Time: 2:09:52 [Results here]
Medal: No, but ‘back by popular demand’ was the Glen Clova 1/2 mug!
Ronnie, Susan, and I were the only ones we knew who had managed to secure a place for this race. Entries opened, and all 350 spaces were snapped up before the end of the day (Susan managing to bag space 349!). Although all three of us had had a less than stellar week (Susan: exhausted, Ronnie: swollen leg, me: limping on sore foot), the forecast of clear skies and no wind, coupled with the fact that we missed out on this race last year, meant that we were committed to finishing, even if it meant walking over the line.
Susan and I were picked up outside my flat at 9:30, and we began the scenic drive towards the Glen Clova hotel and community hall, where registration, the start, and the finish were. Although mildly alarmed by the temperature reading from Ronnie’s car (-1) and clear evidence of frozen things outside, we were hopeful that the sun would melt anything too treacherous/heat the place up a bit before the race start at 12.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by an array of club vests (translation: fast people), and felt a bit out of our depth when during registration as we listened to people telling their friends they would “take it easy today with a 7 minute mile pace.” Susan and I agreed on a more modest 10 minute mile pace to jog along to, and left our music in Ronnie’s car.
About 10 minutes before the start, we emerged from the warm comforts of Ronnie’s car and made our way to the start, making ourselves comfortable near the back. It’s not a chip-timed race, but quite frankly we were all just keen to get around in one piece. The views in the valley were stunning, but I couldn’t help noticing a rectangular patch of trees which I referred to as the ‘Hollywood strip’, for reasons I doubt I have to explain. I forgot to take a photo, but got one at a crappier angle as we drove home:
The starting horn went, and there was a mad rush of vested runners eager to get on their way. It was kind of a relief that the three of us had decided to stick together, but as usual, Ronnie was picking up the pace (my Garmin was saying 8:xx minute miles at the beginning there), so Susan and I let him drift ahead, while I stopped at the top of a hill to readjust my sock, which was uncomfortably bunched up under the sole of my right foot.
Don’t let the sunshine in the pictures fool you; it was cold. After having such a freakishly nice summer, it was a bit of a shock to the system breathing in icy gulps of air and running on stiff, unresponsive feet. Frost does make things very pretty, however, so we opted to stop again (yes, I stopped twice in 2 miles, I was taking the ‘easy’ bit very seriously) to photograph some nature and stuff: The first 6 miles seemed to take forever, despite quality company in the form of Susan, and it was full of undulations; no major hills that made you swear under your breath, but enough to be a bit of a struggle. A woman who had run the course before assured us that the way back was much nicer. She did not lie.
At about mile 7, Susan and I were both feeling tired, but enjoying the race. The miles started ticking by more quickly, and in my opinion, the views are nicer on the way back (bigger hills in the distance). We even managed to spot some para-gliders coming off the hills ahead of us!
Around mile 8, out of some shrubbery to our right, popped Ronnie, who had been relieving himself (or burrowing a hole for warmth, who knows, it was freezing). He said he was enjoying the race, and that he felt good, but he was starting to tire. We slowly pulled away, but he managed to stay about 30 seconds behind us for the remainder of the race.
From about 10 miles, Susan and I were both pretty fatigued. The course became a bit more undulating here, and we felt no shame in walking the inclines to save enough energy to look as though we were comfortable in front of the spectators at the end. I mean, that’s important stuff there. We crossed the line together in just under 2:10, and we were pleased enough with that. Ronnie came in shortly afterwards, and we headed into the Glen Clova Hotel for some warmth, and to my delight, hot lentil soup and bread rolls!
Keen to get home before sunset (about 4:15 in Scotland this time of year – I know, it’s gross), we bundled into the car to finish our soup:
We only slowed at one point, so that I could snap a photo for two reasons:
1. mildy amusing place-name
Today (Sunday), my foot is feeling a little tender, but I’m not limping like I have been for most of the past week, which annoyingly has meant a slight setback for my “get back into better shape” plan. Hopefully, though, I’m back on track from this weekend after a half marathon, and an 8 mile recovery run on the trails today.