Sorry folks for the delay in getting this blog up. My blogging friends have already beat me to it!
The past couple of weeks running wise have been simply amazing.
Health wise, in the background there have been several things going on. I’m pretty sure I have touched on them previously, so I won’t go into too much detail. It would however appear that after many years, my asthma is finally under control 🙂 I had just got this sorted out when I was given the news that I now suffer from Type 2 Diabetes. This was really upsetting for a start, but as I have no alternative but to live with it, I have managed to turn things around and look at it in a much more positive light. I now have an opportunity to turn things around. I’ve struggled with my weight for years and this is the kick up the backside that I needed to get a grip. I have a very understanding doctor whom I see for diabetic appointments and she was happy to put me on to medication to try to help me with the weight loss. The best news of all is that it is working. I’ve lost about a pound per week totaling almost 7 pounds so far, which brings me to the lightest weight I’ve been in years. This has helped my running immensely.
Okay, so it looks like I wrote a bit more than I intended to on the health stuff, so let’s get on with the running.
On a miserable Sunday morning (8th November), Shona (shondo) picked me up along with Diane (Lip Gloss) and we headed to Peterhead for their annual 10k race. I’ve not done much running really since Loch Ness, so this was really just a chance for me to build up some mileage as I needed to build up again for the following week and Fraserburgh Half Marathon.
It was cold, it was windy. I had elected to pop on a base layer and just a t-shirt. Not sure if that was the wisest decision ever, but I knew I would warm up once I got underway. There was a massive contingent there from our award winning jogscotland Hazlehead group.
There was a walk to the start, which constituted my warm up, and it was a lovely excuse to just chat to everyone before we set off. I was starting at the back because I was just looking to have a plod and finish fairly strongly. After the customary countdown, we were off. The wind was pretty nasty and the route is undulating, and for the first half the wind was pretty much in our faces, which makes running uphill even more fun. I just tootled along, walking where I needed to and chatting to other runners.
I had a drink at the water station, and was quite happy chatting to marshals, but I kept thinking that I could see the orange of one of my fellow jogscotties up ahead. I’m not normally that close behind her, so I just kept making sure I could keep her in my sights. The route is quite nice like that and I could see a trail of orange snaking its way along the course 🙂
We did finally get the benefit of the wind behind us, but that was negated by the fact that it started to rain (or even hail) and the sky was pretty dark, but still I plodded on. Was quite stunned when I reached 9k that I still something left in the tank but not having run the course before I had no idea where the finish was, as I got closer I asked a marshal and it turned out that I was pretty close to the finish.
As I spied the finish, or more accurately was told where the finish was, I looked at my Garmin in disbelief. I was on for a PB, so there was nothing else I could do but go for it. I sprinted for the finish and crossed the line in 1:19:11 taking around 1 minute 30 seconds off my PB. To say I was delighted was an understatement. I was met at the finish by some of the jogscotland crew and we started the trek back up to the pavilion to find tables of food and a hot cuppa 🙂 Following partaking of the refreshments and the prize giving and raffle, we headed home. I don’t think I stopped smiling all the way. It had been a good day out if a little on the cold side!
Fast forward to last Saturday. It was Claudia’s (Claudinha) birthday and 100th parkrun, so I ditched my usual Hazlehead course for the flatter but more exposed course at Aberdeen beach. It was sunny and didn’t look too windy, although I know this can be very deceiving.
