What’s top of your ‘to do’ list when you have your first proper crash off a bike? Nothing? Sounds logical. A half marathon? Probably not.
However… My legs still worked so I thought I would see how it went. It was never going to be an easy race but I suppose what happened on the bike just didn’t help really.
So yes. I took on the toughest half marathon in Scotland (because you know, why do an easy one?) and gave it my all.
Genuinely. I collapsed in a heap at the end and didn’t care what I looked like.
Obviously this was a championship race – if it’s hard it’s on the clubs list, sadists, the lot of them – so I was keen to at least try and finish. It was meant to be a hot day so shorts and vest it was. With sunglasses that didn’t cover the hole in my face even slightly. I would never make a good celebrity with my crap disguises. As we grouped together for a team photo (scrap book must have) the heavens opened. I was kneeling down, already stiff and in pain, and I was not happy. For some reason everyone else in the club found the weather funny and laughed. I did not. I glared at the photographer (because obviously this was all his fault) before refusing to look anywhere but the ground. Admittedly, the photo is not my best.
I then ran under a tree with a few others for some shelter. We chatted and I was told I was currently top of the leader board. Well that made me smile! Well, half smile. The left hand side of my face still doesnt move so I probably looked like a demented villain but it gave me a little boost. It may only be because not many have done a marathon this year yet but yeah, I have screen shotted that bad boy!
On to the race. It instantly starts up hill.
And doesn’t stop.
For 11 miles!
How can you run UP hill for 11 and only run 2 miles downhill yet still end up back at the start???
Sadists. I’m telling you!
The first few miles were ‘as expected’. Tough, but I managed one foot in front of the other. The sun came out as soon as the shower passed so I took water at every station, grateful there were a few on this route! There were some very chirpy marshalls too. ‘Go, on, you’re doing great’ they shouted. Which was sweet. But I knew I looked like death.
My cheek hurt so much every time I very briefly went down a hill. My left knee and hips felt like they were grinding and at one point I stopped to walk as I drank my water. Derek went past me. ‘Come on Ella, I’m using you as my pacer’ he said. ‘Don’t do that unless you want to be last!’ I shouted after him as he disappeared in a cloud of dust.
I stopped again at about 9 miles to walk it off and my ‘second voice’ as I’ve come to call it started up.
‘Why did you do this? What are you trying to prove? And to who?!’
‘Whom. It’s to whom are you trying to prove something’.
‘Don’t try and correct me! You’re not gaining anything by doing this you know. You should have had a rest day, let your body recover’.
‘I’m fine. I can do this. I just need to finish. I don’t care about the time’.
‘Clearly you don’t because you are walking during a running race’.
Ah man I’m walking! Get a move on! I had gotten lost in my thoughts and had walked for a good minute at least. Whoops!
I found my steam again and kept pushing one foot in front of the other. Eventually I reached 11 miles. And eventually I reached the start of the promised 2 miles downhill. It was just a shame I couldn’t really run hard down this section as my face now felt like it had been smacked a hundred times with a bag of bricks.
Not just one brick. A bag of bricks.
I resolved to write a very strongly worded letter of complaint to the roadrunners committee about their choice of races.
I tried to smile at the photographer but this race just wasn’t my most ‘gracious’. On a good day I would like to think I’m a 7. You know, like a good tv character that’s not the lead but gets her fair share of lines. Today was not a good day. Today was definitely a 2 at most. I was the body in the gutter that had been electrocuted just as the wind changed and that was it.
I’m not posting the photo.
Just at the final stretch there were a few roadrunners who had very wisely chosen not to run this route. ‘This is so painful’ I cried as I crawled past. They just laughed that knowing laugh.
Across the line and I was handed my bottle of water and banana. I found a large group of roadrunners who had finished about an hour earlier and just collapsed down on the grass. ‘I’m just going to lie here for a minute’ I managed to whisper as I rocked back and forth on the floor.
All jokes aside this is a great race. Fantastic scenery and the most challenging route I have ever done. I just wasn’t fully fit for it, but I knew that. I’m pleased I still miraculously came in under 2 hours even though it was a full 10 minutes over my PB on this distance. I’m paying for it today though. I did nothing on my lunch break at work. Nothing. Not even a walk.
But I did take a selfie in my car.
4 weeks and counting until Ironman 70.3.