Monday, 8 June 2009

Yetholm hill race

Busy weekend so not the best race prep. Jane and Jim were getting married and Peter was doing the photos so he was going down to Cumbria on the Thursday night. I had work on Friday but managed to get away early on Friday so I set off at 2.30pm to get down there. My last text from Peter was "Its cold so wear warm clothes" and I couldn't ring him as he was in one of the many communication blackspots in the lakes. I ditched my last ideas of trying to get dressed up for the wedding assuming we'd be out in some field somewhere and made sure I had a duvet jacket along.

A fairly full on 3hrs of driving found me taking a completely needless extra journey through rush hour Penrith only to arrive back out at the roundabout I'd originally left to go into Penrith. I got my bearings then and followed instructions to go to somewhere in Morland, which turned out to be the wedding party's afternoon do which I was kind of gate-crashing having left straight from work.

I could have banged Phil and Peter's heads together for putting me in this situation when someone asked my why I wasn't dressed up. Because I was told not to and didn't know what I was arriving at.

There was nothing to do but drink wine and abandon the car for the evening and just get on with it. I took the line of dancing as much as I could cos I was tired and if I sat down wanted to go to bed - not an option. A bus finally arrived at nearly 1 am and we got a lift up country lanes in a van back to Phil's house.

I thought I'd been fairly careful drinking but I'd had a minimum to eat and after initially sleeping because I was so tired I woke up with a sore head of growing proportions. I tried having a big drink of water to rehydrate while I slept but this proved too much for my empty and growling stomach and I ended up having to get up to vomit as my head banged ever harder. It was a miserable start to the weekend. I eventually got enough fluids into me and some paracetamols and started to sleep the whole thing off.

In the meantime Peter had gone out and the others in the house, not realising I was still in bed had locked me in. When I got up at about 1 pm and wandered downstairs in Phil's house I realised after I'd burned some toast and tried to open the door to let the smell out that I was locked in.

I didn't know the way to anywhere because I didn't know where I was. It all took careful figuring out with a delicate head. After some cups of tea I found some maps and even used the compass I'd brought in my hill racing kit to figure out where North was and thus how to orientate the map. (This could be the first time I've used my racing navigation kit at all.)

Eventually someone arrived back and I went and rescued my car and we had quite a nice and alcohol free evening. The next day since we were driving back up country we thought we'd revisit Yetholm hill race which we did last year in a very wet blanket of low cloud. It was raining when we set off but as we drove up North and then East the sun came out and it was with relief we arrived at the race start in plenty of time and with reasonably bright weather.

I suffered throughout the race with a terrible thirst so was clearly still dehydrated from earlier in the weekend but it was nice to be out running in the hills. I thought I made a reasonable job of the race (there are a couple or three of really stiff climbs but also some very runnable sections on nice short grass on rolling hills in the middle) and was disappointed and puzzled to be slower than last year when I took an unintentional detour and covered 8.2 instead of this year's 7.68 miles. However it was good enough for 2nd lady and 1st lady vet as only 4 ladies turned up for this race! Looking at the race listings on Scottish Hill Runners and Scottish Athletics this looked like it was the busiest race day of the year and so ideal for a spot of pot-hunting. I didn't get a pot but I got the glory of a mention and a bottle of wine; just what I needed!

For those who don't know Yetholm is a nice runnable non-rocky, non-frightening hill race in the borders just past Kirk Yetholm of about 7 miles and one of Graham Henry's favourites. It was Graham that particularly recommended it to me, knowing what I liked in a hill race. Even most of the downhills are at an easyish pitch so I could keep running smoothly despite a slightly dodgy knee.

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