The race brief has started, but I'm in the queue in Morrisons at Partick Station bursting for a pee. It can't wait.
Gail and I arrived about an hour or so before, successfully off-loading drop-bags and saying a few hellos. I see Debs and shout "I'M A WARRIOR" (see previous blog post) as she gets my number. I wander over and stand alongside Dave Waterman and ask why he's wearing jeans. He looks at me in a "who the fuck are you?" kinda way before explaining that he's helping Mrs Mac first and is about to get changed, which is just as well as we both have unfinished ultra business to attend to. (I am left wondering just how long it took??) Sharon and I are in matching outfits which is pretty funny and just goes to show there's nothing in the clothing!
matching outfits and matching haircuts. 75% of these people actually ran...
Photo by Debbie Martin Consani
Section 1Being the miserable bugger I am, I'm quite partial to running alone, yet Mark and I start together and while it isn't planned I'm happy enough with company for now. We're definitely going too fast though, anything from 8mm to 10mm and I soon develop a stitch. Nuun juice sorts me out and we meander along following the diversion and passing a few folk before losing time figuring out where the guy we were following went. Turns out he went along the Clyde. We do too and I enjoy this section and the more sensible pace we've now adopted. We get to the first checkpoint and Mrs Mac gives me a ticking off for going out too quick while I nervously confess that I'm already feeling a bit queasy. I gasp in disbelief that Dave is there still sporting (I use the term loosely...) his jeans. Rumour has it he had a blouse on under his jacket too!
I'm feeling pretty good here and, thanks to a packet of Pom Bear crisps, the queasiness has gone. As the trail thins out I leave Mark behind and get on with the business of running. I catch a few folk up and we all stupidly follow someone else the wrong way around nowheresville until an old biddy who doesn't even know what street she lives in points us in the right direction. Right... We're soon back on track having done a huge circle but I'm pissed off. I'm really really pissed off actually. All the folk who were well behind me are now in front and I'm seething as I struggle on towards Strathclyde Park. I'm not cheered by the woman I catch who wants to chat and use me as pacemaker, stopping when I stop, running when I run (I keep testing this to make sure I'm not making it up). I'm still grumpy and not in the slightest bit chatty so I force the pace on a bit and leave her and soon catch up with another girl. She's impressed I'm doing this after only running 4 years so I like running with her! We're both convinced though that we've missed the checkpoint. We've not, it's just across the motorway, at which point the girl's either had enough of the race or my company and attempts a suicide dash across with her eyes closed while I scream "WATCH THE CAR" and she wakes up. Me too... I'm surprised to see Mark already there but he's not doing so well. He's puked a couple of times. I offer sympathy but little else, I really have to go. Sorry mate...
The woman who wants to chat runs alongside me again at the Loch but I'm really not in the mood and while today's objective is "all about the finish" I'd quite like to do it at least before the last train to Partick leaves, otherwise it's a hell of a long walk from Lanark home on my own. So off I go and suddenly I spring to life. 22 miles in and I've warmed up. The bottle of coke and caffeine laced paracetamol I took at the checkpoint probably helped. I follow Tim for a few minutes further along the path but soon pass by. He's not so happy. I catch up with and pass a few others then run the next couple of miles with Ellen and Alyson enjoying their chat. They're pretty confident I'll finish.
We arrive at the checkpoint and I don't hang around. I want to keep moving. I grab my coke and crisps and munch on the go. I arrive at the undulations and am surprised to catch a few folk up here. Probably because I batter my way down the hills but also partly because passing folk is a huge psychological boost. I spend the next few miles trying to maintain a decent steady pace in an attempt to put as much ground as possible between me and those I've passed. It seems to have worked as I'm running in total isolation now. I like! I catch up with more folk who are struggling with either fatigue or injury and I'm energized by their suffering. I even pass on some advice on the best way to be sick when your body won't give it up (it can only be the bulimic approach, as adopted by yours truly at the Cateran Ultra).
I meet a couple who ask about the race and assure me that the finish isn't far off. They're a couple of lying bastards. My useless piece of crap garmin has now died and I guess that the finish must only be about 3 miles away. No, it's at least 5 and from this point I start to really struggle. My insides are churning, the coke isn't helping and my pace is all but standstill. I find the section back onto the walkway a struggle as it zigzags its way down before eventually reaching steps built for giants that go all the way up to the moon. I see New Lanark village and think we can't be far off. I run along with a guy who's also struggling a bit. The cheering we heard soon fades and I realise this is the loop that takes us round to the finish. We can't be far. The boardwalk section is runnable but my insides are struggling with the motion so I run/walk and sigh a heavy sigh as Ellen breezes past. I'm done, I can't catch her. But the cheering gets louder again and there it is, the crowds of folk and the finish. I fling myself along towards the finish punching the air in sheer delight and fall right into Sandra's arms nearly ripping her head off in the process (sorry missus). I'm then the grateful recipient of the biggest hug in the world from Lee who's chuffed to bits I've finished. Me too!!
guess who's happy to finish?? [Photo by David Hall]
I hug everyone. I'm really chuffed, even more so to get under 8 hours which was pretty much the target. Gail and Richie have both done well but have had a bit of a wait (um, sorry....) and we've missed the last bus up to the train so Murdo gives us a lift (thanks Murdo!!) the train arrives and the journey back is easy!
As for the eating thing, it's still something I have to perfect. Coke works a treat so I'll be sticking with that. Nuun was good but then I lost the tablets which were in my bag all along and made do with just water. Ginger snaps gave me heartburn, pork pies were tolerable (okay so I only ate about quarter of 1) the custard I didn't even look at and the teddy bear crisps were not only tasty but made me smile so they can stay.
So, where to now???