Last night saw the second race in the Hills Are Alive series I for some reason thought would be a good idea for me to take on.
My day started great. My original running buddy and the guy who did the cycle to John O Groats – just the other week! – with Joe (husband) invited me through for a cycle. 30 miles on windy, country roads through beautiful landscape isn’t to be refused.
Back home and I was unusually organised managing to get the youngest out on his bike and then bags packed for the hill race later on. Joe had decided to run it too after I had told him how bad the first one was.
Off we went (slightly late but that was his fault) and we bumped in to Heledd (from the club, always beats me, got me right at the end at Path Of Condie, still not over that one) at registration when we finally found it i.e. It was the picnic table outside the pub! It’s a small race to be fair.
Only about 55 of us were lined up at the start. 7 Road Runners but only 4 of us had done the first race. Stewart tried to joke that the game was on between Heledd and me but my only goal was genuinely to finish. I find these Hill races incredibly hard. Give me 26.2 miles any day over the 4 miles of steep up and downs. But! I’ve started. So my god am I going to finish them!
Off we went under the promise that there was lots of red tape to guide us. Same as Birnam Hill and before long I was deeply out of breath and very slowly climbing up hill. ‘Come on you need to run’ a guy who was sat at the side said.
I didn’t like him. Twat.
I had looked at the elevation many, many times beforehand if for no other reason than to assure myself it wasn’t going to be as bad as the last one. I knew it had the biggest climb to start, down then back up then down again. I could handle that.
My stomach had other ideas though and started cramping. Luckily, the fact I’m not used to running trails with big branches over them was a good distraction. About 2 miles in and I was overtaken by Mike and Fiona. They like the hill runs and enjoy these races. I, do not. I tried to keep them in my sights and was quite successful in doing so but lost them not long after the turn. Had I not seen Fiona at the turn I’m not sure I would have known to clip my bib number!
At one section I had to stop and look for this large amount of red tape we had been promised that would guide us. I can only assume the woodland creatures had eaten it or the fairies had taken it away as I barely saw any!!
At a steep, wet, muddy and rocky section the lead runners started coming down past me. I was so out of breath I couldn’t muster the usual ‘well done’ so ended up clapping as they went by. I will be honest though – I only started running at this point up the hill (yes, I had stopped to walk, bite me!) because I knew Joe would be coming past very shortly and I didn’t want him to see me walking.
Obviously as soon as he passed I walked again.
On to the final run down and I started thinking about the elevation chart I had looked at and how this hadn’t felt anything like that. It appears to be a trend with race organisers to lie about this. I wonder if they all get together, sit around a table and think ‘hmm, what would annoy the Runners the most? I know, let’s tell them this is relatively flat so they spend the whole time wondering if they have gotten lost – Runners love that!’.
Final stretch and Steph is there with the camera – poor soul had kindly walked down a bit to get some photos. She had no doubt had to wait a good 20 minutes for me and all she got in return was a very pained expression of ‘I am not enjoying this’.
Across the line and I was very kindly handed a cup of water from the other half. Kind of wished it had been vodka though. We didn’t stick around long as he was wanting to get to Tri Club for a swim session and I had somehow cut my legs and had blood all over them. I hadn’t even felt anything but when I stripped off at the van both legs were covered and I had small tears in my leggings. Luckily I hadn’t wore my Wonder Woman ones!
There are 3 more of these hills to go. I am not enjoying them. I do not like them. I am awful at them! Last road runner again, not that that gets to me too much but being in roughly the last 10 to finish all together is quite difficult.
And if you’re about to say it’s character building you will join the list of twats that is currently growing!
No, I’m sure they are ‘good’ for me. Well. Maybe. But, as I said, I started them, so I’m going to finish them.
Next is 4 days before Stirling Marathon. It’s a safe bet that I will actually be last at that one. No amount of ‘character building’ is worth risking the marathon over! It is up a hill I have ran a handful of times though so maybe that will give me a little boost.