This week I’ve been like a zombie. A barely walking zombie. And I don’t know why.
I’m not doing more than usual – in fact, I’m probably doing less! I don’t feel ill either I just feel exhausted. Thinking about it this is usually a sign somethings on my mind and as per the norm, it’s preventing me from sleeping.
So I’ve turned to the treadmill.
What?!?! The treadmill?? Why!!
Laziness if I’m honest. You can stop at any time on a treadmill and you don’t have to ‘walk back’ anywhere. There’s no ‘suck it up buttercup you’re still 2 miles from home!’. You’re at the gym. The cars outside. It’s easy.
5 miles on a treadmill is not easy though. Not for your mind. So I need to stop that and get back outside. I have had 2 runs in the fresh air this week – one with my running buddy and one on my own after I messed up at work and needed to get out. Today was the treadmill again though. I could barely keep my eyes open at my desk so I went for a run to try and insert some life in to my soul. I was convinced it would work but alas it did not and after nearly smacking my head on my desk in one of those free falling nano seconds of dropping off motions you get I decided it was time to go home.
On the plus side the tiredness in my legs seems to be easing slightly. I really don’t need that when I’m about to start ultra training.
56 miles – what ever obsessed you Ella?
I’m missing park run on Saturday as I’m working but the other half and I are doing the Mo Run on Sunday and we are going to dress up for it! Something fun to end the year on now all our serious races are done.
And Monday brings the clubs AGM. Where I hopefully find out if I am selected for a London ballot place. To say I’m nervous doesn’t even come close. Shaking with hysteria flitting between incredibly excited and depressed as sin isn’t far away from the truth. As they say though, what will be will be.
Then to end the year – the Santa Run! Who doesn’t want to run down your local high street dressed as the big bellied, white bearded grandad?!
So hopefully this tiredness does a Brexit and leaves. Preferably sooner rather than later.
I’m sure some Christmas Carols will help with that.
Run round an Island you say? Yeah I’m up for that!
Around Cumbrae is a 10 mile road race on, yup you guessed it, Cumbrae. Cumbrae is an island off the west of Scotland so a bit of a journey to get there but all part of the adventure!
In hindsight my planning maybe wasn’t the best. Running a fast Parkrun the day before and then hurting my ankle doesn’t make for good preparation. It happened though so I ‘ignored’ the Parkrun and taped up my ankle. Job done.
Sexy isn’t it.
I begged my other half to come knowing I would regret it after but everyone seemed to be organised for the car share and I thought the kids would love it – go on a ferry, be on an actual island – what’s not to love? Everything apparently. Turns out it was just me that was excited by this. Maybe I need to get out more.
On the Saturday the weather was gorgeous. Sunny, no wind, no rain, just bliss. On the Sunday, the day of the race, well, no. It was not. Let’s just say I didn’t need the sun cream.
A full on wet suit and survival guide would have been more appropriate but I had to make do with my long sleeved top and shorts. Hair was plastered back. Very attractive.
The good thing about the other half coming was that we could test out the new car. Oh yes. No longer do I have the Zafira bus that hadn’t locked for over a year, windows had a life of their own going up and down and would make weird and wonderful noises for absolutely no reason at all. In comes the BMW whose stereo I can’t work (only the most important part of a car!), has more buttons than a space ship and I’ve been told I can’t get it dirty. ITS A CAR!!
But anyway, the race.
We arrived 2 hours before the start – something of a complete wonderment to me! I’m more of a pre 5 mins girl so with 2 hours to kill and wind that could capsize the titanic things got boring very quickly. I soon became the most hated person in the car as I was the reason we were here. ‘I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I need a pee, I need a poo’. 2 hours I had to endure of this, and iPads were not a cure for the situation.
After firmly sealing my place in the worst mum hall of fame yet again I gingerly made my way to the hall where everyone was gathering for the pre-race photo. Only to find out I had already missed it yet again. I was just beginning to think someone was trying to tell me something here when the heavens literally opened and we were engulfed with torrential rain. I sheltered under a tree but that wind was determined to get me and get me it did! This race was not turning out to be the fun filled experience I had thought it would be…..
It wasn’t clear where the start line was but one of the many benefits of not being the fastest means you can safely just queue up behind other people. Job done.
