Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Running Naked on the Clyde Stride

I had never planned on running The Clyde Stride, i was supposed to be recovering from WHWrace and was just planning on going along and supporting Ian.

But best laid plans and all that. Giving that i only did 50miles i recovered pretty quickly so decided that rather than supporting i might as well run. And what better way to run than with company? I asked Susan if she fancied it and she quickly agreed. After bit of banter on twitter with James Adams who said it wasn't a real race if we wore our Gamins we both decided to leave them at home.

Having ran my last 2 races without it i had no problem with not being a slave to it was quite happy going *naked* once again. We had no real plan except to just run together & to enjoy it. The main focus for me was to get round uninjured and for my ankles to be ok.

Ian unfortunately ended up having to pull out after getting his wisdom tooth out the day before, that coupled with fact that he was on antibiotics for a chest infection put paid to his race. Bad news for him, selfishly good news for me & Susan. You don't need support for this race, there are sufficient drop bags along the way  but it's always nice knowing I'd see him out & about.

We stayed at Ian's Mum & Dads' the night before giving us bit of lie in which was nice.  Got to start around 8.15 to find a busy car park full of excited runners and Mrs Mac running around organising folk, she had also organised some sunshine which was a blessed relief after the apocalyptic weather during whwrace. Julie was her usual efficient self on numbers duty even though it was her Birthday weekend, how did we ever get by without her?

Susan arrived off train with a flurry of others and we quickly got stuff in car and got ourselves ready.

Quick catch up with Andy  >>>>>

And few others and it was soon time to head to start.

This was first proper opportunity we both had to test our our new Vests too, I'd ran to & from work in mine and 14miles in Pentlands last week but it was no real tester. I wasn't sure how I'd get on with it after being used ot having 2x 500ml bottles with me for Ultras, which is strange cause i tend not to drink a lot! I'd packed a jacket even though it was a glorious day as i wanted to test out the storage. Anyway, it's Scotland, the weather couldve changed at any minute..

Ian had planned on being at first 2 checkpoints so we only put in drop bag for the third one. We set off and chatted as girls do until suddenly we were upon the first checkpoint, Ian told us we were at 8.30mm pace. Ooops. Perhaps a tad too fast. We had felt comfortable all the way though chatting the entire time, its an easy stage to go off fast on.

It was fairly hot so we'd been drinking probably bit more than normal for 10miles so we both topped up our bottles and set off in pursuit of Kirsty from Strathearn who'd just started 2nd leg relay. Going through some very overgrown fields and not being blessed in the height department we all but disappeared as we tore through the very long nettles/grass/whatnot. Great fun :o)

I totally couldn't recall this part from first year and i wonder if that was part of previous detour? In fact there were lots of bits i didn't remember and it was far prettier than i remembered!
 We managed to get ourselves lost in the woods and looking at the very detailed route description along with pictures, we still had no clue. 4 of us stood by road looking perplexed when a car pulled up asking if we were lost, she clearly knew we should've  been and sent us back down road with instructions to go back into woods and cross bridge when we saw it. Thank you whoever you were! We are donuts.

As we got to bridge we saw a whole host of runners including Colin & Tim who clearly went correct way, hmm just us then :o/

Having no garmin meant we had no clue of distance really so had to guess randomly. There was quite a few of us who came into CP2 together. I very rarely stop at checkpoints tbh but Susan would stay all day if she thought she could get away with it. I refilled my bottle and took a wee bottle Irn Bru which i popped into front pocket. So while she faffed around i had a chat with Ian, then Julie, then Muriel then John oh and then Katrina. I eventually told Susan to shift it and off we went about 25mins later (OK, it might not have been but it felt like it) ;)

As we set off towards Strathclyde Park i kept Susan amused by telling her I'd went wrong way round water last time, and i wasn't only one mind you, we had to end up calling Mrs Mac who told us we were a bunch of numpties and we were on wrong side of water, nightmare.

Susan was flagging a bit here, and drinking a lot. She was halfway through her bottle by time we got through park. Luckily i had plenty and also had stashed money in my snazzy wee magnetic pocket.
 I was struggling too, i had bit of pull in groin which was sending pain down front of my thigh. I put it down to the amount of tarmac in first half and that we'd gone off too fast. I had it coming off Pentland hills last week once i hit road too, Walking only exacerbated it  and i was limping so running was best option. Running on the grass instead of the pathway alleviated it and meant we didn't have to dodge the many families out enjoying the glorious sunshine.

