Saturday, 28 July 2012

Anglo Celtic Plate 100km

November last year I sat in the hospital with my dad talking about gaining selection for Scotland in the 100km. Dad didn't want me to do another 100km but I knew he knew that i would. Selected or not selected I was going and I was also going to win the Scottish championships for him.

Thankfully I got selected and the nerves set in on the week leading up to the race. The race is all I thought about and when I did I felt sick with nerves. We had decided to drive down to Wales on the saturday, I can remember sitting in the car not wanting to go. Thankfully Stevie didn't listen to me and drove me to Wales.

The team meeting, really all I can remember is Adrian telling us that one of us would be the Scottish 100km champion tomorrow night. I sat there feeling sick with a mixture of dread and hoping it would be me.

The race was to start at half seven, it was allready warm when we got to the course just before seven. The race started and  I went off probably too fast but it felt comfortable. So I stuck with the pace with Gail now by my side. As the race went on this is really how it stayed, I would get into and out of the feed station a little ahead but on the back straight Gail would catch me up. I had trained with Gail a few times before the race so I felt comfortable running with her. Normally I just like running by myself. I felt that I never altered the pace I just tried to keep it steady and tick of the miles.
I knew it was getting hotter, but I was taking on plenty of fluids and eating well. Quite early on Stevie had told me to put a hat on which I normslly dont like wearing.  As it got hotter I would remove my hat on each lap and replace it with a wet buff  around my neck to then come round and get my nice wet hat which Stevie had been cooling in a jug of water. I should add at this point I had seen my hair looking better but hey it wasn't a fashion show. Thank god cause I don't think the look I was sporting would catch on. The hat was great as it meant I couldn't see a bloody thing so I could switch off for a while. The only real way I could see was for me to lift my head right up. Maybe  should have as there was one point I was coming into the feed station and someone shouted at me to watch the cars. They where right enough as two cars coming straight for me, and with my history I felt it best I did get out off the way. I didn't rush I simply trotted to the side of the road and smiled. After that I did try to listen out for any further traffic but I was sort of busy with a race.
I had my cup of tea at half way but couldn't face the homemade flap jack which I had been enjoying during most of my training runs. Instead I was eating food that I  hadn't been eating during my long runs, fruit and jelly bean things. I never knew how good melon could taste.

As the race went on the one thing that worried me was the the fact that me and Gail where still together. It worried me that it could get to the last lap and it would be a fight for home or the dreaded sprint for the line. I just hoped that one of us would break and it wouldn't be me. Gail is a really good friend but I am sure she thought the same during the race. If I was going to lose to anyone then I hoped it would be Gail.

It took until after the 50km mark before I was on my own, I remember going through the feed station and then hitting the back straight of the course waiting for Gail to return to my side. She didn't but I just kept moving thinking she would be back. I never knew how far Gail was behind me during the race as Stevie would never tell me so I kept running scared. Always believing that Gail was right behind me.

I think the heat started to take it's toll as I remember feeling dizzy and faint after coming through the feed station. I was so glad to get round to tell Stevie I wasn't feeling right, I shouldn't have bothered as I was cooled down and sent on my way. This is the man who has said in previous ultras I don't give him enough information to how am feeling. No wonder if thats how he treats me!!

My only other rough patch was around 40miles, when it got to around 12 mid day. As this was always the time I would get my support to phone my dad. There would be a call to dad's house phone but this time there would be no words spoken or the phone would not be answered. I had asked Stevie to do this and it was  part of the race plan. I ran that lap lost in my own thoughts thinking of my dad and how much I missed him. I hoped he was looking down on me and not worrying too much.

