What a Weekend

I don’t even know where to start with this.

Last year I stepped up my running and had a really good year. I wanted to do more this year but for Joe to do what he wants to do it wouldn’t be possible so I took a step back as he cranked it up. (And then of course I got injured and just wanted to crawl under a stone for the first half of this year).

Ironman 70.3 Stafford was his first race and although he was fighting fit he had a mechanical on the bike and was sat for over an hour at the side of the road waiting for the support vehicle. He had a good swim though and he finished the race with a good attitude.

Edinburgh was the big one. It was the one he had been training for over the winter months. We had both done it last year but this year he wanted to really nail it. Plus there were championship slots available – it would be hard but not impossible. As soon as he had his plan he signed up and I put myself down for volunteering.

I didn’t see a lot of him in the week leading up to the race and I will be honest, some of that was my choice! I’ve never spent so much time in the kitchen. Not cooking, don’t be silly. More looking at the saucepans and wondering just how loud the noise would be if I actually did clunk him round the head with one.

We stayed over in Edinburgh the night before. I was marshalling at the swim and had to be there for 6am so it gave some extra hours sleep and time to relax. My favourite movie was on the telly and there was red bull in the vending machine so I was literally like a pig in sh!t. Joe got the best nights sleep he’s had before a race ever so it was a real win.

Down at the swim I kissed him goodbye and wished him luck. I was soon put to work stopping people entering the swim exit. Part of me wanted to be right down at the swim but to be honest, all areas were good to be at. I got to shout and whoop and encourage the athletes on as they were a bit more ‘with it’ by the time they reached me. I was marshalling a cross over point and the lovely girl I was working with was from China. She didn’t really know what Ironman was and had volunteered as she was doing Sport and Science at University.

I had a great position to see Joe coming into T1 and true enough I spotted him straight away. He was shoulder to shoulder with Barclay, another Perth Tri Club member. Unfortunately I missed Sarah who was Frazers relay team swimmer but I caught all the others from the club and also Steven Bonthrone. What I really loved about volunteering was the smiles on some of the athletes faces when they went past to my very loud cheers that just read ‘I did it! I did the first part!’ You could see it plain as day on their faces. I loved it.

I did not love the next part. Driving by myself in to Edinburgh city centre. Nope. Not for me. But I had to stay strong. Many many deep breathes and I turned the engine on. I clicked on the sat nav. I slowly pulled out of the car park. This part was ok. This road I kind of know as it’s the marathon route. The roads are also quiet – probably because it’s 9:30am on a Sunday morning. Ok. I’m approaching the centre now. This means more turns. I can do this.

‘Road closed’

What the f@ck!!!! Ok don’t panic don’t panic. I turn left, then left again, then left again. And yup, you guessed it, left again. Road still closed. Come on!! I then go up a ridiculously steep hill (what is that with Edinburgh?!?) and can’t see where I’m going. So naturally I pull out in front of at least 3 cars then brace myself for an almighty smash. Thankfully doesn’t happen but I apologise if that was you.

Eventually I just dump it down a side street, spend 20 minutes trying to figure out how to drop a god damn pin on my google maps to tell me where the hell I’m parked before realising that I’ve got about 15 minutes to get to T2 before Joe gets there. And I’m wearing flip flops.

I take off down the hill and almost fall off the kerb that in gods honest truth is at least a meter high, phone in hand with Mrs Google telling me to turn right (well it wasn’t going to be left again was it). I turn right and see Holyrood right in front of me. Result! And here wasn’t even any tears!

I’m desperate for a wee but there’s no way I’m missing Joe coming in. I check the tracker again and do a little calculation. I soon realise that I really should do a maths course as Joe is at least half an hour away. This allows me time to pee though so it’s not a bad thing. I pop over to the finish line (after I’ve been!) to see if there’s anything I can do to help and grab a bottle of water. Then I head to the Bike In. Tracker in hand. Sun cream on. I’m in a great position. So is Joe though. He’s in front of Barclay. I can only imagine the friendly rivalry going on between them right now.

I start getting really nervous. He’s having a great race and as far as I can see there’s no issues. Everyone around is cheering but it’s a dull cheer. I’m nervously looking between my watch, the tracker and the road.

Then I see him.

Had I not been jumping around so much I probably would have gotten a better video but I really can’t help myself. I run up to the fence and across to where he’s coming out on the run where I catch him again. He’s still strong but the sun is now so hot. This is going to be tough for him.

Barclay comes through just minutes later and I catch Andy too, who by the way, completed The Celtman just 3 weeks earlier!! If you don’t know what that is look it up!

The run is 3 laps and when Joe comes back down I know instantly he’s not feeling great. I shout to him he needs to take on water. I’m a bit concerned at how he’s looking so I head further up the route to try and surprise him at a difficult climb and give him a boost. Everyone’s struggling. The heat is relentless and it’s a hard run. I lose count of how many times someone comments on how hot it is. I see Andy coming back down the hill. ‘I spy a Celtman!!’ I yell out at him. ‘This is harder!’ He shouts back.

Steven’s wife messages to say she is at T2 and I head back down. I see her on the other side of the finish chute. Joes on his last lap and I’m not going to miss him on the red carpet. I’m gutted I haven’t seen Frazer at all but I couldn’t get him on the tracker. It’s the only problem I had with it. At the finish and I see Barclays wife and daughters. He comes in not long after all smiles. It’s an anxious wait for Joe. This is ‘A’ race this year. He wants a qualifier spot which we know is going to be ridiculously difficult but not completely out of reach.