Miles 25-30 were probably a bit of a struggle. I had stones rattling around in my socks and was desperate to get to checkpoint and take them off to try and clean them out a bit. I was surprised and delighted to see Ian here. It meant to could get a change of socks, superb!

Have to say either of us had noticed even wearing our vests by this point. They really are super light and despite the weather we had no chaffing issues. Getting the bottle out was so easy which meant refilling was never an issue.

I had to practically drag Susan away from here, she was tucking into a bag of crisps and i told her eat and walk :o) luckily she was being very compliant unlike some other runs we've had when she has just plonked herself on a nearest rock demanding a rest lol.

I said to Susan that if she wanted a walking break to shout 50 to me and we'd do 50 walking/50running steps til we felt we could run further. And we did, a lot. In fact the Mojo was firmly back and we stormed this section. There was quite a few sections which were super muddy & slippy and had had to literally hang onto fence to not fall over. On one part i fell and scraped arm along barbed wire and another i went to grab fence, tried to avoid barbed wire and grabbed bunch nettles instead. ffs. Still, pain in hand takes away pain in legs right?

It was great to see supporters out on the course and same faces kept popping giving us encouragement which was lovely. We got to once section where we crossed road going back into wooded section we had thought that we were perhaps about 6 miles away from finish but we were bit downhearted to find it was 7, yeah i know its only a mile but its a mile we thought we didn't have lol I had said to Susan we'd stop at 3pm for cocktails. And we did. Had them stashed away in my bag.

I tried to keep Susan's spirits up and tired to keep her running whenever i could. As we came along a road i was again surprised and delighted to see Ian again. Susan seemed to think this was an excuse to stop again but i soon got her pushed on ;) at least we knew just exactly how far we had left though so it gave us no illusions 5.5miles easy.

Ian had warned us there was a stretch of road ahead, a hilly stretch of road. He exact words were "its a bit of a Jeremy hunt" :o)  As we got onto the road the saw Bobby just up ahead and couple other runners, i told Susan were were targeting them, She just looked at me and said nothing.

Took us wee while but we did indeed catch them, turned out it was one of my twitter friends Ross, lovely to finally meet him. He had his pal also called Ross running with him who kept running ahead taking pics, Ross kept telling him to turn it off so he could take a walking break lol.

So onwards we went and after catching Bobby again in another wooded section and asking him how far he said we were on 37miles. I shouted back to Susan that we only had 3 miles left and to get a shifty on, and she did! Overtook another couple of people here too and before we knew it were running into New Lanark! woohoo, i wooped and shouted down to finish "I'm coming to get you!" 

I'd warned Susan that we ran practically past finish line before heading up one last hill, I'd also warned Ross about this when we passed him which made the other Ross say "why did you have to tell him that, I'd only just got him going again!" lol i said there was no point in getting a nasty surprise

One last descent down towards the finish line and we were dodging people along the path who really didn't want to move, suddenly anther girl appeared from nowhere sprinting past and asking how far to go, i said "just a few minutes" and off she went. I got through *whole in wall* to see finish line and few folk shouting at me, but i waited on Susan coming through before running to finish line together.

I think looking back I'd given this race a bad rep, the first year all the signs had been nicked or turned round and nearly everyone got lost, this made me a right misery and probably spoiled the nice parts of race which i mustve blotted out.
Great tshirt, medal and goodybag and a superbly organised race, massive well done to Lee and her team, thank you.
Thanks hugely to Ian who kept popping up just like a Genie when we needed him most. And last but not least, Susan. I loved Saturday and hope you enjoyed it as much as i did.

If anyone is looking to purchase a new backpack then i couldn't recommend the Revolution enough. Its extremely lightweight, so much so we totally forgot we were wearing one, that's a first. Especially on a hot day like it was. The bottle is probably easiest bottle I've ever used with a twist top which makes it very easy to use, i hate the pull ones which i usually have to do with my teeth! I had my phone nicely stacked away in zip pocket and had sweets stashed in another pocket. I even got in car with it on forgetting i was wearing it!
 I'm bit like kid in toyshop or in my case a girl in Kurt Geiger and keep going to the store looking at the rest of the packs now with greedy eyes.


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