Thanks to the torrential downpour the roads were very slightly flooded. Don’t think I earned myself any brownie points splashing through them but my god I had fun doing it!! There’s something oddly satisfying about splashing in a puddle! Until you Splash your bum and you have to seriously consider if you’ve possibly just pee’d yourself. Nope, that’s cold water. Maybe no more splashing though Ella.
First couple of miles were probably a little too fast given I’m meant to be doing marathon pace. I didn’t have to worry though because just before the mile 4 marker the wind started to hit. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ran in but it was enough to push me back. That coupled with meant to be going slow just completely messed with me and that was it. As much as I enjoyed the views and running right beside the sea my body wasn’t having it. I just couldn’t push myself on. So I settled on slower. I even stopped for a bathroom break (just to check ha ha). This had dire consequences on my under garments however and I ran the last 2 miles with my pants only being held up by my shorts! At least that made me go a little faster!
I crossed the line to discover Joe had taken the kids for a late lunch to pass the time. We headed straight to the ferry after a quick chat with a couple of other road runners and collecting my medal. That’s right, it may have been a small island race but there was still a medal! Wa hey!
Of course I had to apologise for the ‘boring’ day in the car on the way home and I will no doubt be held to ransom over this in the near future (Can I have £20 mum? No! Remember when you made us come to one of your races that was a 200 mile round trip and it was pouring with rain with nothing to do? Here’s £30, on you go).
This race has made me realise I need to take a step back and slow down though. I need to do some slower runs to get ‘that feel’ for my pace to be able to do 26.2 miles. Am I still going for my London time? Well, I want to, but I have also realised it just may not happen at Loch Ness. That’s not to say it won’t ever happen. I absolutely will be running London next year! It’s more that I need to still enjoy running for running and not always be aiming on a time.
Run round an actual vehicle race course? Yeah I’m up for that! The Carnegie Harriers do an annul event which is roughly a 3.9 mile run round the Knockhill Racing Circuit – sounds awesome, so I signed up. Plus last year the medal was an actual toy car, what’s not to love?
Still feeling broken from the Perth Half it wasn’t exactly great timing plus I am fighting the need to go and get my hip seen to but I was running this one way or another. I resolved myself to the fact it would be more a fun run then a push, and with a marathon coming up I thought that would be fine.
There are a couple of people at work who are keen racing car people (I don’t know what you call them? Racer fans? Fast car fanatics?) so I asked them what the course was like presuming it would naturally look like the ones on the telly which are all perfect tarmac, flat as a pancake and round. No Ella, no. It isn’t Brands Hatch or Silverstone, this is Perth. It is a race track but it’s not round. Ah well, should still be fine. Tarmac and flat with some corners, no worries.
Joe and 2 out of 3 kids came along – purely because I would have gotten lost otherwise. There was no way I was finding this place by myself lets be honest here. As soon as someone even tries to tell me a place is well sign posted I smell b@llsh!t. There isn’t a place in the world that is! Besides, it was pretty cool for the kids to come along to this one anyway. (Did I mention it was a race track?).
Standing in the queue for the toilets and the usual chit chat occurs. Have you done this race before? Me – No but it looks pretty cool, what’s not to like. Other – 3 laps with that hill is a killer though.
‘I know, I felt a bit stupid when my friend pointed out it’s called Knock HILL, as in it’s built on a hill. At least it’s less than 4 miles’.
I genuinely felt the light bulb turn on in my own head at this point.
Why did I not click?!? Why did I think it was flat? But more importantly – who builds a race track that isn’t flat?!?
I spent the next 20 minutes amazed at my own stupidity – but also freezing. It was windy, and cold. Not the best combination. Not on a non flat route.
Pre-race photo done and it was off to the start line. There were quite a few of us Road Runners so there were green vests a plenty. Knowing my hip wasn’t really up for this I didn’t do my usual ‘pick someone and try to beat them’. I just settled in to the run. It was a very slight uphill at first and then we went down, before climbing up.
Genuine question though – how do you race a car round that? You would have to change gears so many times! My trusty family people carrier would struggle to go down the hill never mind back up it. I can truly picture having to get everyone out to push it. Ten Ton Bessie would not enjoy being driven round that course let me tell you that. She would dig her heels in and grind to a halt (although that’s pretty much what she does right now anyway, she’s a moody cow, wonder if it’s the menopause. Hmm, my car has the caropause?).
