Sunday, 20 November 2011
Borders XC - Dunbar Leg
I was busy dreaming when the alarm went off this morning and I did briefly think that maybe this was a race too far. Two early starts at the weekend seems an awful lot and I have to be up at 6 tomorrow to go out and do me some community nursing. It was a shame for me and I wanted to stay in bed. However...
I got up and slowly some of the confusion cleared out of my brain. I'd been at a party. Well I didn't know if it was a party,. It might have been living in some kind of a village - but up a hill at the same time. I had to do acrobatics to get from one part of my house to the other....phew! Better off up!
And it was a nice morning. One thing followed another and soon we were setting off for Dunbar, picking up young Ally Robertson of Lothian RC en route. I was still feeling quite sleepy so didn't contribute much to the conversation, but had I wanted to I don't think I could have slid a word in sideways as post-race analysis of the whole year and particularly Tinto proceeded between Peter and Ally. My only contribution was that I was nice and fat for this race. Peter said that was good, I'd be able to glide over the beach like a Pugsley bike.
There was a good Portobello turn out; Amanda Henderson coming along and running at last despite being a bit anaemic, also Graham Henry and Kathy Henley cycled there, new father James Harrison was there and Andrew Stavert and Tess. Sadly, Michael G. had to pull out with a dicky knee having done the Tour of Pendle yesterday and made it worse. It was a damn shame not to see Michael but it was nice not to be rushing off to Livingston to do the XC there straight after Dunbar. The weather was pretty balmy and it was lovely standing around talking after the race. But I am getting ahead of myself...
We set off, as last year, along the beach but seemed to go a bit further than last year, if memory serves. I swear I thought I heard the evil laughter of Baron Von Stuart Hay as we ran onto bizarre pitted rock formations covered with green slime, separated by rock-pools. The terrain was causing some consternation in those around me so I counselled myself to "keep the heed", which was good advice. It was a truly unique running surface. Then we turned around onto a boulder path with an option of sea-weed on the side. (Keep your mouth shut if you can - lots of flies) and then back onto the beach. Along the beach was fine and then up and onto some more hilly terrain where I felt more at home. I got a bit stuck behind some others who were feeling a bit less keen round the lime-kilns and had to decide whether to chill and take a breather or to launch myself into the thick clumpy stuff at the side of the path, overtake and nail my colours to the mast. I did the latter. After making such a fuss the pressure was on!
The course opened out after this onto some very nice running on grassy paths with just the odd brick to be avoided - out to the lighthouse and beyond. Then back down onto the beach and trying to take the best line possible. I think I caught up to a few people here. I was wheezing away terribly but I was enjoying myself. I'm not at all used to trying to push so hard and I'm enjoying it. Pretty soon we were back up off the beach and then fairly soon turned around.
I found the 2nd half of the course much more interesting this year. For last year's race I remember watching the lighthouse desperately to see if I was getting any nearer to it and feeling it was retreating into the distance as I ran towards it. This time there was no gazing into the distance. The course was filled with interesting little twists and turns, hummocky grassy stuff, a couple of sharp hills. There were a few people ahead of me who I was slowly but surely gaining on and I felt I had it in me to take them. One Carnethy-vested back, I realised, was that of Jonathon Whitehead, with whom I have previous from the Tour of Fife. I nearly came a cropper trying to overtake on the right, turning over my ankle and ending up on my knees just before the water-jump, letting out a loud sweary word and then apologising and then doing almost exactly the same thing moments later, this time trying to overtake on the left, turning the other ankle, swearing, apologising...Jonathon just let me past after that. Both ankles recovered quickly and I still felt I could gain a couple of places so I flung as much effort as I could into the last wee bit. And I did. It was an exciting way to run.
I was, of course, last Porty - the rest of them were all standing around bored, smoking cigars and chatting as I crossed the line. But in my head I'd run a good race.
Standing around talking to runners after a race is dangerous and I think we may have signed up for a few extra days running over the Xmas season - products of the unlimited mind of ultra-man Graham Henry. God Help us.
We are now also the proud owners of Dunbar Running Club buffs which may well help us navigate ourselves out of a tight spot some day as they have maps of Dunbar and the surrounding area on them.
Thanks Dunbar Running Club for a great day out!