(Work) life is very uncertain at the moment and I'm up and down about it. One minute its fine and exciting - working on the nurse bank is an adventure and I'm enjoying myself. The next moment my worst fears (well not quite worst) are being realised and I'm being sent to a male dementia ward where one of my roles will be to prevent any fights. The men don't know me so they're not sure of me and I don't know them. Some of them reach out and touch me and others lift their fists! Its not their fault that I'm scared of them but I am. I rely on talking and we can't talk about it. Somehow I get through the shift without running away or getting hit. (I want to say its not these men's faults I'm scared of them - its just I can't read them - don't know what they need.) I spend the last hour of my shift playing football ( in the loosest sense - I mean kicking a football to and fro) in the rain in the garden with one chap. Others get jealous and start to compete for the ball. It shows how deep jealousy and rivalry goes. I feel better because I've got something to do and something to concentrate on and I think its the same for the guy I'm playing football with...
So I'm asking myself - why did I leave my job? - which was driving me crazy but I knew - to move out into this uncertainty where there's no guarantee of work, I don't have control over where I go, I can't have sick pay, don't get annual leave. (And now because of the change of government there are no jobs.)
Then today I go and do Largo Law Hill Race and I remember why I was so sure I wanted to leave. I wanted to be free to race at the weekends whenever I wanted. I wanted to stop missing out on the stuff I really like! And then I felt good about my decision again. It'll work out somehow...
Peter has been raving about Largo Law Hill Race since he 1st did it in 2007. I thought I wouldn't do it because my left knee's been a wee bit dodgy since the Twisted Chicken Run on the last day of the Tour of Fife. I went for a run round Arthur's Seat yesterday though and my knee wasn't too bad so I changed my mind and opted for doing it too. Just as long as we had a nice long warm up...
We didn't have a nice long warm up because we both slept in really late. Late enough so getting to a race for 3pm made us hurry! We had 10 minutes to spare by the time we were registered and ready to run so I warmed up by running up the steep hill from the Crusoe Hotel to the start.
The race. Great fun! Up a short, steep bit of road and then left onto a path that takes you to the 1st stream crossing - then up and undulating through the muddy path in the woods to the 2nd stream crossing - then climbing a bit more, through fields, through a farmyard, and up to the foot of Largo Law proper. Stiff climb with hands on knees. It was very humid and the sweat was lashing off all us competitors. I was feeling fine though and I was enjoying it. It was such a relief to straighten out my back at the first summit and then it was only another short climb to the second summit. Round the cairn at the top and for a split second beautiful views of the Forth and the fields spread out below.
I had passed Jennifer Cruickshanks near the top of the hill and she passed me again shortly after. Being an Anster Haddie I reckoned she probably knew the best way down the hill so followed her as best I could. This is not my forte. What's the opposite of forte? Piano! But that doesn't make any sense. Bit crap at the downhills is what I'm trying to say - but I kept her in sight and tried to follow her line. Not too many people overtook me so I was happy with that and mercifully soon we were off the hill again. I was very aware of a female in a white t-shirt very close behind me and I'd kind of set my heart on keeping her behind me, so I kept the pressure up as best I could. At a corner someone gave Jennifer a bottle of water - which she then offered to me - I had to catch up to her to get it - and apologised - but it was very welcome, it was mighty hot out there. The woman behind me said "Can I have it next?" so I gave it to her and then tried to move off as fast as I could. "Do you want it back?" she said. "No thanks" I must have mumbled as she then said, "DO YOU WANT IT BACK?" "NO THANKS!" I responded and tried to lift the pace again. It was only after this it occurred to me that JC might not have been giving me the water for keeps. Aaaah. Nothing I could do now anyway. We all pressed on, me behind JC, other lady behind me - then Jennifer moved past a man in a yellow vest and I did too and there was a little distance between us and her behind.
Jennifer was setting a good pace that was hard but was helping me get my breathing back under control as I'd got myself a bit steamed up trying to escape the lady in white. I stayed with her for quite a while and then on the ups she had to slow to a walk for a chap in yellow walking up the muddy bank. (We were now back under the trees.) There was a small gap so I ran through saying "Come on Jennifer" - she had watered me and paced me and I didn't have any intention now of trying to beat her, then I think she was just behind me for a while. I had a few near misses on the sloping muddy path at the side of the river and let out a rather high-pitched shriek just before the 4th and last stream crossing. There was no-one close behind so I legged it as best I could and the path back to the road and then the road all seemed shorter than I'd anticipated. I belted down the road in an undignified way with my belly showing as my vest kept riding up but I was beyond caring. Then, the best bottle of water ever!
Had a chat with Paul Eunson who was there and had already finished for a while and soon Peter came back from taking photos and we set off down the road to claim our free pints at the Crusoe Hotel. (Part of the package - a pint of Tennents or of Belhaven Best in return for your race number). I sadly had to go for soda and lime as I was driving but Peter was straight in there! and then in for another.
We were enjoying the lovely sunny weather and already in great form and then at the prize-giving I got the 1st FV40 prize as 2nd and 3rd ladies were also vets. I love it when they work things out that way! So for my £5 entry fee I got (and I know, its not all about getting, but its nice when it happens!) a race, a pint of beer, a bottle of water, a bottle of rose wine and a big box of chocolates.
Nice to see so many familiar faces of Fifers and hill runners.
Highly recommended 6.8 miles!