Anyway, back to the race. Now I’m ‘mentioning’ (*cough complaining!) about this non flat route but Stewart – another road runner – was pushing a buggy round this! It may be a specifically designed running buggy but it is still a buggy with a 4 year old child in it! She was having a whale of a time with the wind in her hair
though and her mum was running too.
Oh and yes – he beat me. Man who runs with buggy beat me. Ah well.
Now, during this run, my hip was, as predicted, annoying me. At the moment it feels like I am dragging my entire left side as I run. I should go and get it seen to but I am going through the ‘ignore it and see if it goes away’ phase. Plus we have a stupendous amount of things going on in September that I am trying to save money where I can. However. I also know what will happen if I don’t go and get tortured up and if that happens and I can barely lift my leg off the ground, well, I won’t be able to run. So yeah, I guess I better go.
So in my head I am running round this track, left side being dragged along from top to bottom, wondering if there is a way I can crack my own back without breaking it and re-aligning my spine etc when I go past my kids at the side shouting and waving.
‘Mum, keep going you’ll win’.
Cutest. Thing. Ever.
I had no chance – or desire – to win, but it was very cute. The rest of the race was spent wondering what trainers to buy him for just 2 weeks time when he can go to Junior Parkrun! And also, how long before he is beating me in a race….
The spread afterwards was phenomenal and I got a much needed cup of tea. Joe went back to the car with the youngest but my daughter pinched a cake or two. Her justification? She ran with me a little bit at the end of the first lap (a bit too windy after that she said ha ha). Unfortunately there was no car medal this year, I imagine down to cost as they couldn’t have been that cheap to purchase. A great race though and one I am glad to have ticked off.
And even though it’s not really the same as the ones on the telly, it is to me – so yes, I can now say I have ran round a racing circuit.
If it was easy everyone would be doing it and it would be boring. Right now I think 'infuriating', 'annoying' and 'aarrgghhh' are more accurate in describing how it is and feels.
No I didn't get my club standards time. Not even close.
The day started well. It's an 11am start so no rush in the morning. I even made my own breakfast of porridge and banana (I never cook. I hate it, detest it, will go to bed hungry before I cook. Just one of those things) but because someone wouldn't wash up the saucepan HE had used I ended up making it. So I was quite impressed with myself. Not so much with the 'top guy'.
Frazer aka original running buddy came round as he was running in the Half and Lorner was too. Lorner had her cat at the vet so was running a little late and we ended up getting a lift to the start instead of the bus – where unfortunately my parents had gone to surprise us and wish us all luck…. (sorry mum and dad).
This was Frazers first half marathon and he had a rough time in mind but ultimately just wanted to finish. Lorner has run one before but has had some injury issue in the last couple of months so she also just wanted to finish.
I wanted under 1 hr 48.
Club photo done and it was off to the start. Frazer and Lorner headed a little further back and continued their chat of alcohol , how many gels they were going to take and whether or not you could get alcoholic gels. They were also trying to calculate how much iron is in a pint of Guinness!
I placed myself quite near the front before the start line. It was gun time and not chip time so every second counts. Beside me another road runner was pacing his friend who had previously run 1hr 47 so I thought to keep her in sight. Another road runner was possibly looking at 1hr 45 depends how she felt. Definitely too fast for me so I was thinking more dot in the distance on that one.
Off we went and it's straight on to a trail path of loose rocks and gravel. I knew I had to concentrate on foot placing until I got to the road so it was head down most the way. I was joined by a guy who went to the first running group I went to and we chatted away for a couple of miles until I realised I was going too fast and needed to focus more so I dropped back a little. I had my goal and I was getting it.
It's a very mixed terrain course so you are jumping between the small rocks and gravel through fields and farms then on to road then in to woods. You get a bit of everything. No real elevation though apart from 2 very short sections. At the first water station I saw a woman from work who had volunteered and shouted out a hello and a wave as I went by.
On to a section of road and we were told to keep in as it wasn't closed roads. Rules state no earphones now for safety reasons but there was a guy in front close to the middle of the road. Cars were going closely by him but he wasn't moving in. Yup, he had earphones in. I couldn't help but think what a twat. He could have been hit by a car he couldn't have heard coming if he had tripped or swerved out and it could have shut down the event. Further on and I was throwing myself down a hill (still on route, not randomly) when another runner, this time female, ear phones again, moved out in front of me and I had to think fast. Now, she would have heard me coming there's no doubt about that. Pretty sure my mum and dad heard me at the finish line at this point and I was still 7 miles away! I spent the next couple of miles writing a strongly worded letter of complaint in my head to the organiser regarding people using their earphones and the dangers they cause.
