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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Week 1 Training (so far!)

Thankfully the weather has been kind to me this week and I’ve got out for a couple of good 3 mile runs (well jogs really).  These have been with the fabby folks of jogscotland Hazelhead.

This weekend I’m going to be tackling ‘the hill’ at the Royal residence of Balmoral.  Pity Her Majesty won’t be there to cheer us on, but I’ll be more than happy to have a good nose around and admire the scenery on the way round.

I’m doing the 10k run and my training plan requires me to get a 9 mile run in, so looks like I’ll be doing another almost 3 miles before I even start this race.  Not going to be going for any sort of time, just enjoying the run, but for those of you who are interested I’ve only done this race once before in 2012 and my finish time was 1:40:42.

I will be sure to let you all know how it goes.

Just so you can get thinking about what my finish time will be I have completed 3 half marathons.  My times in these were:

EMF Half Marathon 2011 – 3:33:46

Edinburgh Rock N Roll Half Marathon 2012 – 3:40:36

EMF Half Marathon 2012 – 3:40:31

I’ll take all my race stats for you all and try to put them into some sort of order.  I’m looking forward to seeing all the guesses coming through and there will be 2 bottles of champagne being bought.  Only one up for grabs because I reckon I will be most grateful for a bottle once I’ve finished 🙂

More after Balmoral, including some pictures.  Happy reading and running.

The Gauntlet

As if I don’t have enough to think about I’ve been challenged to a bit of a weight loss competition!

I know that if I can shift some of the extra pounds it will make running a lot easier, so it does really make sense, however if it was that easy I’d already be a racing snake 😉

It is going to be tough, but I’m going to give it my best shot, so it looks like you will now be getting updates about my weight as well as my training.  So as not to mortify myself too much, I won’t be giving away my weight, just the total pounds lost each week.

There will be an independent (kind of) adjudicator in the shape of one of my best friends, Shona, who will be monitoring both myself and the gauntlet thrower, who also happens to be her husband Garay.

Thankfully she is fair and neither of us will get away with any nonsense, but there has already been fighting talk.  Garay has already tried to tempt me with cake and wine, but it’s not going to happen.

I’ll be posting training details regularly and give you some of my previous race times, so that you will be able to make a more educated guess if you want to enter the champagne sweepstake.  I’d also like to add that there will be 2 bottles of champagne, however one of them is most definitely for me when I complete the marathon!

First week of training proper and weigh in tomorrow!  Wish me luck because I might well need it!

15 Weeks to Go

Okay, now things are getting very much real.  In 15 weeks, I will already be on my way round the course.  The organisers are being fabulous and encouraging and have allowed an early start for those who either want to walk or those of us who are joggers / slower runners.

This will be great as it means I will hopefully get to finish in amongst people and not at the back of the field as usual.  In saying that it will take me quite a while to get around.  I have decided that we could have some fun with this.  I will be offering up a bottle of champagne for the closest guess to my finishing time.  You of course won’t get something for nothing.  I’m will be charging £1 per guess and all funds raised will be going to the Gathimba Edwards Foundation.

Their website is currently under development however, just for future reference here is the web address:  http://gathimbaedwardsfoundation.org/

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Why?

Yup that is the question I’ve been asking myself.  Why am I doing this?  I guess it is partly the fact that I think I’m a bit crazy, but it is also the fact that I can do something good by putting myself through what I think will probably be a torturous experience.

I have thought long and hard about what charity I would like to raise money for and my inspiration has come from local athlete Myles Edwards who spends a fair bit of his time training in Kenya.  Myles has been supporting The Pavillion Village Children’s Home and has founded the Gathimba Edwards Foundation.  Their aim is to create chances for disadvantaged children in Kenya.

I am not able to have children as I went through premature menopause at the age of 31, so in some small way I guess I can help these kids have a better life.  Until recently they didn’t have a decent mattress to sleep on or electricity.  Here any donation no matter how small does make a practical difference.

So this is why I will be running the Callanish Stones Marathon in the Isle of Lewis on 2nd August 2014.  To help give these kids a chance in life and to prove to myself that I am a runner and I’m a marathoner to boot.

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