I’ve never been one to deal well with post -race blues. This is why I knew I’d need something after the Awfy Long Swim to keep me from getting fidgety…
Having been scouring the net for a decent sized race towards the end of the summer (but not a marathon because hell no), an email from Great Swim happened to remind me about The Great Scottish Run. 13.1 miles around Glasvegas. Flat. Fast. Take my money.
Having discussed race ideas with the bearded one, I decided to register him as well. Brian has been progressing well with the running and much to his outrage, I put him down for a 1:45-1:50 finish. #lolz. Well I wasn’t gonna let him have an easy time of it, was I?!
Meanwhile, I popped myself down for the 2:15-2:30 category, thinking I’d not have the time to get below my current PB of 2:15.
Immediately after the swim, coach and I set about adding to the graft I’d put in all year with my strength and conditioning.
What followed was 6 weeks of metabolic conditioning, full body workouts, threshold work and LISS work. At times, gruelling. For the most part, INCREDIBLE. I can’t believe what my body is getting good at. It’s pretty exciting!
El Magico Fifty.
Two weeks on the trot, the day after a hellish metcon workout, I bashed out sub 60 minute 10ks. Something which has previously been illusive and required MEGA teeth gritting with DOMs that would last for days.
But here I was, bashing the miles out with little-to-no muscular punishment.
The week before the half, I was able to run 18km with ease and comfort at a pace I was miles away from when I arrived at the VLM start line earlier this year.
So. October 2nd 2016. Brian and I found ourselves on a packed train to The Weege. It was freezing. Beautifully sunny but very cold. We shivered our way to drop bags and then parted ways. He was off to the white start. For fast folk. And it was pink wave for me.
I somehow managed to weave my way right to the front of my pen. Probably to the disgust of faster runners behind me, but to be honest I’m sick of having to pick my way through so fuck it. I’M GOING FIRST. ME.
I was nervous. And excited. But nervous. Obsessively checking over my body in my head making sure everything was as it should be. The 11:50 start time became 11:57 and the atmosphere was amazing. The race starts in George Square and in the bright autumn sun it was perfect. Absolutely bang on, Scotland. Nice one.
The walk to the start.
As we set off, I was overtaken by literally everyone. Pegging it up the hill of St Vincent St is brave, guys! 13.1 miles is FAR.
Running out towards the west end, my watch beeped 1km at under 6 mins. Oooooops. It was NOT the plan to beast it.
I’d already clocked the 2:10 pacer in the start pen, that was the first and last time I saw her. Not because I was behind her, as per VLM, but because I WAS AHEAD.
Omg. Just keep it consistent, Bean. You got this.
2km was still quick. Bugger. Running down a motorway was pretty cool. (It was closed, I wasn’t lost). All the sights of Glasgow, from rough and ready to sprawling homes and gardens. All in crisp October sun. Lovely.
By 3km my quads woke up and decided they were not happy at all with the situation. After a lecture they settled down for what would turn out to be a hard bit of graft.
To my amazement, pacing stayed pretty consistent. I wasn’t being overtaken by anyone in fancy dress. The weather was incredible and so was the support. I stuck to my plan of gel at 5k and 12k and took water at each station to sip.
Pollock park arrived. Along with a surprise hill. Which was not what I ordered. Legs continued to protest. Lungs stayed on my side, luckily.
Lucozade was on offer. I imagine the elites and the super speedies took all the orange because all we got was raspberry (Ever puked up a raspberry daiquiri? That’s what it tastes like) alternatively there was “Tropical” which is basically Passoa puke. Lovely.
Around the 8 mile mark I spotted the flame-haired Anne, my pal’s mummy who has so many running medals I’m surprised she isn’t in the record books. Hello’s and good lucks exchanged and we were in Bellahouston park.
Pretty soon I was at the 10 mile mark with the telly chopper overhead. I was still in a pack but I was passing a LOT of people. I WAS GETTING FASTER.
The sun had taken its toll on a number of runners who were receiving emergency care at the road-side. Huge shout out to the volunteer medics who kept everyone safe. Two of the four people I passed were completely unconscious. I hope they’re ok now!
I spotted a lucozade station up ahead and figured a sugar boost would help me to the finish line. I bravely took a slug of Pukeozade and immediately my stomach turned into a fiery furnace of sulphuric acid.
Nice, that Lucozade stuff….
I’d made it this far ignoring fire in each of my shoes.( I MUST see a chiropodist. Must. ) but my feet became lead weights as I crossed the squinty bridge onto clydeside for the “sprint” to the end. I was still at 5:50 /km. My elapsed time was under 2 hours. If I stuck at this I could get sub 2:10!
My feet burned, my hips ached, my quads were screaming, but I was KILLING THIS!
To put this in perspective for you, my relationship with running has been difficult at best. Forcing my body to do something it’s not designed for and not willing to do has caused me numerous problems. But taking on a strength coach has seen times tumble. So while my times may not be impressive to most, to me they are huge achievements. I could feel myself welling up with pride for my wee body.
I pushed on under the railway bridge and towards Glasgow Green. The Finish chute loomed. I saw Brian waving and cheering (1:49 was a bloody brilliant first ever half!)…. I saw the gangtry. I saw 2:07.10 on my watch.
SMILE FOR CAMERAS. SPRINT. MORE CAMERAS. FIST PUMP. SPRINT.
Nailed it. NAILED IT.
I can’t wait to see my majestic* finish line sprint** photos.
I cross the line beaming proudly. But what’s this? Oh god, my body is rejecting life. Water. WATER. Finish pack. Find Brian. Sit down. Yes. Sitting down is nice. No, don’t make me get up.
I force a 9 bar down my neck. I’m sure it’s normally very tasty but I may as well have squirted expanding foam into my ruined face. I chew for days. Eventually I start to feel the benefit and manage to avoid the dreaded sugar crash that floored me after VLM.
Of course what you really want after any event what you really want is a long, painful shuffle to a train station! So hobbling back to Queen Street while trying not to puke and shit myself at the same time was exactly all the fun I needed right then in life.
That was hard, hard work.
I’ve really worked for that. And it’s paid off. It’s made me want to take a wee break from distance for a while, but I’ll be back.
Home for Chinese and the most epic sleep with early Physio to flush toxins from my achy legs and I feel tip bloody top.
Thank you, Glasgow! And especially huge thank you to the amazing volunteers who cheered us on and kept us all safe.