I spent a good chunk of the second half on the heels of another road runner I know is faster than me. I didn't know what time she was going for (she may very well have just been running it with no time in mind) but I knew she was a good paced runner so tried to stay there.
I kept checking my watch a lot during the race and I felt I was doing good time. It was going to be touch and go but I remained focused. I absolutely detest running fast (I may have mentioned this before like, oh I don't know, 50 billion times!) so I really didn't want to have to do this again. On to the main road and I was feeling it but I was still on the heels of the other runner. If I could just get to the Inch (big park in Perth) and hopefully get pushed on I could make this.
Over the bridge, turn to the right and I see my mum. I start laughing as I know what's about to happen. She sees me and frantically waves to my dad on the other side to say I'm coming. She then looks at her phone…..and looks at her phone….. and looks at her phone…..I go past and she's still trying to turn the camera on on her phone. Every time.
I hit the Inch and that's when I begin to lose it. I'm no longer on her heels, she's 20 metres in front. Scott goes past and I try to use him to push on but he is flying! It's almost a sprint finish on the last 3 miles for him! I desperately need water but haven't seen a water station for miles, there has to be one on the Inch! Then I remember from last year they didn't have one and I genuinely start looking around wondering if I know anyone I can ask if they have water! I need it that badly! I swear at myself for looking and pausing at my water bottle earlier that morning and deciding not to take it. Twat.
Creeping up to the last mile and I tell myself I need to push it along the last, long stretch. It's straight, it's flat, you can do this. Last section then you don't have to run fast again for a while (lies I know but still, you'll tell yourself anything at this point).
On to the very, very long straight and I'm going. I've got good rhythm, my arms are going, I'm not sprinting but I'm going steady. I can make this 1:48! I'm over taking the odd person but there's not many other runners. Where is the finish?? I can't see the finish!! I can't see where I'm aiming for. There are NO other runners here!! I feel like an idiot. F@ck!!
Sod it. Had enough. Can't do this. I HATE THIS.
My watch hits 1:48.
I run to the end but shake my head as I read 1:49:07 on the clock. I didn't do it. I lost it. It wasn't even a PB. I didn't even come close. Over a minute too slow. I'm miserably disappointed.
I take my water and bag – of which I don't even look in – and head over to my mum and dad. A few minutes later my daughter comes bounding over. She and my other half have just got here. I tell him I didn't make it and await the 'told you so' from him but instead says he had spoken to another runner who had said it's not really a PB course. I don't say anything. Because of the loop on the Inch Lucie – our daughter – knew where Lorner and Frazer were and knowing how awful that last stretch was I head back down to try and encourage them on. They both found it hot and hard but they both finished and that was their aim.
Frazer was working in a couple of hours so we headed back. It was then I saw the water station hidden at the start of the Inch. I had gone right past it and not seen it. Turns out many people missed it too.
I could give a number of excuses as to why I didn't hit my goal. It was hot, I didn't have enough water, I went out too fast, it wasn't a PB course (yet someone in the club got a PB and by quite a chunk! Well done him!), it wasn't completely on road like I'm used to etc etc.
Truth of the matter is though I just didn't run fast enough. There's no other reason than that. And there's nothing more disappointing than that. I'm now going to have to find another Half so I can get my time. This, I am not happy with. But it's got to be done.
That, or I could strongly contest why the club standards time is so ridiculously difficult to get. Demand to see stats of the club of how many have actually achieved it, how many are capable and how many realistically can not (like me, right now). Oh yes, when I was running I was writing this letter too! 'Dear Chairperson, I would like to know who decides what time …..'.
Maybe I will just keep my mouth shut though and (try to) run faster! Isn't that the point?
Every year my daughter begs me to be on holiday for the entire time she is off school. Unfortunately this just isn't possible. My job doesn't allow for 6 week sabbaticals and my tendency to enter event after event – and her addiction to the most expensive trends going – kind of means I need my job. 2 weeks is the best I can do.
