%. Oh hell no I do NOT like this!! Ok 5 metres may be a slight exaggeration but only slight! I creep my way to the end and inform the marshalls there ‘That bridge moves!’. ‘Yeah’, comes the reply, ‘A few people have said that’.
I feel a very strongly worded letter of complaint coming on at this point.
Not far to go now and it’s back in to the woods. Bridgegate still playing heavily on my mind. Then I’m hit with stairs.
I’ve never known a race to have stairs. I look for the stairlift.
There isn’t one.
Very, very slowly I make my way up. There are people coming down them with buggies and I think ‘yes, an excuse to stop’. But they are too kind and stop at the side to let me past. They even apologise for being there!
Damn British politeness.
Top of the woods and it’s out on to the A9 for a very short section. I can no longer see Mark (I blame bridgegate) but I’m quite thankful as I need to be slower. I settle back into a steady pace and then, a Marshall goes past me on a bike. ‘Please tell me you’re not the sweeper?’ I ask him frantically. Thankfully, he is not.
As I pass the gorgeous spa resort I make a mental note to ask/nag the other half to take me there. Maybe if I stop booking him in to races he might!
It’s downhill from here, but when I say down hill I mean a steep downhill. I can already picture myself falling so don’t push it and let a couple of people go past me. But then, about 5 metres from the bottom, all I can picture is Steve at the side of park run shouting ‘go on you can catch them’. Try as I might to ignore him it gets the better of me and I pick up the pace – narrowly squeezing past one of them on the inside. I hear my name being shouted by a couple of people and keep going to the line.
Yup, you took that really easy Ella, well done.
I find Joe and discover my parents are still in their motor home back at the start (it’s the vans first outing, like Christmas for my dad). So we make our way back to them after sweaty cuddles with Brian (who aced the run) and Ginnie. Got to love a post race hug!
All in all a good day to be fair. A great run, a nice ride out in the car and lovely people! It’s time to taper now so I fully expect a ‘grumpy’ week – Joe can be very moody at times ha ha.