Sunday April 12th was to be the first “Race” of the year. But it’s not actually a race as I’m on injury-avoidance at the moment, so we’ll call it my first “medalled run” of 2015.
When I first looked into this run last year, I knew it’d be a trek at 133 miles north from home. But it’s April, and despite it being The Highlands, we’ve just had a week of 18 degrees so I didn’t expect the weather to be quite as “Scottish”….. oh.
Thankfully, the snow cleared up by the time we got to the Glenlivet Distillery. Which is just stunning. We left our phones in the car (because I’d rather concentrate on running than taking snaps…) and headed off to registration.
The race briefing warned of “The Steady Incline” and everyone who’d done the race before shared a wee giggle. Uh oh. That’s the kind of reaction you get at MoRun in Edinburgh and I remember THAT hill awfy well…
The run started out downhill and then we turned left and started towards said “Steady Incline”. It started steadily enough. But it kept going, and going and freaking going and I really honestly started to think I was going to have to walk. Or puke. Or just go to sleep.
But I didn’t.
With some encouragement from my other half, who was running with me, we kept on going, picking through all the walkers and the stopped-to-tie-the-laces (rookie mistake! Tie them properly!!) and eventually made it to the top and the 4km water station. I never take on water during a 10k. This was a first for me.
We passed the sign that said “Steady Incline Finished” (huge relief) and then began to meander down, quite quickly, to what I thought would be the “fast and flat” section of the run.
What’s that? Another hill? Another STEEP hill? OH MY GOD.
After the second secret hill that no one mentions, we started the steep descent to the fast and flat section. You can really see the descents in my pacing which was all over the shop, even by my standards. Here’s an elevation graph to give you an idea of what I faced. (It’s quite flat where I live. I actually have to drive to other places to do hill repeats!!)
Once we hit the flat section (let’s call it “undulating”, thanks) I made an attempt to level out and get my breathing and HR under control. Not sure that really happened, if I’m honest. And a wee peek at my elapsed time suggested that I *might* be in with a chance of a PB. This. Was. Not. The. Plan. I’d accounted in my head for the elevation gain, not the steep descents and they’d thrown my pacing way out.
Somewhere in the depths of my competitive brain, something went “fuck it. 2k to go. let’s have this” and I began to increase the pace.
It was at this point I realised that… hang on… nothing hurts. NOTHING. NOT. A. THING.
Hips? also ok.
With coaches words ringing in my head (“It’s when athletes feel at their best, that they usually get injured…”) I didn’t open it up too much. I just stuck where I was comfortable and focused on a target: Mrs Tough Mudder finisher. I’ll “the toughest event on the planet” you, Love.
And we got her. In the finishing chute. (I could feel her cursing us).
I beeped my watch off and crossed the mat. Not expecting anything amazing. I’d have actually been really cross with myself if I’d gone any quicker than 60 minutes. That would mean I’d pushed way beyond my capabilities. But it flashed up 1:03.16. Which tallies precisely with my chip time. And I’m delighted. Not a massive amount off my previous 1:04 effort. But enough to see the green shoots of recovery and progress on a difficult and unforgiving course.
So we finished. Brian stuck with me the whole time despite my (increasingly grumpy) protesting that he should go for it and try and get a sub 60. At least it meant that he got to “jog” along and enjoy the absolutely staggering scenery. Scotland really did good views today.
So. Great event. Great marshals, loads of local support, quiet roads, incredible surroundings, ace medal, proper timing, supporting an amazing charity (Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland) plus FREE WHISKY?
I’d do it again. For sure.
And. On the way home, Scotland gave us this….
Next event? Next weekend sees me and Sean (bro-in-law) tackle the 5k relay of the Scottish Swimathon. 2500m? Nae bother.