Up at 6.50am for today's racing challenges. The 75 mile trip to Forfar followed by the Forfar multi-terrain half marathon. We did this one last year with the course in relatively good condition and enjoyed it. It incorporates some good paths and a bit of road, some wooded area, some fairly steep hills, some wicked mud and a - this year especially - good long stretch of thigh deep icy water to wade through.
Lucy was there and Keith Harper so a bit of a Porty presence.
It was drizzly and grey when we arrived and we were a bit tired. The thought of a half marathon was intimidating - and this is a particularly tough one.
The race started on time and we were off. There wasn't much to-ing and fro-ing where I was in the field. A few folk came past after I'd over-cooked the 1st mile or so. I'd promised myself that I wouldn't go out too fast because I'm not really fit for racing a half marathon. I thought I wasn't pushing too hard at the beginning but then did slow considerable anyway. Its a good race and its good fun but I'm a bit frustrated with how slow I am at the moment. My legs felt pretty heavy by half way through and it was more of a grim effort to keep trying my hardest than a joy-ride. There weren't many women around me so I thought on the whole they were probably scarce in the race so I knew there was some chance of a prize even though I wasn't running particularly well.
The highlight was the long wade in the water - I thought to myself it was a pity there wasn't a photographer and then looking around me realised there wasn't anywhere a photographer could stand. They would have needed a boat. It was a scene reminiscent of war movies - maybe a unit on manoeuvres in Vietnam - except cold not hot. Keith Harper was with me at the time and both of us proved to be quite good waders creating a bit of space between ourselves and the runners behind us. Keith recovered quicker than me from this leg-numbing experience however and moved ahead never to be caught. It was a very peculiar sensation running on numb legs. All I could feel was my in-steps for some reason. I felt like I was running on stilts.
I'll gloss over the last few miles anyway. Its a great course but I was in a bit of a grump because I felt so slow but couldn't do anything about it. I had to tell myself it was great training and just try and hang in there.
Peter was already showered and chipper taking photos at the end. He'd run a stormer and come in 5th. He'd hung on to 3rd for a long time but was hunted down, killed and eaten in the last couple of miles. Or something like that. Passed I mean. 3, 4 and 5 all finished in the same minute. Lucy was 1st lady and had also set a course record.
Peter got a prize for 2nd MV and I lucked the 2nd LV. We both got £15 worth of Sweatshop vouchers so more than recouped our £5 entry fee. Add to that free soup and rolls and tea and cakes and you can see we'd have been fools to stay in bed this morning.
Whilst eating cake and waiting for the prize-giving we were sat with ultra stars Richie Cunningham and Lucy C and I was pleased to see them also both tired and hungry! The thought of running 4 half marathons back to back and a little bit more in April is...quite a thought...
So we are now enjoying some more of our winning beer from yesterday and not bothering to contemplate the week ahead. It turns out I left all my running kit in the changing room so we've been on the phone grovelling to the Forfar organisers. Its so not something I would normally do! Oh well. The thought of someone else having to handle my race kit is setting my teeth on edge.
I have Monday and Tuesday off. Which is lovely. No running tomorrow and then we're reluctantly thinking we better go and do something awfullly long on Tuesday. Only slightly ameliorated by the fact that I've ordered some fudge on line after a tip-off from a blog reader. I am particularly looking forwards to black forest fudge which is chocolate and cherry flavour. Mmmmm. Hope it arrives tomorrow. I will tell you about it.