And naturally the very first day I am off I ask her what she wants to do and she tells me she's made plans with friends! Last thing on her mind is spending time with her mum! Hmmf.
2 weeks off work also means disruption to my routine. This I dislike very much. I love routine. I need routine. I can't tell you how many times I've had a hissy fit in the changing rooms at work because someone is in my spot. I am in there everyday at 12:02pm and I use the same locker next to the same spot on the same bench every bloody day. Completely puts me off when someone else gets there first!
However. I have to work with this. I have to change some things (not my spot in the changing rooms, it's mine). So gone are the lunch runs for 2 weeks and in come the early morning alarms so I can get it done before he is off to work. Gone are the lovely field runs with fresh air and wildlife and in come the loops round and round my house beside a road, dodging the kid on the scooter who is clearly aiming for me (so much self control it took not to push him over) all to get it done.
Gone also is my 'lunch'. As in actual food. It's 3pm before I realise I haven't eaten and by 4pm my Jekyll and Hyde impression is Oscar worthy. Half past 4 and I'm crashing out for a nap. Yup, got to love being off work….
And now lastly, it's beginning to feel like my speed is threatening to go. Yes ok I've never exactly been in the league of Laura Muir but I like to think I have at least a chance of getting my GFA time for London. What if that's all it is though? Something I like to think? And not something that is a reality?
'That' Saturdays long run threw me a little. Last Saturday was definitely better. Marginally longer but no 'bathroom' issues, just a bit of a hip issue. But now I've figured out I need to run 8min 30 splits. That's a bloody huge challenge. Kind of wish I hadn't looked that up. 26.2 miles at that pace? Hmmm.
It's what's driving me though. So when I was doing park run to finish my long run and I wanted to slow down…. I didn't. Pushed on by realising someone was using me as a pacer I kept at it. Took me a while to realise I knew her, spending the first 2 miles trying to figure out who's voice it was. Of course I could have just turned round and looked but it's more fun to play the guessing game! So when I started increasing my pace near the end and I felt her slow, I shouted at her to keep going. She was truly doing amazing and came so close to getting a PB. I'm sure she was only a few seconds off.
Same again last night at the club run. After a pitiful attempt at an excuse not to go from my friend (looks like thunder she said – barely a cloud in the sky, I'm picking you up) I agreed to run with her group. Near the end though and I was slightly a bit ahead with another roadrunner. 'Heading straight back or the long way round with strides?' He asked. 'Long way round, definitely.'
I hadn't heard him say 'strides'.
'Ok, bin to bin. GO!!'
I very quickly discovered I did not have that in me. But he kept going, kept pushing, and although it was quite a pitiful attempt on my part, I got it done. No way in hell I would have done it if there hadn't been someone shouting me on!
And so that just leaves this mornings run. Whilst my youngest was at nursery, my daughter who had begged me to be off work still lay in bed (I am NOT getting up mum!), and the myth that is my eldest was also in bed (obvs, duh), I took off for my run.
At a MUCH better pace!
I got home and went straight in to a cold bath. I know some people say this does nothing for you but I certainly feel better for it and even if it's only mentally, I don't care. There's a lot to be said for placebos.
Saturday is my local half marathon. And shock horror I have another challenge (because obviously the marathon isn't quite challenging enough! *cough,cough). I want my club standards time. 1hour 48mins. I didn't get it at Loch Leven and I was disappointed, those 38 seconds still haunt me. I want it this Saturday. The last 3 miles have you go past the finish for a loop out and back. Horrendous route. So I will make sure the other half – and hopefully my mum and dad – are placed to shout at me to keep moving. It's going to be needed.
Fingers crossed! (But not toes, because I wouldn't be able to run then).
A fellow roadrunner suggested Hal Higdon and one of the websites plans fits well in to my already 'brief' schedule so I've gone for that. It will need tweaked I don't doubt but it's given me a good starting place.
Monday – 5 mile run
Tuesday – leg workout, club run
Wednesday – 5 mile run
Thursday – core workout, hills/track
Friday – rest
Saturday – long run
Sunday – rest
That's the gist of it. There's a few more details to each run and I'm still swimming etc but yeah, that's it.
And oh my god my legs are killing me!! First time I did my leg workout I couldn't walk for days. Days!! And it's only really lunges and squats! Clearly torture moves designed by those who don't like running.
