Monday, 22 March 2010

Dirty Weekend Away

Sorry this blog is so long but I feel the need to spew it all out and never think of it again

Iain had been wanting to do this race for a couple of years but it always clashed with Calum's birthday. This year we decided to go for it since Calum's birthday is today so we were back to celebrate it.
Things started out well as we were organised enough to drop the boys off at my folks' house at 9:20am just when we said we would. We stopped off at the Tesco in Dundee for all the essentials - wet wipes, antibacterial hand cleaner, the Guardian, hankies, pasta salad, 3 tins of Gin and Tonic, and a box of wine.

The first argument occurred in Edinburgh. There was an accident at Baberton and the bypass was crawling. Iainpoints to a road on the map - we could just take this wee yellow road and avoid the jam he said. So I came off the bypass and end up in a huge jam in Colinton. Wasted loads of time there and ended up back on the bypass. Finally got to Innerleithan at about 1:30pm. Just in time to watch the spouse race. Some folk carrying their partners up a hill and back down. Luckily Iain is too weak to lift me.
Pitched the tent and went for a wander. The weather was fine and all seemed ok. We got changed in to daft costumes. I was pleased to see no one else thought of wearing a tiara, although I saw one other lady with pearls. We watched some of the 5k people finishing. They looked knackered and v wet and muddy. The slowest ones took over 2 hours to complete the 5k . I was starting to get worried. We met Stephen Terwey from our club who'd done it last year. He said he did the 10k in 1:33. But he is v fast. Had to have a g n t to calm my nerves.

Finally we got underway at 5:40pm. The race starts so late so you do half of it in the dark to add to the 'fun'. The first obstacle was hay bales and I managed to fall as I landed on one foot. Luckily I did a roll and nobody stood on me but I heard laughter from the crowd . We ran a tiny distance and were then stuck in the first bottleneck. The path was too narrow for the amount of folk. This happened a few times. Not long in to the race and we had to wade through the pond. Freezing dirty water up to my waist . The tweed skirt did not dry quickly and it was horrible. Iain had to give me a hand to get out. Next we ran to the base of the first hill. It was as steep as the Balmoral hill and everyone around us walked. We reached another bottleneck of folk at some logs we had to balance on. Met a fetchie at least - AnnaP who was very friendly. We had a spooky forest bit which they had livened up with disco balls and lights. I didn't enjoy the descent as it was v steep and dark. I kept worrying that I would fall. I was getting a bit miserable by now as I mistakenly thought that we had to do two 5 k loops that were the same. WRONG! It was two different loops! Before I realised that I was going to DNF after the first 5k. The next awful thing was a 200m wade through the river against the flow. shanksi practically dragged me and we were arguing again. Our next challenge was another steep hill but this time it was scree. People in front of us were moving so slowly which meant we got cold and frustrated. I think it was because there were more log balance things at the top. On the way back down it was steep again but thankfully I didn't injure myself. It was pitch black by then. Finally there was a bit running along the river bank which was alright cos I knew we were nearly finished. More stinky river nonsense but not as bad as before.
The last obstacles were a tunnel and a cargo net. Iain was ahead of me and got stuck! He had a bottle in his back pack and it got caught in the net. I was stuck behind him. Luckily he got through and we crossed the finish line hand in hand . It took us 3:00:06 according to the provisional results but I think it was actually less than 3. Still, it had been agony for me and I was close to tears at times and arguing which is not what you want. Poor Iain, I feel I spoiled it for him.
The medal was quite nice

The bad stuff continued afterwards when we had to queue for an hour for some food. There were only two wee stalls selling food to a 1000 folk!!! At least the other participants were friendly and I met a friend of Jane Tulloch's from Orkney. She was called Rachel from Gala Harriers. And she had been sick poor thing. So we finally got to the party and saw a bit of one band by 10:30pm. Iain had a pint but I didn't bother. Ended up going to bed fully-clothed as it was so freezing. The only good bit was snuggling while listening to the bands up to midnight. Then we tried to sleep. Got rudely awakened by some aresholes playing Arctic Monkeys at full blast from their car. Shoved Iain out the tent to confront them but someone else got there first and they shut up. Yes I am an old fogey! Hardly slept a wink (like normal in the tent) and got up when Iain said it was 8am. Turns out his watch was 2 hours fast. Never mind, I was desperate to get home. We went home still wearing the same clothes (not the wet muddy ones I must add) and had our breakfast in the Little Chef at Dreghorn. Maple syrup pancakes and tea . Cheered up when I saw my boys and had a shower. Then we both went to give blood. Had the last night and feel back to normal now.