Once we were underway I had just decided to run to feel. Wasn’t paying too much attention to my Garmin, but was keeping a bit of an eye on it. Started nice and relaxed since the first part is uphill and then just settled into a comfortable pace. I was encouraged to find that I was passing people, which is something I haven’t really managed to do of late, so I just kept going and I was pretty much enjoying myself. There was a bit of wind on the top prom, but I knew that on that this would be behind me on the way back. I got to the turn in a decent time. I was starting to tire, but no longer having the wind in my face helped quite considerably and I pushed on. Before I knew it my Garmin was signalling 2 miles and I was running well, fast even for me. I still felt pretty comfortable though, so pushed on. I kept catching up to one gentleman who was doing a walk/run strategy and each time I thought I would get past him, he would run again, so I just tried to keep as close as I could to him. Soon enough I was at the standing stones and the wind was starting to get knocked out of my sails. I wondered if I could get away with having a few steps walking, but figured that it would soon be over, so I should really push on. As I got closer to the finish line, I heard people behind me and almost descended into panic thinking that some of the people I had passed earlier had caught up, but it turned out to be non parkrunners, which was a big relief. The finish line was in sight, but I was now really tired, did my best to go as fast as I could and crossed the line in 36:30, which just happened to be another PB, this time taking 27 seconds off my previous time.
This left me pondering a little as I was running Fraserburgh Half the following day. This is a race that I had a score to settle with. It is the only race I have ever pulled out of because my head just wasn’t in the right place. I remember phoning my hubby in tears just before I pulled out. This was personal. There were demons to slay.
The forecast was marginally better than it had been for Peterhead, so this time I drove and picked up Shona (shondo) and we headed up to the Broch. Got their nice and early so managed to get a parking space near to registration. This year, anyone who thought they would take over 2 hours 30 minutes had the option of an early start. I opted for this since my PB is over 3 hours. There wasn’t too much messing about so, soon the first small wave of us were underway. Pretty much from the start I was at the back of the pack.
I had an escort for the first 4 miles as one of the local club runners made sure we all went the right way which was great. Took me a while to get into my stride. Wasn’t at all sure of what was going to happen, but I just kept plodding on. Took a couple of walk breaks on the upward sections when I needed to but all in all I kept going. This was the first time I hadn’t taken any water with me, but I had gels and salts. I stopped at the water stations to make sure I got some fluids into me and I was soon leaving my companion and heading onward.
Again I had a fellow jogscotty in front of me, this time in the shape of Tony. I figured if I could keep him in my sight I’d be doing okay. Eventually I got to 6 miles and shortly after the course heads off on to the old Formartine and Buchan way, which follows the course of the old railway line. This section is trail and was in surprisingly good condition considering it had been raining. There was a light drizzle in the air but that was keeping me from overheating. I was surprised that the leader from the main wave had not yet caught up with me, so I took the opportunity to answer a call of nature. Just as well that I did as less than half a mile further down the leader came past. I just continued on my way.
I got some lovely encouragement from the faster runners as they went past which was lovely and although I was starting to get tired I was in good spirits. I was however starting to get tired once we were on our way back towards the town, although I still managed to grin like an idiot for the photographer 🙂
As I got closer and closer to the main road I was becoming more and more tired. I was having to take regular walk breaks and just could not seem to keep going for very long, however I knew that there was not far to go and I was still getting lots of encouragement from other runners and especially the jogscotland crew. I also still had Tony in my sights, so just did my best to focus and get on with it.
By mile 11 things were starting to unravel a little more and I started to get cramp in my right calf. I took some salts hoping they would alleviate the problem, but the relief was short lived. Still I managed to push onwards, but my mile 12 both calves were now cramping up.
The final sting in the tail for this race is that the last mile is round the town and you are tantilisingly close to the finish line. You can even see it, but you head in the opposite direction to begin with. This was by far the most painful mile. I walked as fast as I could and ran when the cramp allowed. As the minutes were slipping away, I knew I could still get a PB but my chances of my first sub 3 hour half were looking doubtful. Soon my friends were in sight and I was almost there.
I mustered as much as I could and run/hobbled across the line to see my Garmin still reading under 3 hours. I immediately burst into tears.
My official time was 2:58:53, taking around 13 minutes off my previous best. I was in a heck of a lot of pain, but stayed around to shout more friends in before getting into some warm clothes and heading for the legendary post race feast.
Then it was time for another grinning journey all the way home. I still can’t quite believe it and I hope that improvements will continue as I shed more weight. I think perhaps the best is yet to come 🙂