Templeton 10. The last race of the championship. The last chance to prove I hadn’t lost the ability to run.
Or at least, that was the plan.
The 500 mile road trip the day before probably wasn’t the best foot to get off on but it was worth it. We had a great time at a family wedding.
So here it was. Sunday morning. Race day. Winter had definitely come, it was bloody freezing, so the shorts were left in the bag. I debated just a vest but chose last minute to put a tshirt on underneath. I don’t like being cold. The honest truth is, I’m an absolute cow when I’m cold. A hungry runner ain’t got nothing on this runner when she’s shivering.
The conversation before the start was, well, interesting. Everyone was glad it was the last race of the season. Many were there to get their Championship medal (Run 7 out of 10 selected races and bam – new medal). More importantly though, we needed to know the toilet situation. Which naturally led on to exchanging stories of the weirdest pee related thing you had seen whilst running. Sonjia’s story of the start of one of her World Major Marathons was the winner. Details not to follow! Ha ha.
The start line was freezing. In the shade and amongst trees my inner bitch was beginning to come out. I was shivering and swearing in equal quantities. So I kept to myself. For that reason and also because I was worried I was about to have a repeat of Jedburgh the week before. This was 3 miles less but I had struggled from about 7 or 8. And when you’re miserably disappointed with yourself, running even one mile is a mission.
Team photo done we headed to the start and quickly we were off. Clutching my clif bloks which I had thankfully remembered this time I had my plan in my head. There was a short downhill to start (which truly nastily we would be coming back up at the end) followed by 5 miles of climb. This was no PB course. There was no fast start, it was about taking it easy and saving something in the legs for the last climb. We went in and out of the shade which meant in and out of the cold and sun. Very difficult. One minute it was hot and I was regretting the double top layer and the next minute it was freezing and I was wishing I had my gloves. There was no winning.
There was also no pain. I was ‘comfortable’. I didn’t let myself believe this though so I concentrated on just moving forward and getting to the top of the hill. Then I could use the downhill as recovery.
Now I’m told the views were lovely but quite frankly my only concern was having a good run. I just couldn’t end the season with another atrocious run in pain and disappointed. So I kept pushing. Said hi to Derek as he passed me and slowly kept putting one foot in front of the other, moving forward.
(That’s how you run by the way. By putting one foot in front of the other. Not at the side. You won’t go the right way if you do that. Good tip for you).
5 miles and I had my clif blok. Didn’t feel like I needed it but it was a distraction. As was the incredibly enthusiastic Marshall at mile 6. ‘Wish I had her energy right now’ I said to the runner next me. He laughed in agreement. He knew.
Mile 7 and I adopted the usual ‘just a park run left’. Of course I knew mile 9 had the potential to completely ground me to a halt/end my life. I wasn’t thinking about that though.
Mile 8 – done. (I feel I should be making an Eminem joke here – striking resemblance to Justin Bieber don’t you think?)
Here it is. The last mile. The last hill. I’m not in pain. I don’t need to clutch my chest and enter the ugly duckling contest. I’m fine. Knackered because running 9 miles is quite tiresome but I’m ok. I can do this.
Top of the hill and I turn left. It evens out but it’s never ending. I’ve still got Derek in my sights and I briefly consider trying to catch him but I blink and he’s gone.
Finally I come up on the finish and I actually have a grin on my face. I just ran that race like a proper runner!! I did it! Nothing held me back!! (Or bounced around pulling at my muscle). FINALLY! I can run!!
In hindsight the implant probably just needed time to ‘plant’ itself (eugh) but I was told I could carry on as normal. Of course the doctor probably didn’t know what normal was to me but never mind. Lesson learned. I’ve been back to have the implant checked and everything is ok at the moment. A little worrying the nurse asked if my heart rate was usually really slow but we will let that pass.
Finishing that race not only got me my championship medal but it put me back on track. I can run comfortably again. I can run distance again!
Sometimes I guess you have to just wait your time then unleash your inner Wonder Woman and let her run free.
(Me running the last part through the woods ha ha)