It’s already April and I’ve only just been able to take part in my first running race of 2018!
I finished the 13.1km route with a 100m sprint, 2 sore toes, and my heart racing with elation… but let’s start at the beginning.
I was apprehensive to begin with- the last two days were super busy in the pub, and, running around like a madwoman trying to serve as many pints of lager as possible left me with very painful calves and a sore knee. But, I hate to not even try, so I decided the best thing to do would be to go along and try it out, and, if it really hurt too much, I’d stop…or jog instead…or walk.
To be honest with you, I would have finished the course in any way I could because I not only don’t like to not try, I despise having to give something up halfway through- trust me, the amount of books I’ve not liked but read to the end anyway so as to not leave them unfinished is ridiculous.
So, up bright and early this morning, and Mr OneBigStressball woke with me- kudos to him for that as well, no one likes to get up early on a Sunday morning do they?
Porridge eaten, we made our way along to the car (it’s just over a 10 minute walk, so to me, it was a perfect warmup for my wee legs after being asleep), but not before I dilly-dallied for ages until the last possible second before actually getting changed and putting my shoes on.
I don’t function all too quickly in the mornings.
We got to the car… and there was a situation. The battery had run out. Unfortunately we had forgotten to unplug the TomTom after using it last, and the battery drained during the time it wasn’t in use. Shit.
By this time, because I had wasted so much time in the house (oops) I had half an hour to get to the start of the race, which was a 20 minute drive away.
Uber to the rescue it was then!
Poor Mr OneBigStressball had to walk on home, while I jumped into an Uber and told him to go as quickly as legally possible so that I wouldn’t miss the start time.
Thank goodness it was a Sunday morning, which meant traffic was virtually non-existent, so we got to Ocean Terminal in Leith, Edinburgh, with 8 minutes to spare. 8 minutes. Just enough time to quickly run to the loo, stretch the calf muscles and get to my starting pen.
I was there literally 30 seconds before the starting gun went off.
And I was off!
My legs felt surprisingly good to begin with, the first 6 kilometres went by quite quickly, but then again, that usually happens on runs, right? With the snow and the rain over the last few days in Edinburgh, I was worried about having to deal with the skies opening up again, but, as it turns out, it was a beautiful day, and the sun was shining the whole time!
The route itself was one of the flattest I’ve ever run, so there weren’t any mad hills to run up, which made the whole thing a lot more manageable, but, as I inched around the corner to kilometre number 8, my knee started to twinge and my calf started to feel very tight.
I didn’t want to wreck the momentum I’d had going, and reminded myself I only had 5km left to go, barely 25 minutes and I’d be crossing the finishing line, so I kept going, step by step, and slowed the pace a tiny bit so that I wouldn’t wear myself out.
As I got to the eleventh kilometre, I saw Murrayfield Rugby Stadium, and I knew I could make it. I saw the people doing the 6km race go for their home stretch, and sped up a bit.
Sun shining on my face, I felt blissfully euphoric.
The ground was rushing beneath me, the pain in my leg was doing nothing but spurring me on… and I was really hungry, so I was looking forward to the ever-approaching prospect of breakfast.
And there it was. The entrance to the stadium. The last 100m.
I gunned it.
I didn’t think about anything else but the finish line, and barely recognised the blurs of other runners as I sprinted by them.
And I was finally done!
I slowed to a jog, and looked up, and spotted Mr OneBigStressball in the crowd, waving at me.
It was the first time I’ve ever had someone wait for me at the finish line and I was so overcome with emotion. Nothing can quite describe the joy you feel when you have a loved one welcoming you with open arms after you’ve pushed yourself to the limit and all you need is a massive hug and a smile.
13.5km isn’t much for a lot of people out there, but it was a good race in preparation for the half marathon next month, and, with a dodgy knee, there is still a lot more practise and smaller races to do before I’m able to smash the Paris marathon next year!