Evil, evil I tell you.
And I'm back to a longer run. Which I love, I truly adore. Just start running and keep going and going and going.
Saturdays long run didn't 'quite' go to plan. And by 'quite', I really mean not at all. I put on a podcast to try and keep my pace slower, this worked good. What also seemed to be working was my bowel movements. Shame they didn't choose to work before I went out running however (and believe me, I tried everything to get them to move!).
I was barely 3 miles in, enjoying listening to an interview on Toughgirl when that oh too familiar feeling appeared. I tried to block it out, hoping it would go away (because that happens all the time – yeah right), but alas no. I ended up banging on my parents door at about 7:45am hopping from one foot to the next. As soon as the door was unlocked I went screaming past them 'I need a poo!'.
They were least impressed although I suspect they also found this not too abnormal now. Pretty sure I may have done this before.
Back out and I turned the podcast back on. Within minutes they were talking about embarrassing things that happen when you're out running. Naturally, the subject of needing to go came up. I was still laughing a couple of miles on.
My stomach wasn't great though and low and behold I needed another emergency pit stop. This time it was the start of Parkrun which thankfully is a sports centre so does have toilets. I had intended on a few more miles after Parkrun but it was time to call it a day. On the walk home my friend pointed out having fast food the night before probably wasn't the best idea.
The penny dropped again.
(I mean the metaphoric one just to be clear!)
So basically training is going to plan but I need to stop these rookie mistakes. My legs hurt but I'm thinking they will get used to it soon. I probably need to up the track sessions or review my 5 milers – try and make them more speedwork specific – but it's going good so far.
I will get that 3:45.
So….. yesterday. Yesterday was the next instalment in the hill series that I’m just ‘loving’ (if loving actually means hating with all your might and would rather be watching paint dry that is).
The difference with this one though is that I’ve ran it before – twice! And whilst it’s got its steep as hell climbs, it’s also got flat sections you can recover on (well, as much as you can during a race). It is however longer than all the other races, and it definitely makes you work for that medal. Bonus on this run though is that my other half was actually sponsoring it, he had designed the finisher t-shirt and was volunteering.
There were quite a few Perth Road Runners volunteering also and many were marshalls round the course so there was lots of encouragement.
It was meant to be a long run day so I decided to run to the event and run back. The youngest had other ideas though. He gets a bit of separation anxiety from time to time so when I tried to drop him off he wasn’t all for it. I know he’s fine within minutes of me leaving but when you don’t really need to leave straight away (because I could drive there) I find it more difficult to go. In the end I managed to run 3 miles before my dad came along, picked me up and dropped me at the start. 3 miles was better than nothing and as expected my mum had text me before I had even hit a mile to say Ollie (my son) was playing happily.
Frazer – my original running buddy – was also running this race and his girlfriend Kirsty and daughter Jessica had come along too, as well as their dog Ruby.
We were called to the start line about 10 minutes before the scheduled start. Although I knew I would be passed I still went near the front as it was an instant climb and I didn’t want stuck behind someone or forced out the way. This wasn’t a race I would be happy to just finish. I wanted to improve last years time.
I looked around and Sonjia, Stewart, Mark, Dave and Ronnie were in front of me. Hmmm. No Heledd. Where was Heledd? I tapped Stewart on the shoulder. ‘Have you seen Heledd?’ ‘No’ he replied. Then a glint in his eye. ‘Does this mean?’
‘I don’t know, I was sure she was coming though’.
Then Sonjia turned round. ‘Heledd’s not here’.
She had the same grin as me.
‘Check you girls out all competitive!’
‘Not at all! Just friendly banter! But if she’s not here, more points for me’ I laughed.
Facts are facts, both Heledd and Sonjia are faster than me so yes, the only way I could ‘win’ was if Heledd wasn’t running. Then I would be the only female that did all 6 Hill Races and the nightmare that was Birnam Hill (the first hill race) will most definitely have been worth it. Sort of. Maybe.
‘Oh hi Heledd’.
Aw no, she was at the registration tent. Game over.
She snuck to the back a little embarrassed that it looked like we were waiting for her but it wasn’t 11’o’clock so she wasn’t technically late. ‘You’ve still got a good few metres on her’ Stewart said. ‘I’m going to need it, and much more!’ was my reply.
