Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Race Report
Whilst I feel I really, really, really should be cleaning the house... it's now a good time to discuss the past week (or so) and the hideousness that was The Jedburgh Half.

Time 2.24.27 (my time) 2.24.27 (gun time) - there was no chip timing.

I was delighted by these times as the course was fairly rolling over the first few miles.

Total time at 6 miles was 57.32 - which put me spot-on for a PB, my pacing was really working! I knew it was feeling hard, but I also knew I'd worked solidly in preparation and really should just be able to push through.

Normally I can just about manage to negative split as when I turn around it all comes together and I know that I'm over half way, mentally I find that a great boost.
Here (mile 7) it all went tits-up. The realisation slowly came over me that my legs were sore. The muscles from arse to achilles were all aching. This is not something that had happened before. And just as we turned, and I acknowledged that the elation that normally comes over me at this point is sadly lacking, we were faced with 3 miles of running into a 25-30mph head wind. This began to take the very last of my energy.

From this point on I had to take walking breaks. My legs were just so painful. I desperately wanted to stop but I knew that my friends were waiting in the cold and rain to see me at mile 11. They had got up early (on a desperately needed w/end day) and traipsed through Scotland to be "super supporters". This thought really, really helped. All I wanted, and from now on will carry with me, were some painkillers. If I'd have seen the first aid stop/van I would have flagged them down and begged for anything. Luckily, as I may just have hopped on the van, I never saw them. Definitely a mental note to self to ALWAYS be self reliant in these things. Carry all your own supplies, you never know if what you need/want will be available.

Mile 10 was the worst. Not only because of the wind, but because I really felt like I couldn't finish. I was getting the helpful and supportive comments from both biking marshalls, and all the F**kers who were passing me; people I'd worked so hard to overtake in the first half of the race; people who mentally I had planned to never see again. Whilst I knew they were just being helpful and kind it only made me feel more pathetic and much worse. I wanted to yell at them, "I've done this before; I don't know why it's all gone wrong; I swear I prepared properly!" I just felt like I was being judged as one of the slow fat people at the back who didn't really know what she was doing. I sense this is probably much more a problem in my head than in reality.
All I know is if you've run 10 miles and are in serious pain crying only stops you being able to breathe - so you might as well get your arse in gear and just keep sodding moving.

Now it's not just the fact that it hurts. But normally if a run isn't going well you know it's still only a matter of x minutes until you finish. This run/walk shit meant I didn't even know how long it was going to take me. I couldn't judge and I didn't have any control, which for a self-confessed control freak - was driving me crazy. There was no safe reliance that, "oh well, in 30min this will all be over".

At the end of mile 11 I saw my friends and it did really give me hope. I'd run up the big hill, as walking that would have been a defeat too far. No matter what the hill I try and run up it. Not only does it give me the smallest amount of satisfaction but it also gets the bloody thing over with faster. They were at their loudest and most embarrassing which makes me blush furiously but also makes me think, "those are my friends they are! And they're yelling for me!" Bless their hearts as I manage the weakest of wave/smile combos and put my head down again.

I knew that from that point onwards I only had 2.1 miles of downhill. I mean, 2.1 miles, DOWNHILL, honestly it should have been a big sigh of relief, and just a gentle unwinding of the the legs as they loped onwards.
As you can see from the times. It really wasn't a gentle lope. It was a painful crawl that involved walking at every damn point possible. I don't think I managed to run a full 1/2 mile in a go by this point. Normally the last mile is quite quick for me. Normally I can really push it. Not this time. Not in any way. I kept desperately trying to run but it was just too sore.
1.55 for final .16 of a mile.

So a good 20min slower than I was hoping for I finally finished. The last 7 miles taking me a hideous 1h 27.

I am over this though (despite all evidence). I think I know why it happened which helps: As we went home, via a horrible pub meal (booked my me, to add to my day of shame), I began to feel really bad. The cough which had appeared that morning morphed into flu. (And as a note to TheO who believes what we both had was a 'bad cold' I'll draw your attention to the nhs website... we had ALL the symptoms of flu. Just because we didn't need a doctor does not stop it being flu. Rant over.) I was sick as a dog and much, much more pathetic. Luckily TheO not only stepped-up and looked after me, but she didn't even complain about what a big gayer I was being. She said helpful things like, "Oh I'm sure you feel worse than I felt, you have just run 13 miles" which made me feel a little better... but really, I think it was the kind of flu that just makes anyone feel like shite. Luckily it's almost gone now, just some hideous remnants of cough which make those around me feel like the plague is coming.

Also as we finished our drive I realised I was really, really thirst. Despite a pot of tea and a pint of coke at lunch. I started to sip on my camelbak, the camelbak I had run with; the camelbak I always use and nearly always finish, or nearly finish, during a long run. It was still very, very full. Despite drinking like a fish most of the time there had been something about this race that had stopped me following my usual routine. I think the weather probably didn't help. It was a mixture of hot then really quite cold. The changes stopped any sense of heat build up. Also as I was going more slowly than usual I didn't feel the heat in the same way. But this is not a mistake I'll make again. I don't know how much difference it would have made as I think the 'coming down with something' factor was the biggest influence; but still, I felt like an idiot... I'd caused my own dehydration. Numpty.

