Saturday was a stunning day for the first Porty outing to the cross country this year; the 1st of the EDCC league held at Stirling University campus. It was quite a few people's 1st cross-country ever, so me and Peter were thinking they'd be lulled into a false sense of security. It was cool but warm in the sun. There was no wind and an absolute minimum of mud.
I went to uni here many moons ago and am always a bit nostalgic when I visit. Why you would be nostalgic for a 4 year long hangover I don't know. I have swum the loch in the middle of campus, after the pub. I have slept in these grounds...
The course was a good one with a nice selection of up and downhills and different terrain underfoot. Even though it wasn't particularly slippy I was glad I had good grips on my shoes quite early on.
Peter and I arrived a bit stressed, so arguing. Peter had lost the name tag off his bag and wanted to go and find it. Meantime my last chance to get a good warm up was slipping away and with such a short race it seemed important to get moving a bit beforehand.
Gillian McK came along despite having a marathon (Venice) in a week's time and managed not to pick up any last minute injuries despite falling in a hole on the way round the course! I knew she had run 10 miles the day before so used this to try and keep the faith that I could stay ahead of her but she has been very strong the last couple of Porty training sessions and she made me work for it. Phillipa and Jenni did fine but haven't heard their post-race analysis as I was on media duties immediately my race was over.
Ian Brodie made me and a third of the field laugh shouting "Go on Porty, never mind those HBTs, they're pish!..." as we videoed the start of the men's race. There was a huge and impressive turn out of guys. (The women's race was quite small.) I had stern instructions to then get myself across the other side of the course and put the video cam on a red fire hydrant to film while I took pictures with the camera. As it turns out it wasn't the same red hydrant Peter had intended for me to use, but it did fine. We took way too many pictures and way too much film and are going to have to make a full-length feature film to justify it. I wonder what the plot will be.
Anyway. There was a good turn out of Porty men for this race. Peter twisted his ankle early on but recovered and it doesn't seem too bad now. More seriously, Willie's knee, which has been giving him gyp for some time started really hurting with the hilly nature of the course and at the end he was thinking he'd have to give Jedburgh, Tinto and Templeton Woods a miss. He was sick because apart from his knee he's fit as a fiddle. Douglas Young was unable even to start as a last minute trip to the toilet in the Sports Pavillion turned into disaster. When he got in, 3 minutes before the start of his race, the lock dropped off so he was unable to get out until help finally arrived 20 minutes later. Johnny ran a really even race going past Willie towards the end to come in 2nd Porty. Bert was a good sport about competing on hills and uneven surfaces. I enjoyed standing around in the sun taking photos and soaking up the crisp autumn sunshine.
After I stopped feeling sick after my race I felt amazing and enjoyed the rest of the day. I seem to be making a good recovery from the marathon which is really heartening. My oldest sister is over from South Africa so I had more wine on Saturday night than I've had in a while and I was a bit fragile yesterday morning, but me and P went out a hilly 12 miler and I enjoyed all but the last 2 miles when I was a bit thirsty. My mind is turning to what adventures we can set up for next year. I've got a hankering to do the Lairig Ghru again next year but can't do it if it clashes with the WHW. (I said I'd crew for Richard doing it.) I quite like the sound of the Rome Marathon in March - and its quite cheap which appeals - but I've yet to convince Peter. I also have a growing half notion that I ought to give the Highland Fling another go, but train for it more gently this time...Who knows.