Off we went and up the zig zag hill that is right at the start. Not even a few metres to turn the legs over, you’re going straight up. I saw Kirsty at the top corner and a few steps passed her I heard ‘oh no, Ella’s already gone past’. I think she was taking my mums place in the ‘missing the moment’ gallery ha ha. I gave her a wave to say I had heard her though.
First mile down and I chose not to look at my watch, there’s no point in Hill races. I knew Heledd must be right on my heels and right enough, at 1.35 miles in I heard the ‘Hi Ella’. ‘Hey’ I managed to gasp back. She looked a bit white, not her usual self. I wanted to ask if she was ok but I couldn’t gasp that out. I passed her just a few minutes on which surprised me as I don’t think I’ve ever done that so tried to take advantage and not slow down until she had passed me again.
Around 2 miles and there was a woman at the side with a hurt ankle. I asked if she was ok and told her friend I would let the next Marshall know. He ran on but kept looking back wondering if he should have stayed with her.
3 miles in and past the water station. I didn’t take any as Heledd still hadn’t passed me and I knew the second I stopped or slowed down she would fly right by. I also knew the worst Hill was coming and I would have to walk/stumble up it. One of the Road Runners was the Marshall at the bottom of it and I had to ask her why she wasn’t running it. She just looked at the hill and we both we knew she had made the smarter decision, not me! All the way up I was just waiting for Heledd to go past. I’ve spent enough time behind her at these races to know she could most likely run this bit! When she didn’t pass me here I knew she wasn’t 100%. Hoping it was more a case of she was ill and not a case she was hurt I kept on.
Back up yet another hill and this one was one we had come down. The Marshall – Sylvia I think it was – tried to be encouraging by saying something like it was the last hill, or it wasn’t far. It’s quite hard to remember as I was so close to death through lack of oxygen. I did manage a reply of ‘if I had the energy I would kill you for lying’ – she knows the route, she knows the truth ha ha.
As soon as I hit the ‘top’ and knew it was more down hill then up I kept at it. Mile 5 and I did something I never do during races – I started to look behind me. Yes I was trying to see if she was on my heels. It kept pushing me forward though as every time I turned round I expected her to be right at my shoulder. I knew where the final uphill was and pushed myself up it. Then down it went. Past Eleanor another road runner at a Marshall point with her daughter, cheering away, still pushing on.
She’s going to get me, she’s going to get me. This is going to be like the hills on Thursday when Mark lapped me right at the finish line! Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop.
I hit the zig zags and saw Kirsty again. She started to run with me down them. I found this hilarious and tried to shout ‘are you challenging me?’ but all my energy was going in to not being overtaken at the end. I had also calculated that if there was a team prize I may have been third female PRR as Marlena was between Sonjia and myself! (There wasn’t a team prize but still, it was a nice thought!).
I turned the last corner and I heard footsteps. NO!!!! I was NOT giving this one up!! Unable to breath I somehow moved my legs faster. Who ever this was was not getting past me!!
It’s ok, they didn’t!
Across the line and a few very deep breaths later I went and collected my medal. I saw Stewart and yes, I admit, my first words were ‘I beat Heledd!’ however this was very quickly followed by ‘but I don’t think she’s feeling very well, she’s not having a great race’. I saw Kevin her partner and went over to speak to him. He confirmed it, she wasn’t very well. I felt really bad. She came in just a couple of minutes behind me. It’s all friendly competitiveness but I did feel bad for her. She obviously wasn’t on top form or she would have wiped the floor with me.
Frazer came across the line in just a little over an hour which was phenomenal for his first time doing that run. He was quite rightly pleased.
And so on to my run home. Well that didn’t go to plan. It was roasting hot, I didn’t have my sunglasses or a hat and my legs decided the 10k trail race was enough. I had to make a call to my mum at 3 and a half miles in to get picked up before my hamstring went ‘ping’.
All in all a good day. I knocked 3 minutes off my time from last year which was the main aim. But best of all there’s only one more hill race!!
Photos courtesy of Ethan Lee and Gordon Donnachie – they are at most races in Scotland kindly taking photos on their own time. Much appreciated! (Except the one you get of me every time where you age me at least 30 years! Ha ha)
The Alexis Rose Trail Race is a local families legacy race for their daughter who passed away from meningitis when she was only 19 months old.