Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Country to Capital

I really should not be allowed to pick what races I want to do, this race required map reading and I can't read a map! After reading a few blog's about the race I was even more worried, would I ever end up in London. I think Stevie was shitting himself that I would get lost, he even offered to run the race with me.
In the end I was to run on my own, Stevie was too scared he was about to get chicked!  Well that's what am telling myself.

What a race, i like a wee drama and this race had plenty.
I took to the start line in my normal running kit and a few extra bits to keep me warm ( hat, gloves and arm warmers) i got plenty of funny looks. I don't think they are used to ladies wearing not many running cloths. Yes it was cold, but I live in Scotland so this was just on the chilly side. We would soon warm up after a couple of miles. Other runners had that many cloths on am sure they would be over heating after five minutes of running.
The race started and within a couple of strides my first drama had happened, my i pod went flying out of my pouch in my back pack. So I stopped to find it, running back up the pavement looking for it. With Stevie shouting at me to get running, well he could have helped me look for it. Thankfully a nice man had picked it up and was running back to the start with it. So I chased after him and got my i pod back.
The first bit was muddy and hard to get past other runners so i just settled in and waited for the opportunity to get past. It took me around forty minutes to get lost, which I thought was good going for me. Once back on track I would always go past a runner who I called Mr Tambourine man. I passed him a few times thinking I could almost kill him with the noise he was making if I had to run with him.
My next drama was getting to first check point to put water into my bottle, when I went to open it I didn't need to as I had no lid. I wonder if that went flying at the start too. Not to worry it wasn't hot so I would just use the water at the check points.
This was soon followed by getting lost again, passing Mr Tambourine man again. It was at this point I thought it was best to ask him if he knew the way, he said he did. So I decided I would run with him.
 Mr Tambourine man turned out to be called Andy and he saved my ass from getting  lost. But am not sure what he was all carrying but what a noise was coming from him. He sounded like a one man dance band. In the end I ran a fair bit with him and others who had all started following him. What a lovely man, without him I would never have made it on to the canal. So a huge thank you to him.
It was a really nice group that I was running in, we all chatted away. For once it was really nice just to forget that it was a race and enjoy the run. Although it was off road, I coped better than normal and the mud didn't bother me too much.
The next big drama was a small girl getting kicked up the bum by her horse which had spooked and jumped over a barbwire fence. Mr Tambourine man didn't stop so I didn't want to wait around and loose my mobile map so I went after him. Am sure the girl would be fine as she was still standing and walking around in pain I hope they found the horse.
We eventually arrived at the canal and it was time to say good bye to Mr Tambourine man, to say that I was glad to see the canal was an understatement. I may have showed far too much excitement at reaching the canal by having a wee dance and shout. The end was of the race was near, twenty odd miles but the chances of getting lost had nearly gone. Mr Tambourine man had told me to come off the canal at a sign saying Paddington thirteen miles. He said you couldn't miss it, he obviously he doesn't know me. I didn't miss the sign as I went right up to the sign nearly heading into the water. There was a small bridge that I was meant to go over and then take the left, which I did. Now I could relax as I knew it was a straight run into the finish.
Once I had hit the canal I had upped the pace but the legs just didn't want to play. I felt it was a real struggle but I did try to push on. I hadn't given myself enough time since the last race but I need to run on tired legs so this was good practise. I knew there was a chance that the race could have been a struggle earlier on so am pleased it didn't really start hurting until around five miles from home.
I finished second lady, so was pleased with that. I also had great cake during the race. It's a real shame they don't give you a cup of tea with it, I did ask! I meet some really nice people during the race too and thank you again to Mr Tambourine man or I would still be running.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Barcelona 12 hour track race

When entering this race the only real aim I had was to finish it and get over 62 miles. 62 miles is the longest I have ever ran. The last time I attempted to go over 62 miles in a 24 race it ended in disaster and never finishing the race. The other aim was to try to enjoy the race, well as much as you can.

With everything that happened last year and the sale of my dad's house it has been quite a upsetting and stressful time so the idea of going away seemed like a good idea. I was going to do the race and have some time each side of the race to rest and recover.
My number one support  was also going to be in Spain but sadly not in Barcelona  with me but away to watch football in Marid. When i happened to mention at work that i was going to be doing this race i got some offers of support for during the race. My support crew for the race was to be three nurses and the house keeper (who i call Auntie Cathy) Stevie briefed them what to expect and what was sort of expected of them. Auntie Cathy gave them there orders on race day and was keeping them all in order.

The day of the race I was a little nervous but eager to get started. I didn't really understand the race briefing as it was in Spanish. But hey am running round the track and got to change direction every three hours really what else did i need to know. Oh stop when i get to twelve hours, simple.
The gun went off and i wasn't really sure what lanes of the track i was meant to be  in but after a couple of laps and abit of pointing from a race official i was sent into the outside lanes and got a thumbs up from the official so i was sorted for the next 12hours.
Right from the off I wasn't happy and things didn't seem right. Looking back the only thing i can think of what was wrong was that there was too many people around me running. What ultras i have done it is normal to run most of them on your own with small amounts of passing company of other runners for a short period of time. This was strange and difficult at times avoiding other runners when attempting to pass them. Thank goodness for my razor sharp elbows. There was music playing throughout the run on a loud speaker sometimes it is just nice to have some peace and quite. Or your choice of music, I did use my  i pod more than I thought  I would. It helped take my mind off all the runners around me and noisy supporters around the track.
It was at this point that I knew i  was going to struggle and it wasn't going to be the legs that would let me down. It was going to be a mental battle. There is times when you have to give your self a good talking too, I told myself it didn't matter that I hated it I was just going to have to get on with it for the next twelve hours and put the head down. It was during this talk to myself that I said to myself No Surrender and which was repeated many times during the race.

With the music being so loud I did have difficulty speaking with my support crew and found at times I felt like  I was barking my orders at them. They where great they stood there the whole race taking turns to look after me and give me what ever I needed.
Am not sure it's what they expected but it helped explain why I come to work some Monday's unable to walk and feeling sick. One good thing about having nurses there is I was worried if I became ill during the race they would pull me out of the race, so there was no option to stop or even the dreaded sit down anywhere near them. Which worked for keeping me moving during the race.
I got up up six and bit hours and the sickness kicked in, you try to run through but it got to stage I had to slow down and that eased the sickness feeling. Anytime i upped the pace and feeling of being sick grew. Thankfully I was sick and felt slightly better. While attempting to be sick this nice long haired man kept asking me if i was ok, thankfully what i was saying in my head I didn't say to him. What i told him was i still felt sick and had been sick. He offered me a tablet telling me that it would help, i took the tablet and it did help. I got back running but wasn't able to push the pace as the sickness feeling started again. The tablet really did help and while being sick i thought i was going to have to spend the next six  hours walking and vomiting.

There was no point during the whole race that i ever thought about leaving the track and not finishing. I feel i showed some true mental strength, the race didn't go to plan but I stuck with it and finished it.
The last 20 minute's of the race was great the relief that this hell would soon be over. It felt like i was sprinting round the track, it felt so nice to be flying round and round.
Thankfully when it got to twelve hours I was stopped near my support crew which was so nice to share the moment with them. I also got a nice hug from part of the GB train. It's at this point I should say without there chat round the track i could have easily stopped, i looked forward to them passing me. Boy's you made me laugh and it was a pleasure to see you make it look so easy. Vicky, you so deserved your pb.

I finished first female and second overall, first male two laps just in front of me. Thank you to my support crew, i couldn't have done it without you.