Braid Hills Cross Country, 14 November 2009, 3 miles
I wasn't planning to do this race but a tactical decision made my mind up for me (all will become clear much much later....).
Isobel, Helena, Morna, Linda and I travelled together and with Helena as our guide we arrived in plenty of time for a recce of the course. The recce put the heeby jeebies up me, not because of the vast quantities of water and mud, but the other challenging terrain and narrow pathways. In fact, after about half a mile into the race I did consider turning back and giving up. Having been round already, however, I knew that although the first mile was uphill, it did improve after that.
On the off, I assumed my usual cross country position right at the back and while the rest of the field sped off, I bimbled slowly up up and up the first mile. I was knackered already and finding breathing and running really hard going. But once I reached the downhill rocky bit I found my pace and was able to overtake a couple of people. Through the knee-deep puddles with ankle deep mud at the bottom, I remembered that I can run hard and breathe at the same time.
I could see a couple of girls at least half my age struggling ahead and made it my mission to pass them, particularly the girl sporting a vest with the words "you are being beaten by a dosser" on the back. Not for long! And in that final mile I found what has been lacking since Loch Ness, that feeling of pure enjoyment while running so I pushed as much as I could to the finish delighting in the fact that a) it was bloody great fun b) I had finished before the men's race had started, and c) I wasn't last. Phew!