It’s A Killer


There has only ever been one race I have done when I have really come close to a DNF.  I’m talking genuinely stopped at the side, head spinning, hand on the wall to keep myself standing kind of close.  

So naturally – I wanted to do the race again so that didn’t happen.

The Angus HaM is a local half marathon advertised as ‘predominately downhill with a hill in the last 5km’.

Clearly whoever wrote that has taken poetic license to the extreme.

I debate the downhill, I really do.  And as for the casual ‘hill’ reference, well, all I can say is if you dropped a coin at the top you wouldn’t see it for dust it would roll down that hill so fast!

It ended up being 6 of us ladies from the club heading through and running and this time I took my car.  My car has ‘character’ but it made it there and back – that’s all I will say ha ha.  However, the car park attendant, well, he was amazing! Never have I seen such enthusiasm being driven in to such a task.  He was proper two hands pointing at me, then both hands pointing at the space, demonstrating with his whole body where I was to circle the car – amazing.  I think he missed his calling as an airline steward honestly.  One car petulantly tried to choose his own space – the guy was having none of that.  His bellowing voice commanded the car to move and it moved! This guy genuinely made my day!

The start isn’t underneath the ‘Start’ inflatable – very confusing – it’s across a small bridge.  No idea why.  We had chip timers but what didn’t appear to be a chip mat at the start so maybe it was all done by gun time.

The gun went off and I had barely taken a few steps when someone clipped my feet.  I went flying forward in that drunken comedy style and have no idea how I managed to keep up right.  Probably the fear of the fact if I had have gone right down I would have been trampled!  

Into the first mile and I surprisingly managed to keep to my plan of slow and steady, not too fast.  I was using this run as a training run for the marathon so need to practise slower pacing.  Happy to report I did not bad at that at all!

Unfortunately, I can not report that my maths is getting any better.  At mile 3 I told my self ‘1 more mile and you are half way to half way’. It wasn’t until I added 4 and 4 together then doubled it I realised this was wrong.  But no, not before I said to myself ‘how is that right? It can’t be 16, I’m only running 13?’.

Seriously god help my children if they ever want my help with their maths homework.

Gel taken at 4 and a half miles and I was good, feeling ok.  It was really hot but there were 4 drinks stations so I knew to take on water at everyone.  I also poured it over me and got that deep, sharp, shock when I did.  Which of course gave me the juvenile giggles and transported me back to the Arctic Enema at Tough Mudder.  Felt good though.

I spent the first 10 miles knowing the hill was coming and just wanting it to be there so I could tackle it.  It’s a very strange way to spend a race but it killed me that much last year I was determined not to come close to passing out again! And so started my chants of ‘I’m doing this’, ‘I got this’, and as I got more confident ‘you’re mine hill’, ‘I’m going to own you today’.

I think the sun was getting to me at this point.

I ran past the point I stopped last year very pleased that I wasn’t light headed and swaying.  It was still tough, it was still never ending, but I was still moving.  Past the 12 mile sign and even my bad maths knows it’s only a mile to go.  A little cat and mouse game started with a woman next to me and as we eventually reached the top she made a comment about it never ending.  ‘It’s a killer that one’ I replied.  Neither of us had breath for anything more than that.

Round in to the park with the finish.  Yes! Almost there! I take a deep breath for the final straight …. I got this …. 

but what happens?

Let me give you some clues.

It’s Scotland.  It’s hot.  We are now running next to a Loch.

MIDGES!!!

My deep inhale resulted in a mouthful of the little buggers and at this point I did not want an intake of protein thank you very much.  Took me all my time not to throw up.  Lots of arm flailing ensued at this point, lots.  Think phoebe running in friends and that was pretty much me.

As the finish became closer (and chance of photographic evidence of my ‘stylish’ running becoming higher) it was a case of head down and get a move on.  Across the line and I grabbed the water trying to get rid of the 3 course meal I had just been force fed.  

I headed back so I could try and get some photos of the others finishing.  Everyone found the hill at the end hard, you could see it on every runners face.  But you could also see the support from their families as the shouts got louder (there’s cake at the end! FYI – I didn’t see no cake! Ha ha) and a few children went on course to run the last bit with their parents.  I loved that.

It was quite an emotional day for some – many of the girls had blisters and it was their first half marathon for a couple of them.  We all finished though – and we all finished strong.  And I’m quite sure there were a fair few glasses of wine to celebrate after.

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