Not only am I trying to hit my Club Standards award this year and the Championships but I also have my eye on the Hill Series. Oh, and the little matter of the Half Ironman that yes, im still training for.
Over achiever much?
As I sit here the day after the first hill race I genuinely can not remember why the hell I thought it would be a good idea. My husband informed me last night he struggled not to laugh in my face when I told him what I was doing. Hmmm.
My first ‘problem’ was thinking it was a different hill I was going to – good thing he drove this time, we would have ended up 50 miles in the wrong direction.
There were only 8 Road Runners who appeared at the start line – should have been my first clue really with over 150 members!
I had no whimsical beliefs that I would be far up the remotely small field but I was confident I could finish and hopefully not be too far back, maybe middle ish. After much discussion on why we weren’t carrying full body waterproofs on what was the hottest day of the year so far and several looks we were off. I glanced back and saw what I now know was a bit of a smug look on my other halfs face.
I’ve walked up Birnam Hill before – at least I thought I had. Turns out I hadn’t been anywhere near the top. Well, I was about to go there.
We all started running and it was a very comfortable pace, everyone was aware of the climb up ahead. We had been told we were running up the steep side too. Great.
Very quickly the elevation started. Ok fine, I knew it would. Just keep moving your feet one in front of the other. I’m doing that but then, they aren’t really getting in front of the other. It’s very baby steps. I look up only to see the trail.
I have to look up to the sky to see anything other than path!
I’ve stopped ‘running’ now. I’m taking big steps (well as big as I can for a child size adult). My legs hurt already, I’m out of breath, everyone around me is walking up this vertical ascent. This isn’t running. This is dying slowly. How is this a race??
I’m so out of breath I’ve started the whole ‘why are you doing this’ in my head. Why am I doing this? I’m not built for hills. I don’t like steep like this. Roads don’t make you walk. What the hell am I doing?? I genuinely wonder for a good 5 seconds if I should stop and admit I shouldn’t be here. Slink away with my tail between my legs and stick to running road races, staying at the back.
I’m too scared to look behind me in case the only person there is the tail runner.
Or you know, the 95 year old great grandmother of 20 who does this every day. Wouldnt surprise me.
I glance at my watch and genuinely almost cry.
Half a mile!! I’ve only gone half a mile!!
And it’s been 10 minutes!!
Am I honestly about to hit a 20 minute mile?? Has anyone ever gone that slow?? Babies crawl faster than that!
Of course, as soon as you think you’re at the top, you see another hill. You’re not at the top. You’re not even close.
I’ve pretty much given up on EVER running again. This will be my last ever ‘run’ I swear to myself. You know, you gave it a good bash. You did ‘not bad’. But your time has come Ella. Time to end it. Just stop all this nonsense now.
I slip many, many times going up the hill (yes, you read that right, I slipped going UP). Not tragically enough to justify a DNF or a medical team to the rescue but enough to make me go ‘for f@ck sake!’.
Pretty sure I gave the poor soul the look of death. Very much ‘if I’m dying I’m taking you god forsaken people with me’. He laughed at me. Can’t blame him.
At least it was downhill from here. I like downhill, I LOVE downhill.
I did not like this downhill.
This is where I truly lost many, many years off my life.
I don’t like swearing, I rarely swear, there’s no need for it. Call me a snob whatever I’m just not a fan of swearing. But on this race, on this downhill, I was swearing my arse off!
‘Holy shit’, ‘oh shit, oh shit, oh shit’ – was pretty much my mantra until the end. At one point I was flying down a vertical drop – an actual vertical drop – and I kid you not I think a little pee came out I was that scared.
Nope, I don’t like this. What the hell was I thinking. Where’s the road. Where’s the GOD DAMN ROAD. I’m a road runner. Not a bloody fling yourself down the side of a mountain kind of girl. Stuff this. STUFF THIS.
The last stretch did not include a sprint finish. It included a shout of ‘I’m dying’ to the husband as he laughed when I went past.
My first words when I met up with the 7 other brave souls from the club?
‘I hated that!!’
They loved it.
How do I feel the day after? Well I actually am dying. My legs are so, so sore. I went out for my long run and for the first time ever I bailed on a run. My legs just went ‘nope, this isn’t happening, I am boss, I say no’.
Even walking hurts.
The medal for the Hill Series better be worth this!