Now. I'm a road runner. I run on roads. I occasionally do trails but not very often. I have to be dragged kicking and screaming to do hills and track isn't much better. So initially, when the Splash N Dash race was announced, I didn't think twice about giving it the body swerve.
Run along a beach – that's sand, not tarmac – then into the sea – again water, not tarmac – then do it again for a second loop.
Not on your nelly.
But then a few people were talking about it and we had had a couple of good days weather wise (which for Scotland means the wind was gusty not hurricane, and the rain was showers not monsoon). So I signed both of us up. Yup, Mr W was going to do it too.
Let's be clear here though. The only reason I asked him to was because we now have this agreement we have to consult the other before signing up to a race and he only said yes because he had just bought a TT bike!
Marriage at its best.
Naturally, day of the race, it was pouring. It was windy, it was cold, it was wet. And that was before we were running. I hadn't even checked the distance either so I couldn't estimate how long I would be out there. I had opted for my 3 quarter lengths instead of shorts given the weather and a buff round my neck which I very quickly fanned out and put round my head to try and keep 'some' warmth in. If someone had asked me if I was in remission I couldn't have blamed them. However I was that cold I didn't care what I looked like.
Joe had decided not to run. Gave some utter cock and bull story about not wanting to ask my mum to babysit – personally I think he felt it was too cold. (He's not a runner, let's be honest). So he sat in the warm van the entire time.
As I stood in line to get my bib there was a lot of chat about the waves. One runner who had done it last year kindly demonstrated how deep we would be going.
She pointed at the tops of her legs. The TOP of her legs!!
I'm going to need arm bands!! What the hell?!?
Then someone said they had decided to move the race from September to July in the hope of getting better weather.
Someone was most definitely taking the mickey.
There were quite a few road runners there and we huddled together to try and keep warm. Didn't work. I was grumpy. I was miserable. I just wanted it over and done with. All this way for what I found out to be 4 lousy miles on terrain I detested. There was a reason I didn't do races like these.
The organisers didn't want to keep us so started us of quickly. What I hadn't thought about was the spray from the person in front – literally like someone throwing sand in my eyes. Great! I tried to shelter behind people but the choice was the wind and rain or sand in your eyes. That's not always an easy decision.
I didn't check my watch at all as I didn't care an ounce what speed I was running. I knew it had to be about 2 miles ish out to the pirate flag and then we turned back. You couldn't see the flag for the mist but as soon as I was close the fast runners were going by in the opposite direction. 'It's a lot easier going this way' shouted Stewart. And sure enough, as soon as I turned, the wind lifted me up and pushed me forward. Thank god I wasn't wearing a skirt! Not long after we were in to the water just a little bit and that was fine. 'I can handle this' I thought. Along the beach we went and yes, I confess, at one point, I pretended I was a lifeguard on baywatch and The Rock and Zac Efron were at the finish line.
I ran my fastest split at that point.
Further in to the water we went now and it was that deep you couldn't run. I braced myself for the 'freeze' but it never came. Instead I found myself laughing and trying to do some kind of gallop through the sea.
Was I actually enjoying this race? Hell yeah! Weather was awful, couldn't really see but it was fun. Hadn't expected that!
Back round for the second lap and I found I was lapping a handful of runners. There were some who weren't as fast as others but my god their determination was strong! They were finishing no matter what!
A couple of the marshalls had water guns but to be honest, because of the rain, it didn't make any difference. It was still funny though to be squirted at as you ran by. They must have been freezing but the weather wasn't dampening their spirits.
Across the finish line and I made a speedy exit to the van with heated seats. I had been wise and brought a full change of clothes. Plus a towel to try to cover my modesty but the wind was having none of that either.
As usual, the lovely Gordon Donnachie was there to take beautiful pictures of us. I think I should get mine blown up and framed, what do you think?
I thought I was going to hate this race but I really found it fun! My legs felt so good after being in the water it was amazing. I would definitely recommend it – in rain or sun ha ha.