After feeling so ragged and run down the day before I was quite apprehensive about how I was going to feel when I woke up on Sunday morning. Fortunately I seemed to have perked up a bit but I still felt very groggy; I forced down some coffee and nuun and made myself eat a bowl of porridge. At 7am when I got up it was dry but overcast – I optimistically picked the following outfit:
Naomi was coming to mine at 8am and we were being picked up by two friends from Fetch, Louise and Jamie, shortly afterwards. By the time 8am rolled around the rain was on, and it got heavier and heavier as we headed South…
We arrived at the Sports Centre in plenty of time at around 10am and shivered our way from the car to the entrance in pouring rain and sleet. It was cold, windy rain as well; the absolute worst weather to run in. Give me -10C, a foot of snow, summer deluges…anything but typically wet, windy, North East winter with rain that cuts right through you.
It was a fairly standard number pick up, we met up with the rest of the Fetch gang and all partook in our pre-race rituals: pin number on, banana, stretch, queue for toilet, jelly beans, water, queue for toilet…etc etc.
Here’s most of us: L-R LouC, RedWineRunner, crooked-smile, TorryQuine, TikkiSue, MotherDuck, Maz and mrs shanksi. Picture courtesy of TheDuckinator. We were down a couple of ladies due to last minute injuries but all in all it was a pretty good FetchFest.
On the drive down I’d been contemplating whether I wanted to race the event or stick with Maz who was being paced by mrs shanksi to her goal of sub 1:45. I knew pacing Maz was the better plan but given the nasty weather I was having second thoughts – I didn’t want to be out there any longer than I had to! It was a frustrating choice as I know I’ve got a good PB in my legs for that distance but now is just not the time for it.
Around 11 we were called up to the starting line and we made our way outside where miraculously – it had stopped raining! It was chilly but much less windy – suddenly the day became a great day for running, but I insisted that Maz and Vicki (mrs shanksi) forbade me from taking off at any point.
The start was fairly underwhelming – 300-odd women chatting away meant that any form of race briefing was lost in the furore and suddenly there was an air horn. What? Oh, we’re off!
The race wound out of town on roads which were still open to traffic, but there were few cars around anyway. Everyone stuck to the left hand carriageway and cars passed slowly on the right. There were quite a few people on bikes riding around for the first mile or two and some bystanders and dog walkers every now and then who were patiently waiting for the stream of neon and lycra to pass. We set out at a conservative 10:30 pace which was Maz’s goal to maintain for the whole race.
Vicki and I were chatting away and Maz joined in every so often but seemed to be mainly focusing on saving energy for her race. After about 2 miles the race had really spread out as we made our way along the ‘undulating’ road. There was a water stop at mile 2.5 which we walked though before we tackled the first big hill.
It was quite a steep hill but Maz really plugged in and powered up it. The course was uphill until about mile 4.5 where we reached a further water stop manned by TorryQuine. Running with friends really makes the miles slip by – before I knew it we were at half way and all I’d done was yap away to Vicki constantly and look at the scenery. It was quite a different race experience from usual!
Maz got a couple of stitches which she pushed through diligently and kept on trucking regardless. We were making great time and it wasn’t long before we’d completed the ‘lollipop’ part of the course and were back at the first water stop which meant we were now at 7.5 miles. A couple of marshalls took this opportunity to tell us that if we were talking then we obviously weren’t working hard enough… Maz was working damn hard at this point so I don’t know how she was supposed to take that comment as the sweat dripped from her brow!
There was another slow incline before we crested the last hill and Arbroath came back in to view. Maz said she was ready to dig deep and she picked up the pace a little as we headed for home. The town was tantalisingly close but so far – I imagine that if i’d been racing that this mile would have gone on painfully long.
We were directed around the side of the Sports Centre and on to a rather muddy slope to the finish. I wonder how many people careered around this corner and skidded onto their backsides?! If you were going full pelt it would have been pretty risky I think. We crossed the finish line together well under our target time and finished in 1hr 42m 5 seconds.
We were handed a goody bag and met up with the rest of the girls – there were great PBs all around from most and Mother Duck flew home to take 3rd place overall and first Veteran, with an amazing time of 1:04’47.
Here she is getting her prize.
The Sports Hall had huge trestle tables of food laid out so I filled up a plate of pastries and cakes. I felt a bit guilty though as I hadn’t put a big effort in – I didn’t really feel like I earned it.
In the goody bag was a banana, water, a twix, a can of deodorant (what were they trying to say?!) a commemorative tshirt (design above) and a mini bottle of wine. Again, no medal! There’s nothing quite like getting a medal for finishing a race – I’d much rather have a medal than a tshirt. I got a bottle of rose but thankfully I managed to find someone to swap with me for something far more appropriate for me…
All in all it was a great day out running with friends. I would have like to run it hard and PB but that can wait until next year. I stored all my racing energy and will release it next Saturday when I find myself on a starting line once more…