Well that was fun!
I was looking forward to this run, guess the long summer off had given me a bit of motivation and this was a goal I had set myself.
Weather was a bit drizzly and way too cold for my liking. It is always fun people watching at the start of races. The difference in race attire was interesting. There was the likes of me, expecting to be at the back of the pack and slow so dressed accordingly with full tights rain jacket gloves buff and a spare everything in the rucksack. Then the racing snakes, shorts vest and wee arm warmers, geeze I was cold just looking at them, but to even it out there was a bit of everything in-between!
I had a plan, start slow a then slow down, just my usual then. The first few miles I was last bar none. Just plodding along I passed people as they stopped for injuries or wardrobe malfunctions etc. Sometimes folks went past me and this stupidly worried me, I started thinking I was slowing down so soon, then I would go by same people?? am I speeding up? I didn't think so. I reckon some folk got their pacing a bit muddled.
The mud on the route to Maxton was bad. At first I tried to run round the bogs but quickly realised that wasn't going to happen so straight through it was. My shoes were getting sucked off one minute then when getting clear of the bog my poor shoes were covered in so much mud they weighed a few extra pounds each. I quickly realised this was going to be a long slog.
There were parts of the route that were excellent too, good footing through the woods and along the riverside. I still barely lifted my head though. I have a wee problem with self preservation and seem to focus totally on the ground in front. I'm sure this will pass as I get my confidence back.
I caught up with Ellen when she took a wrong turn along the river, we met at the point where she should have turned. It was good to blether for a moment but I needed to stop for comfort break. This meant I was on my own for quite a way to the Rhymer Stone checkpoint. I had put in a drop bag and it took me quite a few minutes to get my stuff sorted. Folks who I had passed a while back were now in front for the big climb up the 3 peaks. I put my head down and tried just to grind it out. The bottom of the first hill was very muddy and slippy but soon began to look like a normal path. I only stopped briefly to take in the views on the way up but my lungs were bursting and I really wanted to sit and rest. At the top I had caught up with Adrian who I tried to follow on the downhill but he left me like I was standing still. No way am I bouncing down a hill. Repeat on the second hill but I didn't catch him on the third which gladly was much smaller. Others went by me on downhills I think I lost about 4 places.
Back into the woods and I had my confidence and mojo back. Just kept plodding away.
I was trying to watch my nutrition as always, usual problem for me. For this race I had decided on gels/tablet/coconut ice and I had a banana in my drop bag. I also had a rice but couldn't find my spoon and shovelling it in with my mud covered fingers was a bit off putting. I had my isotonic drink in both my water bottles and a wee bottle of irn bru. I thought I would manage, and I almost did.
Not sure if it was a mental melt down or an energy one but I had made a wee pact with myself. With my fear of missing the cut off times I had told myself... run all the way to Maxton.. then only 10 miles to go, you can walk this if necessary. Seemed a good idea at the time and by the time I had reached Maxton I was feeling ok, I did try to keep going with this high for as far as I could but unfortunately that wasn't very far!! I had caught and passed Ellen and Stan by this time, but knew I would soon be looking at their backs. My hamstrings were cramping and my stomach was rebelling. I had just taken my last gel and there was no way I was loosing it. Hold the tummy contents at all costs!!
Soon they passed me again and now my aim was to keep them in sight. I duly lost them in the woods and it was really quite dark and I panicked like a panicky thing. I bolted down the track trying to find them!! Once I caught them I was hanging on no matter what!! 4 miles to go and I was trying not to cry like a spoiled 2 yo having a tantrum. I was hurting and I wanted it over bubble sniff sniff, ha don't you just love how childish you become?
Alan Robertson caught us on the wee back road with Adrian joining us on the road in Jedburgh, and that is how we finished five of us together giving the timing mat an overload.
I'm glad I hadn't listened to my inner demons earlier on and picked myself up to tick another box towards recovery and fitness.
Well done to the guys on their first year, the run was fun if very difficult. The marshals were great and well done the guys out on the hills!!