When the other half suggests we both do a race my trainers are on before he’s finished speaking.
Well. Let me tell you. What a sorry lesson I’ve learned from that!
One of his customers had told him about a hill race near where he lived. 2 days before Christmas. Im still doing Marcothon so thought I could do that as part of it.
Stupidly thought. Very stupidly thought.
It was a Saturday morning so the choice was between that and Parkrun. I chose to mix it up and go for the hill race. Why not?
It was less than half an hour away and when I looked it up on the morning of the race it was your typical small field of runners. All the feedback on it was positive so how bad could it be. There was a bag check at registration and it was a short walk to the start.
At the start I bumped into Chris who I’ve met at a couple of other races. He pointed out a bit to save energy for (Scotland’s famous for ‘fake tops) and said he ran it last year in about 55mins.
It’s 4 miles. Oh right. I know it’s a hill race but what goes up comes down doesn’t it? And usually much faster?
Joe saw a few people he knew as well including an older woman from his tri club and the guy who had suggested the race.
Off we went and I stuck close to the back. The Hill Series with Perth Road Runners taught me enough to know I’m a finisher and nothing more. Usually in the last 10 as well. God loves a trier though.
Flat but bumpy under foot to begin with then a bit of mud then BAM.
And it didn’t stop.
‘It’s ok’ I told myself. ‘There’s always a flat bit somewhere’. Nope! Not at this race.
This was my 23rd day of running at least 3 miles a day on the trot. This was beginning to hurt.
Just a few steps later – yup, this really hurts.
I was beginning to wonder if I should stop. Turn round and finish my miles near the car where it was flat whilst waiting for Joe to finish. I looked at my watch.
0.6 miles!! Are you kidding me?? That’s all?!? Oh Ella maybe you really should stop. This isn’t a healthy kind of pain.
It must end soon though surely? There’s always a little flat but to recover on.
Not in this race.
The first mile eventually clicked by. 20 minutes after starting. Just don’t say anything. You don’t need to.
After 7 days and nights on the side of this hill I reached the Marshall at the top pointing me to the right. I tried to run but my legs had gone back to the car so it was more of a bambi walk than anything. At 1.45 miles the lead runner came past me. I hadn’t even made it half way yet. Joe wasn’t too far behind the lead pack and I could tell he was thinking the same as me. What the actual f@ck were we playing at?
Down the treacherous path of rocks and mud and I slipped and slide my way past Chris and a few others (all heading back of course). I got down to the ‘big rock’ and went round it, moaning as usual to the marshalls – ‘oh my god why am I doing this!’.
Now I was heading back up and I could see there were only a handful of people behind me. The thought crossed my mind I could be finishing last. I didn’t like this. Last race of the year and there was a high probability I was going to be last.
Back across the top and it was down the vertical drop we had come up. Ah, now I can make some time back and hopefully scrape back a few places.
Nope!! Not doing that. I will take my time thank you very much! What a stupid bloody thing to do when you’ve an Ultra to train for you stupid woman!! This is just a ‘fun’ race for you! Take your time idiot!
I went over my ankle at 3 miles and did that whole ‘oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, keep running, keep going, does it hurt? I don’t know! Ok just keep running. Nope, it’s ok. Phew’.
Every runners done that. Be honest.
I eventually came off the side of the mountain (yes it was a mountain) and hit the flat section. Finally. But my legs were jelly. Actual jelly. I could have been a cowboy. After a few strides they settled down and I pushed on knowing the finish was close. I could see someone in front of me but I didn’t have time to catch him.
I crossed the line and promptly told the other half we were doing Parkrun next year and not this race. Nope. No sir. Not me. No hills thank you. 1hr 7 it took me. To do 4 miles!
To say I’m in pain today does not cut it. I’ve been in better shape after running a marathon than I am today. In fact, I was better after the ultra! Leg days in the gym ain’t got nothing on a hill race! And I had to run today!! Marcothon is going to be the death of me.
When all is said and very sore it’s a greatly run race. Very friendly, fantastic spread, great marshalls. The only problem is the elevation ha ha. Almost 1000 feet in the first mile. I mean seriously, who enjoys that? (Not me, definitely not me).