As the race went on and Gail never appeared at my side I was very worried that that she was not far behind, Stevie wouldn't give me any information and I had another wee wobble as the tiredness set in. I told Stevie I couldn't go on I was tired and didn't think I could do it for dad. Thankfully Stevie was his normal understanding self and shoved water over me threw food in my mouth and shoved me back out onto the road.
The later stages of the race I caught up with Sandra who wasn't having a good day at the office. I had been trying to catch her and use her to pull me along. When I did catch her up she give me the kick up the arse that I needed and got me moving. Sandra really helped me in those last laps encouraging me to keep going and not allowing me to walk when that's all I  wanted to do.
The first time I ever meet Sandra was at Cardiff at this very race and that day she became Scottish champion. Sandra is a great runner who inspires me with her strength an determination A huge thank you Sandra for helping me, words can not express how much you helped me.
The last lap was such a relief to know that all the pain was going to end as going through the feed station I  told Stevie I wanted Adrian to give me the flag. It meant so much to be given the flag by Adrian as he knew how hard it had been for me with everything I  had went through losing dad. I set out on the last lap with Sandra asking her for the millionth time was Gail catching me, the answer was no but I didn't relax until I got to Adrian standing with the flag. I would love to say I sprinted down the finishing straight but I  enjoyed every god dame stride. I had came here to win the Scottish championships and I had done it for my dad. With the flag aloft I crossed the line and looked up to the sky , I knew he was watching.     

Thanks must go to my support crew Stevie, I could never have done it without you so thank you. Thanks for taking the time to listen to me when I came into the feed station and eating all the home baking.
Thank you Adrian  and team Scotland and the other support crews who helped too.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Connistion Marathon

This was to be my last long run before the 100km and a chance to get away for the weekend. A nice wee off road marathon. What i call off road and what the race organiser's call off round are two different things. My off road has nice wide paths that you can run on without fear of rocks or tree roots and no mud!

On the start line i hoped for a good run to feel strong throughout and finish like i had just been out for a wee run. Also i wanted to enjoy the race with no pressure on me and maybe the rain would stop. The start was fine two laps of the school playing field. Made so much more exciting with having to avoid the long jump pit on each lap. Then it was out onto the road taking in a nice step wee hill, that got the lungs working. Then the trouble started a small track along the forest so early on that other runners wanted past with not much room to allow them to pass.Thus forcing me to run at a pace i wasn't happy with and the tree roots coming at me quick and fast.
I really struggled with the down hills early on, too many runners rushing past me and making me nervous i was getting in there way. Am  more out of control than in control when running down hill and probably stopped dead a few times causing other runners to either pull on there brakes or jump to avoid me. It doesn't help when am scared that i would fall. I did get slightly better as the race went on.     
I ate well during the run, with Stevie feeding me throughout the race so i didn't need to stop at the feed stations. He was also there to push me across streams when i was taking my time getting across. Why was i wondered that my feet would get wet, as i think it had rained most of the run. Stevie was also there to make sure i behaved and didn't run too fast, no chance on a course like this. He was there to keep me company and the time flew past as i don't think i ever shut up. Well maybe on the step up hill's and the down hill's when i was too scared to chat. Maybe the odd swear word came out of my mouth. He was also there to make me laugh, which he did on many occasion's. Like the time he was having a go at me for taking my time on a step muddy descent and called me a big girls blouse. Oh how i laughed as i trotted past while he tried not to loose his shoes in the mud. He even managed to run into a sign post and smack his head off it. Not sure how he did it, to think he was meant to be looking after me!!

Early on i could feel something rubbing in my right shoe, by the end i had a nice big blister which was getting more uncomfortable to run on but i could still run. Thankfully it caused me not too much bother after the race and was able to walk and run on it.

I finished strong and felt good just like how i wanted too. With running with Stevie he stopped me upping the pace on the nice flat good surface at the end. Why hadn't the whole race been on this!
I did in some sort of twisted way enjoy the race, some great views and the company wasn't t too bad.  So thank you Stevie for making me laugh and feeding me the whole race. I so need to work on my off road maybe after the 100km i will hit the trails. Until then it is time for the dreaded taper!