Ladies Only

I’ve never ran a ‘ladies only’ race so wasn’t sure if it would actually be different or not.  It was held by a running club that has both men and women so wasn’t a ‘girl power’ situation (not so sure I would have went for that to be honest).  It wasn’t all ‘pink’ and cheer leading and Pom poms either.  It was just a 10 mile race.

Actually no, hold up.  It wasn’t just a race.   This run had a climb in it! First 2 miles are ok, then it goes up, and up, and a bit more up.

I decided to go for the car share thinking it would be a good way to get to know more people.  Plus I had had a slight incident in the snow last week which hasn’t exactly left me with a smooth running car!  The other half offered to come along but I knew he would be bored so this was definitely the best option.

The drive through was full of chat of running – well, what else do you think we would talk about ha ha.  The other girls in the car hadn’t ran many races so were understandably a little nervous.  We timed it well so when we got there we picked up our numbers and were soon at the start line.  I had my vest top and shorts on and received many comments from those in hats and gloves about being cold.  To be fair being bottle white doesn’t help but I knew I would be fine as soon as we started.  Took me so long to have the confidence to wear shorts and now I hate running in anything but them ha ha.

At about the 2 mile mark we had a few PRR members cheering us on.  Unfortunately the most I could muster at this point was a high pitched exhale – even though yes, it was only 2 miles in!  The photo they took of me genuinely puts frankensteins work to shame. Which they dutifully posted on the clubs Facebook page – obviously.  Serves me right for not trying to smile I guess (although that has potential to be even worse!).  Still, it was nice having people you know cheering you on.

Thinking of using this to apply for The Rocky Horror Show

The climb started from there.  It wasn’t too bad but it just kept going and going and going.  Someone else had said just look at your feet and don’t stop.  After that hill I could now draw you a very detailed portrait of my New Balance, pink and black trainers with a dash of silver on the top.  

The sun had also come out at mile 2 and combined with the climb it was hot!  At some points I could have done with my sun glasses.  I had seen some ladies were running in 3 lairs – 3 lairs! They must have sweated off at least 2 stone! 

I had ‘sub-consciously’ made a target in my head of doing the race in 1hr 20.  This would mean I had hit my age section for the Club Standards.  I knew it was highly unlikely but my first mile was 7:33 and my second 8:01.  Naturally I started doing maths (as every runner does – we should all be mathematicians).  When mile 3 came in at 9:06 (it was a steep climb alright!) I calculated I was 30seconds off target which is a doable time to catch up on that early on.

You can tell I’m not a mathematician already can’t you?

Mile 4 and it’s still uphill but comes in better at 8:28.  Ella’s maths now has her at about 1m 3 seconds over.  Still very much achievable as I like running down hill and can pick up speed there – when it eventually comes round of course.

Mile 5 hits at 8:21 but we start to go downhill.  I don’t take the water on offer as I want to make up what is now under a minute and a half in my head.

Note to self – probably best not to help the kids with their maths homework.

The next mile is better at 7:31 but I can feel myself flagging in the heat.  Should have taken that water.  Also should have had more than red bull for my breakfast! The banana and grapes I scoffed down half an hour before the start hadn’t done me any favours either.  Will I never learn?!?   At this point I think I can hear another lady from the Road Runners chatting away behind me.  I’m puffing and panting away and she’s having a leisurely chat! I’m definitely flagging.

Is it over yet? Photo courtesy of Sarah Clark

Mile 7 and I’m not feeling too grand.  I gratefully take a jelly baby from the incredibly enthusiastic supporter from Hazelhead at the side who kindly runs with me as I do.  Of course I can’t chew the bloody thing and run at the same time so almost choke on it but I am very grateful for the boost (both her cheering and her jelly baby).

How do people run and eat? I have no idea!  That is a true skill.  I mean, that should be on your resume if you have mastered that!

Mile 8 and my hip hurts, my legs hurt a little, my head hurts from doing insane maths and I solemnly swear never to get on at the kids to do their maths homework because it is true torture.  I’m now lost as to where I am time wise and accept I am not making 1hr 20.  And at this point I dont care.

Then I remember my watch also tells me how long I have been running for and it’s 1hr 5min. 


15mins for 2 miles.  Which I’m pretty sure are meant to be downhill.  Of course I didn’t think to actually look at a map of the course properly – my eyes were drawn to the climb and not much else – but I was pretty sure it was meant to be downhill.  I could do 2 miles at an 8min pace.

There’s those maths skills again.

Not to worry though as mile 9 comes in at 8:23 and I truly, no longer care.  I am too hot, I need water, I need food.  All of which were my own fault.

Turning in to the sports ground and it’s up on to grass.

Correction.  Not grass.  It’s a swamp!!!!  Are you freaking kidding me?? My legs barely move through the soggy ground, of which there is of course a hill the size of Ben Nevis to climb.  (It’s about 4 steps up but that’s not my point! I’ve just ran up a bloody hill!).  The guys from the club are at the last corner but instead of waving and smiling like a normal person I pick up the pace to get off the swamp which naturally made for another ‘dawn of the dead’ photo.  Grand. 

As soon as I’m done I’m delving in to my goodie bag and I’m scoffing down the crisps.  First time ever I’ve eaten straight after a race but then I usually have breakfast – lesson after lesson with me!  I stand at the side cheering the rest of the PRR girls on (all of them smiling and waving at the camera, some doing impressive sprint finishes!).  I then go back to Kirsties car and decide to do a quick change in the empty car park.  But yes, you’ve guessed it, no sooner are my shorts off that there’s a family of 5 that walks right past.  

I don’t care.  I don’t like being cold.  I’m putting my canterburys on. 

Back inside and I decide not to join the queue for what turns out to be a fantastic spread put on by Arbroath.  Only reason being there are a few of us that were going for fish and chips after.  Everyone gave it rave reviews though. 

So, a great day all in all.  Should have had breakfast.  Was right with the shorts and vest.  Didn’t hit the 1hr 20 but I have another 10 miler in 2 weeks and I’m determined to do it then. 

Oh, and there was a small bottle of wine in the goodie bag! Result!

Sprint photo is courtesy of Kevin Kelly – thanks to all photographers for the photos (well, some of them!). 


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