Other Stuff:
Now it's been a busy week.
We came back from Jedburgh and had one day before we headed off for TheO's birthday surprise. Now I think she's covered it all v well in her blog. All I'll add is that I am a bit of an idiot and I managed to put myself under too much pressure regarding whether or not she was having a good time. This combined with being still sick as a dog made me a bit tense and crap. Luckily she managed to push through this and have a good time despite me.

The first day of activities was a success - fly fishing (excellent and really, really hard); falconry (bloody amazing and quite unexpectedly brilliant) and carriage driving (bit crap really, horse does it all and you just sit there with the vaguest veneer of control).
Hotel (Monacyle Mhor) was good but lacking in any sense of magic. All was lovely, yet not lovely enough. Very difficult to put my finger on it. Maybe it could never have been as good as I wanted it to be? Ah well. A lovely experience, but not one to rave about. It was a bit marred my not having micro planned enough for the second day. I thought a big long walk, some afternoon tea, a bit of lazing then dinner would do it; but when you both feel like crap that suddenly feels like a terrible idea. So we drove to Loch Lomond and saw some very pretty scenery (Also stopping at an inn to have the worst lunch in Scotland where I was presented with a Baked Potato which was not only hard on the bottom from being mircowaved to death, but came with an enormous pile of chips. I'm Scottish and well used to the concept of a meal composed of starch and starch... but potato and potato was new to me. TheO had a panini where they had made and baked it with lettuce in... lettuce cooked is not a pleasant experience. And this is still nothing compared to the instant coffee topped with squirty cream from a can to make it a 'cappuccino'.). Luckily dinner that night back at the hotel was excellent (albeit with a luke warm main course - AGAIN) and one can always improve your experience with Margaritas. Always.
Our return to reality was a very very sharp shock. We both knew it was coming but we really should have planned more. We had one day to plan, shop, decorate and get food sorted for a party of 14 people. Luckily we're a bit practiced at putting ourselves under that sort of pressure and all got done in the end. The house was spookily decorated for Halloween (the back door may now always look like it's been smeared with the blood of our enemies) and the food was either cooked or chopped accordingly.

The day of the party we went to Glasgow as yet another surprise for TheO. This time it was RF who'd organised it all. We went to the BBC Good Food Show and it was excellent. A full day of looking at, tasting and discussing food was marvellous. As was having a driver for the day who doesn't mind dogs clambering all over her car and curling up on coat.
We got back in fine time to put the last touches on the house, extra thanks go to RF who dealt with my rather harsh delegation style with aplomb. (My style tends to the extremes of, "oh no, don't worry about that, I'll do it" to "do this... not like that, my way!" All I can say is that I'm aware of the shortcomings of this manner of instruction and I'm trying to work on it.!

Despite my naysaying all the guests who arrived really did manage to see the house at its spooky best. And we all enjoyed a very relaxed night with guests, food, fire and eventually a lot of poker by the hardy souls who part-ayed until 3.45am.

So since then I've mostly been curled up in a ball trying to both feel better and just chill out. I've managed to tidy, but the house is still looking a little dusty round the edges. So, the obvious answer is to sit and blog for hours on end. And ignore the hoover for another day.

More importantly yesterday saw my first run since the half. It was just a little 5K in the gym (I'm still desperate not to get too cold and horrible).
5K in 28.48 (all 9.22 or faster per mile) all felt quite comfortable, and I used the aerobic 1 setting, which seems to have become a staple, so there were 3 hills of up to 3% giving a little more variety.

Today I have a slightly tight achillies which has responded well to a tubeygrip (sp?), and my leg muscles hurt just a wee bit. This is full-on pathetic... but it still feels nice to have got the first run out of the way. My minor pain is trying to tell me something. I'm desperately hoping that it's trying to tell me that after years of running so slowly that 'warming up' was desperately unnecessary (my running pace was/is slower than most runners would consider their warm-up pace); maybe now I've finally got under some magic minutes-per-mile pace that now necessitates a bit of warming up before hand. That's the most positive spin I can put on being a bit achy after a 5K. And I'm sticking with it.

And it was the most meditative of runs. I knew after the long runs of the past few weeks it was going to feel short, and it really did; I felt I could just switch off and crank out the miles. Good to know it was the race that sucked, not the running.

But enough waffle from me. Adios.


The Professor said...

1) It SOOOO was the flu that screwed you over. Normal people find getting off the sofa with it hard, so frankly CRAWLING the Half would still have been an achievement 2) Where is "the worst lunch in Scotland" for avoidance purposes? 3)Ah thank god, not just me who goes around with a knot of "you must have a good time, it must be perrrrfect for you" where the OH is concerned 4) I'm sorry, did you really type "what a big gayer I was being"?!? :D That was definitely a ROFL moment.

Seshat said...

Luib Hotel, just off the A85 on the way to Crianlarich. It was, indeed, the worst lunch ever - but there's a funky parrot in the bar!