Time (gun): 54:44 [Results here]
Medal: No, but we got a t-shirt, small goody bag, and delicious soup afterwards.
After a beautiful New Year’s Day, I was looking forward to the first race of the year, but when I woke up on the morning of the 2nd, it was to the sounds of rain lashing against my bedroom window. Although the weather forecast said the rain would clear by lunchtime, I was not optimistic.
I got up, had breakfast, got changed, and dumped a dry set of clothes in my rucksack, and played some mahjong on my laptop until 9:30, when Ishbel picked my up, with Teri already in the car. The rain had gone off, but it was still very gloomy outside.
We arrived in Lumphanan with plenty of time, picked up our race numbers, and then wondered what to do for the next hour and a half. The newsagent across the road from the hall was closed, but there was a small tea room open, so we decided to hit that up for some tea (Ishbel) and hot chocolate (Teri and I). It was a cute tearoom, but it was just one older lady making the drinks, and I am going to go ahead and assume she was not accustomed to the volume of people who were wanting hot drinks that morning! Eventually we got our drinks, and found a seat:
About 20 minutes before the start, we took advantage of the tea room’s bathroom (but I did not purge what I wanted to purge, out of respect for the rest of the customers in the small cafe – a mistake, as it turns out), then headed back to Ishbel’s car to reluctantly remove our warmer layers:
It was around this time that Teri noticed the firemen in full uniform. She was extremely vocal about how much she appreciated a man in uniform, and all complaints about an uphill 2k at the start ceased. Everyone seemed to be migrating towards the start, so we followed, running into several people we know along the way. Mid-chatting, we all commented when the sun blasted through the clouds and blue skies appeared overhead. Then, without any warning (that we could hear) the horn went off and the crowd started moving forward.
Within about 50 paces, we were on a steady incline. From the drive in, we knew we had to endure this until the 2k marker, so spirits were not particularly high. Ishbel stormed ahead, and Teri and I stuck together. I didn’t bother looking at my heart rate. Or my pace. Or the distance. Or, in fact, my Garmin at all. For the whole race. The uphill start was kind of draining, but it actually passed a lot faster than I was expecting, and then came the beautiful downhills. Or so I thought.
From about 3k, my guts were in agony. Several times I felt the onset of a stitch that never materialized, and I felt like my sphincter got a better workout than my legs. Still, I pressed on because, well, it’s shameful to waste downhill sections. And there were quite a few to come:
For the most part, the course was on the roads, but at about 7k we were directed onto a very muddy farm track. No amount of careful footing was going to save my feet from getting cold and wet, and I’m told that every year this section is either very muddy, or very icy. I was happy with the mud, though a good portion of this was uphill, which was unpleasant.
As soon as we were back on the roads there was a definite feeling that everyone was speeding up to finish. Teri started pressing on ahead, then waiting for my grimacing, upset-stomach to catch up. She was very excited about the soup. After 9k I started smiling. When the finish came into view, running became effortless (what the fuck, legs?). And then it was over.
Ishbel was waiting for us at the finish, and we decided to wait and cheer some people we know in, while Teri aggressively searched out the soup. When we eventually made our way to the soup hall (spicy lentil was delicious), Teri was already on coffee and biscuits, and talking about all the food she was going to eat later. This woman’s stomach is a bottomless pit, only confirmed by tales on the journey home of her SEVEN course New Year’s Eve dinner.
Before we set off, we decided to get a group shot of us in our race shirts, only to discover that the sizing was ridiculous. These have to be the snuggest race shirts I have ever encountered. I was wearing a large, apparently:
Teri is not in this picture as she refused to put on her ‘medium’, instead going back and trying to exchange it for a ‘large’. Amazingly, she got one! And then we set off home, in the sunshine, up the hill we had started the race on:
Race one of 2013 – done!