To Hill and Back

Well that’s what it said on the back of this years Stena Drilling Balmoral 10k.  Unfortunately it was pretty accurate as far as I was concerned.

For some reason I got extremely nervous as the race approached.  I’d been there early to watch the school children which was fantastic.  They are all so enthusiastic and the little ones were very cute.

The conditions in the morning had been great for me.  Cool and misty but as the day wore on it started to get brighter and warmer.  Soon the 5k folks were off and all of my friends did fantastically well.  There was some very speedy running 🙂

Soon it was time to line up for the 10k.  Well the sun had come out and that is pretty much a disaster for me.  I don’t do well in the heat.  I get dehydrated easily so I was not looking forward to the race and of course the nerves were getting worse and all I wanted was to find a bathroom.  Thankfully with 10 minutes to spare till the start I’d managed to find a loo and was going through the crowd, trying my best to get to the back of the pack.

Memories of being followed by the sweeper car and ambulance the last time I did this race in 2012 were flooding back.  I was determined not to let that happen this year, but I didn’t feel great.

To my horror not long after we started along the beautiful route, I felt sick.  I’d eaten around 1200 as our race did not start till 1400, but I’d had chips and cheese, which turned out to be a very, very big mistake.  One which I’ll make sure I remember not to repeat in the future.

After said food and been evacuated from my body, I felt a touch better, but then turned to face the hill.  I’d decided to walk it.  I struggle with hills anyway, but actually this year I didn’t quite find it so difficult.  Things were looking up as the pipers (2 this year) were still playing by the time I got to the top.  I had forgotten how far the water stop was though, so by the time I got to it I was gasping for a drink so I drank what I could manage and used some of the rest of the water to wash my face and hands.  It was then I realised I’d lost a lot of salts.  This never bodes well for me.

I started to pick up the pace on the downhill (ie start jogging again) and my right thigh muscle felt spongy, so I slowed down again to a walk until it passed.  Then tried to pick up the pace again, but this time I knew I was going to have trouble with my left calf.  It didn’t feel right and it cramped badly the last time I did this race.

I was reduced to jogging where I could and power walking the rest.  Got passed 9k and started to try to pick up the pace again, but no, my calf was not having any of it.  Tried to stretch it out, but it was still grumpy and at one point you could see the muscle moving around so much as it was trying to cramp up that it looked like my leg was talking to me!  Scary and weird all at the same time.

I resorted to a kind of hobble, walk, jog thing to get over the line.

It wasn’t all bad though.  I’d met a lovely lady called Liz whom I had encouraged and helped up the hill.  She was determined to get me over the line and that she did.

Although it was not a good race for me, it did remind me why I do this.  It is for the camaraderie and friendship that is found amongst strangers who have a common goal.

I know she probably won’t see this, but thanks Liz.  I couldn’t have done it without you. xxx

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