I see him before the commentator does and I start banging like crazy on the boards. He’s had a much better race than last years and Stafford. And this is in more difficult conditions. As soon as he’s across the line I head to the finishers tent.

Where I wait patiently for over an hour for him to appear.

This is clearly a part of the day that needs more planning. That’s all I’m going to say.

He’s done a tremendous job. He really did have a good race. Unfortunately he’s not finished in the top 10 of his category but it’s a hugely competitive category. Still. I convince him to wait around for the slot allocation. If nothing else he will get to know what happens and what more he needs to do.

There’s a few hours to chill out before the slot allocation begins. Not a bad thing lying on the grass after thousands and thousands of steps. Then we head in to the marque. The awards are read out first and Alicjia from the tri club gets second in her category.

They then start with the World Championships South Africa slots. It’s a very confusing situation – at least it is for me, but it involves maths, so that probably explains that! Joe goes up. Did she say there are 34 or 36 slots? There are 34 people standing up there. Oh my god I’m so confused what’s happening?! Another guy goes up. That’s 35. No!! What does this mean?

Well basically this means HE’S ONLY GONE AND GOT A PLACE!!

This was the goal. It was THE goal and he’s done it! Holy cow!

I have a slight panic attack as I know we have to pay just now for it but they ask for credit card and we don’t do credit cards. I’m still a bit dazed when his coach comes over and says there’s a group going so it will be good and I won’t be on my own etc. Thankfully they take any card. Well, for that amount of money, why wouldn’t they?

So that’s it. Off to South Africa in 2 months time. I never doubted even for a second he could do it but I don’t think I realised just how soon it would happen. The next couple of months are going to be intense but I can’t get over just how awesome this is. He’s worked hard for it but what an opportunity.

Guess I need to stop joking at him now that it’s ‘still not a marathon or an ultra’ as you have to admit this is somewhat better ha ha.

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A Night To Remember

What makes a memory for you? What special event or moment sticks itself to you and never lets go? Good or bad?

A few weeks ago we had the Perth Road Runners Awards night. Now, being the organised person I am (who coughed?!) I already knew what I had achieved. Plus, you know, writing about every race you do kind of helps jog your memory. So yes, I knew what to expect.

Andyes, I asked my other half to come along. Why wouldn’t I? Ha ha

We are not big on nights out, can probably count on 2 fingers how many times we ‘were out’ in 2017. In fact. Make that one finger. And make it the small one. So I was looking forward to it. My mum was looking after the kids for us until 10pm so we had a good few hours of freedom.

Both of our wardrobes are about 95% Lycra so we had to make a trip into town. Naturally I found nothing so ended up with a tshirt and jeans and Joe was jeans and a shirt. About half an hour before leaving I glanced through social media.

Panic set in.

Everyone was dressed up!! I’m talking going out, sparkly, dresses with 4 hours at the hairdresser and a professional make up artist doing the finishing touches. And that was just the guys!

I was straight on the phone to my friends.

‘What the actual hell, who wears a dress over the age of 16 nowadays?!?! I can’t go in jeans! I’m going to look SO out place! Oh my god their not even jeans, they are jeggings! How the hell did I end up with jeggings?!?’

‘You don’t wear dresses Ella. I’m surprised you even wore a wedding dress. Why do you even care? Everyone knows you’re a jeans and tshirt person. Be comfortable. Oh, and FYI, normal people wear dresses over the age of 16. Normal people.’

I had nothing. They had a point. Not that I would tell them that. I threw the tshirt in the wardrobe and found a top that was a ‘bit more dressy’ and swapped my flats for heels (after covering my entire feet in plasters to try and prevent the inevitable blisters).

Joe didn’t care.

Tantrum almost over we headed out and managed to find a seat as soon as we went in. We chatted to Gillian about all the awards and how training was going. Joe almost had a heart attack when he realised he wasn’t getting fed until after all the awards were given. He definitely went a very pale shade of white.

First up for me was the Hills Series. The one I’m most proud of. If ever I was to take myself out of my comfort zone it would be running (cough) up and down a hill. The only female to run every one of them. And I still only came second ha ha. I really don’t care though. I finished them. That was my success. Oh, and not dying. Kind of important.

I also picked up my Bronze Club Standards. I didn’t get that half marathon time I was after but I gave it everything I had. Hopefully 2018 brings with it that goal.

Third in the Championship. ‘You almost kicked me out of that one by suddenly deciding to run a marathon!’ I joked with Gillian. She just laughed as she went to pick up her second place.

Next was the fastest distances in the Championship. These ones got trophies. ‘If I get a trophy there’s no chance in hell I’m giving that back, Ronnie will have to catch me!’. ‘Same here!’ said Gillian. ‘Pretty sure he can run faster than both of you.’ Joe tried to say under his breath.

Fair point.

‘The fastest female half marathon was Ella Webley.’

‘Did you know you were getting that?’

‘Something was mentioned but I didn’t really understand it.’

The person who was actually the fastest in the Championship was also fastest overall so according to the rules it goes to the next person.

I don’t care, it’s not getting handed back!

Sitting in front of me was proof I had worked my ass off for the last year. I had pushed myself and I had achieved something. I may not have London yet, but I have this.

‘Well done love, is the buffet open yet?’.

To be fair, the chilli was worth the wait. It was delicious.

Back at home and my awards are pride of place on the windowsill. And yes it just so happens everyone can see them ha ha.

Oh, I wasn’t the only one in jeans. At least 1 other women was.

Ella Webley. Jeans and t-shirt.