Friday, 29 March 2013

The D33 Ruined My Birthday

OK, so that's a bit melodramatic, but after the race and the party, my birthday the next day did feel a bit flat what with having a very slight hangover, tiredness, and just a hint of soreness. On the positive side, I had a nice enough day and my birthday tea was a lovely bit of steak washed down with the D33 beer and it was all rather pleasant....
Heading towards Drumoak
Unlike much of the weather on race day which was a bit cold with some rain, light snow, and a bit of a breeze. I've been out in worse but should probably have stuck on my waterproof rather than the thin windshirt which was soaked through by about an hour into the race - well at least I wasn't just wearing a yellow t-shirt and no gloves like one numpty I know. I spoke to a few folk in the early miles and ran for a long while with Ian S and Carol which was good to keep my mind from worrying about the feeling I'd been having that my training hadn't been great. Unfortunately  I couldn't keep up with them and felt my pace drift a bit as various niggly pains started to make themselves felt. I always like this race when the fast guys start coming back past you and you get a chance to see everybody in the race as you head in and out of half way.
On the subject of half way, I was determined not to waste time at check points on this race and managed to get in, pick up my drop bag, and started walking back immediately. Then I heard a shout behind me and wondered if there was something wrong but turned to see it was Johnny Fling just wanting to wish me good luck for the second half of the race.
The second half was always going to be a bit of a struggle and I felt in a bit of a slump but then remembered I had my wee iPod in my bag so stuck on the earphones to see if it would help. And it did. I don't have a specific running playlist or special power songs lined up, so I got served up a fairly odd mix from my music collection which raised a smile and helped eat up the miles between Crathes and Drumoak. As I made my way up the hill before the next check point, my pace and my temperature dropped. At one point I was just shuffling along with my hands under my armpits and thinking that if I looked just a wee bit more shivery, Sean would pull my out of the race, give me a nice space blanket, bundle me into a warm car, and get someone to drive me to the finish. But if that happened, I wouldn't get my medal, I'd feel like a quitter, and I wouldn't stay in the "finished every D33" club, so I jogged into the check point, got a bit of help retrieving my irn bru from the drop bag, and set off as quickly as I could. Which wasn't very quickly but it was enough and I started to feel more confident again.
At the finish
On the approach to the road crossing at Milltimber, I could see Santa up ahead offering water and sweets (thankfully not an unseasonal Xmas hallucination just in case you're not on Fetch and getting worried by this), but when I told her all I needed was a big hug, she was happy to oblige and it gave me the boost I needed for the last few miles of plodding away. I think I looked at my watch and realised that I was going to miss a 6 hour finish by quite a bit, but it didn't matter at this stage - I just knew I was going to finish.
And so, to the final stretch, nice to see a giant Jess Ennis as I took the bridge over Holburn Street and then it's just the graveyard and the winter gardens and the turn into the park.
It was great to see the finish line (better than previous years when it was hidden over the hill) and a few familiar faces cheering me in as I crossed the line and got a big hug and medal from George and a beer from Karen. So chuffed to see Iain Steel with a finisher's medal but my main concern was finding the mrs, getting my kit bag and getting changed into some dry clothes. I wasn't sure of my time but found out later it was 6:14:15, a long way from a PB but not a PW so I can't complain too much.
After the race, it was back home (thanks to Minty for the lift) for a hot shower and then off to the Station for food and drink. And drink. As usual, it was a good night with plenty of chat and we eventually headed home just after midnight.
Looking forwards, it's probably just as well I'm not running the Highland Fling this year and have a few extra weeks to get ready for the Cateran which is sure to be another tough but enjoyable weekend.

1 Thanks to the fabulous Annette at craftrocks for the photos and for all the medals (except the first one)
2 In case you're wondering, I wrote most of this a week ago but never got round to finishing it until now.

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