I will not do this race again. Don't let me sign up!!! I have too much fear according to Iain. Walking waist deep in muddy freezing water just is not fun imho! Next race - D33

PS Stephen from our club came 5th! He had an amazing time of 1:22.

Too Much Traffic

(Sorry, this is a long one)

For once, we set off when planned and made good time all the way to the Edinburgh City Bypass where we ground to a halt because of the traffic. I decided we might be better off on a different road, so I directed us onto a road through Colinton which was possibly busier and slower. Words were exchanged but we eventually got through it and were back on the road. I didn't know it at the time but this episode was to be echoed a couple of times before the day was out.

In any case, we arrived in plenty of time, and were setting the tent up as the Spouse Racing was going on and the 5K got under way while we had lunch washed down with G&T. Then registration, a tub of fine stew, and a chance to relax and watch some of the 5K runners finish (looking a bit wet but generally unscathed from their adventures) and generally soak up the atmosphere and look at the various outfits.

As the start time for the 10K approached we met Stephen from our club who was running this event for the second year running and ended up coming 5th this year. And then it was off to the start line to be told the start was being delayed for 10 minutes because it was too bright and sunny (the race is timed so that most runners finish in the dark). So a bit more milling around and warming up later and then we were off and heading up to the first obstacle - a wall of hay bales which I clambered over and then turned round to see Vikki picking herself up off the ground looking embarrassed rather than hurt. A tight turn onto a narrow road created a massive bottleneck which we shuffled through and then managed to run for a bit. Until we got to the first water hazard - two muddy pools followed by a muddy squelchy patch. The water was freezing and deep enough to soak my shorts in their entirety and much of the tweed(ish) jacket I was wearing. Vikki needed to be pulled out of the pool before we could head off up the hill - a long slog with only short sections where the gradient and the crowds allowed a bit of a run. Somewhere up there, it started to get dark under the trees, so torches were going on, and there were more bottlenecks at obstacles, and then we reached the top and headed steeply downhill, past the disco lights, over fences and down to the nets at the bottom before a flat run into the town and into the river which was flowing fairly quickly against us. (By the way, it turns out that wading in freezing cold fast flowing water in the dark is not the best idea for marriage relations. Who would have known.)

The next section took us up another steep hill, past some weird stone pillars and then down along a narrow path to the bottom of a very steep scree slope. I found this bit very frustrating because there was basically a single file path up and it turned into a slow walk with a complete standstill every few steps. At least I was able to do a bit of stargazing. Over the top of the hill, it opened out a bit but the descent was steep and Vikki didn't want to risk injury so we reined back a bit and jogged gently down. A bit more running on slippy paths, then back through the town (we got to use the bridge this time) and on to the sump - more waist depth water, this time in a wee tunnel under a bridge. Another couple of water crossings and we were finally at the back of Traquair House where the scent of the brewery gave me fresh impetus and we ran towards the finish. To my great embarrassment, I cocked up the cargo net in sight of the finish (I'd forgotten about the head torch and the backpack which both got caught). I grabbed Vikki's hand and we crossed the finish line together.

After that, it was time to get changed into dry clothes and then wait in a long queue to get something to eat, before finally getting to the after party and enjoying a beer, although we only stopped for one before heading back to the tent to warm up and chat while listening to the music from there. We woke to find frost over everything but managed to pack away the tent despite freezing hands and set off at which point we realised that my watch was a couple of hours fast and it was still only 8am. Still, it meant we got home at a sensible time.

All in all, an interesting experience, some fun bits, some not so fun bits. A little less fun than I'd been hoping for but more enjoyable than you might think if you listen to Vikki ;)

Would I do it again? Maybe, but I'd hope they did something about the bottlenecks and I'd go harder at the start to try and get further up the field.

There are some pictures on our picasa site here:
Search sleepmonsters and flickr for photos if you want to get a better idea of what the race was like.