Last weekend was the first race in my running clubs championship and I wanted to use it to hit Club Standards as well – 2 birds 1 stone. (That’s actually a really horrible saying! I would never throw a stone at a bird or want to hit a bird – who wants to hit a bird! I’m quite annoyed about that now).
The championship is a selection of 10 local races where you gain points for finish placement and you only need to do 7 and a marathon to get 1st, 2nd or 3rd. I’m under no illusion I could gain one of those spots but I can still give it a try. Club Standards is a set of target times on set distances based on your age.
The race was 10 miles and I had a target of under 1hour 20minutes. Broken down that’s ideally under 8 minutes a mile. It was going to be close. I knew that.
I opted for the car share given there were 50 of us going and parking is always tight at local races. This also solved the stress of getting lost, breaking down in my car that has more issues than a Kardashian, and arriving with no one to talk to. And thankfully Kev who’s car I was in did not turn out to be a tiny Smart car – thanks for that Stewart!
It was a 65 mile journey there but the chat in the car was on going. Most notably about Boston (the 2 guys in the car qualified and are signed up!) and what’s the weirdest thing you’ve received at a race.
Foam medals, wooden pegs and coasters to name but a few.
It was cold and raining when we got there so I kept my layers on as long as I could. Knowing I wanted a fast time I had been very strict and had my pasta the night before, porridge in the morning – that I made myself, yes I will take that standing ovation now – and water on the way up.
The fact I had breakfast 3 and a half hours before running escaped me until I was at the start line and beginning to feel slightly peckish.
Genuinely beginning to think I could win the ‘thickest runners award’.
I found someone who was aiming for 1 hour 16 so decided if I could keep him in my sights I should be good. That time was definitely too fast for me but if I wasn’t too far behind I would be on track.
We took off and unfortunately I went far too fast for the first mile. I knew this though so slowed down for the second. The wooden bridges in the wet were em, interesting, but I kept upright. It was an out and back route so my aim (other than time) was to reach over 4 miles before the ones up front started coming back towards me. And thankfully I did. And with almost 50 of us Perth Road Runners running this race it soon became a succession of ‘well done’, ‘looking good’, ‘keep pushing’ comments back and forth – loved it. Just before the 5 mile turn I had one PRR shout at me someone was right behind me and use them to push harder – so I did.
Maybe for only a few hundred yards but I did ha ha.
At the turn it was a nice surprise to see someone from the club there marshalling – totally didn’t expect that.
I got to 6 miles and began to flounder. All I could think about was the gel that was in my second pocket in my purple bag that was under the 3rd chair at the back of the hall.
The hall that was at the finish.
By 7 miles I had broken down the remaining 3 to small sections to get me through. I compared it to park run as it was the same distance and just imagined that that was what I was running.
Then, just before 8 miles, at the smallest of inclines, my legs just stopped.
I don’t know what happened but my legs were now slowly walking.
The woman next to me turned and asked if I was ok. ‘Yeah I’m fine’ I tried to smile back at her. ‘Are you sure? You’ve gone awfully white! Do you want a gel?’.
A gel! The very thing I had been visualising for the last couple of miles! A food source I so desperately needed right now or I was in danger of not even finishing’.
‘No I’m fine, but thank you’.
What the…….!!! What did you just say you absolute intolerable idiot!! She just offered you a life line for the love of god and you’ve said no?!?!
‘I think you should, what about a sweet? I’ve got some jelly beans?’
‘Actually yes please, I will’.
Hurrah!!! You’ve found common sense!! About freaking time!
She tells me she is running 20 miles today so using this as her first 10. She gives me 3 special jelly beans and carries on. (I say special because well 1. At that moment in time they are special to me and 2. I’m not talking the kiddy sweet kind, they look and taste slightly different).
My legs agree to start running again and I check my watch as I pass the 8 mile sign. If I push there’s a slight chance I could still make my time. Do I want to have to run this fast again? Hell no! So I pick up the pace and concentrate on a time when this will be over.
I begin to recognise the houses I went past near the start and know I am almost finished. One last turn and I am on the finishing straight. Just keep going forward. I can’t see the finish but I know it’s there.
But then – a car pulls out in front of me. It’s not a closed road race but I do think to myself could he not have waited? It’s not going very fast but to be fair neither am I so it’s not really an issue.
Well, not an issue until it stops and BLOCKS THE ROAD!!
(Can you tell I’m not having fun now).
The car stops to talk to 2 young boys on bikes then very, very, VERY slowly pulls away with the 2 boys following behind.
I still can’t see the finish line but it’s not because I am too far away – it’s because the bloody car and bikes are blocking it!!
And then – to top of what has been the most delightful of races for me – the car stops again. And this time it stops ON the finish line. I am forced to squeeze round the side as I am still trying to beat the clock and no lump of metal and tyres was taking some very precious seconds off me!
I pretty much collapse at the side and contemplate throwing up – hard to do when you’ve nothing in your stomach though. Checking my watch it says 1:19:46. I’ve made it. Just.
I see the lovely lady who saved my life with those 3 jelly beans and go over to thank her again – what a lovely human.
I won’t lie. I will be very honest. I absolutely HATED those last 2 miles. And I wasn’t alone. For some reason a lot of people have said the same. This wasn’t a race I really enjoyed but I couldn’t tell you why. The car seriously pee’d me off – I mean big time – but that didn’t happen until the end. It was well marshalled, and great to see one of our own volunteering. I just don’t know. I didn’t even take any photos – now that’s saying something! I’m notorious for a race day bathroom selfie!
Ah yes, the bathroom! This race report would not be complete without a mention of the vibrating toilet in the women’s (hence the title). I kid you not – it was a toilet that not only vibrated, but got worse when you sat on it! Plumbing in the Scottish Highlands is unique ha ha.
Many from Perth won category prizes and many won spot prizes which were a name out the hat. Now I tried the whole positive mindset thing and kept saying my name over and over but alas, I won nothing. Not even a comment from Steph seemed to bring me luck – ‘for god sake just say her name, shut her up’. I don’t think the gods were listening that day. Especially not when her brother who was stood next to me won a great prize!
Anyway. That’s the race done. That’s my time for 10 miles achieved. I never have to do that again. I can take it easy at the Tay Ten in a couple of weeks.
Yup, take it easy. That’s totally what I am going to do…….