Sunday, 20 December 2015

What Sandra did next

After the disappointment of the Devil I had to re focus and get race head back on.

Ian spotted a new race through by Castle Semple, Hessilhead 10k. It's pretty close to his hometown of Kilbarchan and he knew guy who was organising. So off we went on a beautiful Wednesday night to run a 10k I was pretty unprepared for.

Actually it turned out not too badly and I finished 45.41, a mere 40secs off my PB,  I was pretty happy with that given my lack of speedwork. And it gave me bit of test for Edinburgh Half which was looming large.

Sorry, not Edinburgh Half, its called Scottish half Marathon starts in Wallyford and finishes Musselburgh racecourse. We got a fabulous day for it and its a proper lovely course. Can recommend it highly. I scraped a 3 second PB there, ok its not much but hey, a PB is a PB, I'll take it. although a flat fast tarmac surface is not great training for a trail Marathon. Medal was blingtastic!

2 weeks later & we were heading to Keildor water. Not sure how I got roped into this, sometimes Ian will be tapping away on laptop and suddenly I'll get an email thanking me for entering a race. I think I did agree to this one though. Pretty sure Ian told me it was flatt (ish)  I can tell you that this race is in no way flat. I can barely recall a flat bit of it. I was SO not into it. All week I moaned to Ian saying I wasn't up for a Marathon, so much so that he tried to get me switched to the half to no avail.

However- I loved it! I seemed to get stronger as the race went on. This never happens to me in Marathons, I always fade. I finished in 3.48, no PB but I was 3rd FV & 8th Lady! Been told its about 20 mins slower than a regular Marathon so very happy indeed with that time. I think it's first marathon I've paced well, I ran last 3 miles around same pace as first 3. Tough but beautiful route. Got over finish line and Ian was standing chatting to Steve Cram so I got congratulated from him, told him it was great race and that I'd be back.

Another 2 weeks on & we are enroute to Kinloch Rannoch. Now this race really was a surprise. Ian had spotted it had been resurrected and entered marathon immediately. I didn't and wasn't even planning on going up tbh. As it happens we were in the local pub having dinner on Friday evening chatting about it and I said I'd probably go & support him after all. It was then that he mentioned there was also a half marathon that day. Cue us on phone entering me into the half, well it beats hanging around for hours doing nothing.

Drive up there was lovely. And my goodness, I now understand why Ian has raved about this race. The Marathon started first then we were bussed to halfway point. Was chatting to Gail Murdoch at start & thought that would last time I saw her. To my surprise I kept getting up a hill & seeing her not too far in distance. I knew one girl had shot off and Gail was right behind her. I'd yo yo'd with a girl who kept overtaking me on flat who I'd get back on hills, I ended up getting annoyed with that & pushing on. Didn't see her again but made me aware I was 3rd lady. eek. Now time to push on & make sure I wasn't overtaken and keep Gail in my sights! I did until the last 2mile when she told me she caught sight of a pink vest and took off! lol :)

I finished 3rd lady with another PB. 2015, the year of the PB for me. Not often I'm on podium, loved it. Ian loved being back in full race and also enjoyed it. Stunning route, think this race will be a lot busier next year. Maybe I shouldn't shout about it too much. Sometimes the smaller key races are better, but for it to a success they need more folk.

Wee bit more rest till next race. 3 whole weeks till Jedburgh Ultra. My last race as Sandra McDougall (or so I thought) I'd told Noanie (think I was drunk) that I'd run it in hen gear. Then they announce its being filmed for the Adventure show. wonderful. Noanie & Angela had asked Ian aka Sumsie Squirrel to be official starter & warm up person. He took it a bit more seriously than perhaps normal.

I just wanted to go out & enjoy this race. Having never done it but always wanted to, I had enjoyed an organised (thanks Angela) recce run of 18 miles of it. Only 20 to tag on, should be easy enough. I was running for fun in my hen gear & with my maid of (dis) honour, Susan. Crew extraordinaire. I was interviewed beforehand & asked why I was marrying a chipmunk. lol. we'll see if that makes the cut...

So off we go, Susan as ever apologising for slowing me down. I was really enjoying it, taking in the scenery, what a fabulous time of year to be running a route like that. Bursting full of autumnal magic. Just perfect. Susans hip was bothering her and she admitted to me she was told by docs not to run! so 1st CP she said to me " don't shout at me but I'm stopping" I thought she meant just to pick up stuff then I saw her face. She was in pain. And the right thing for her to do was stop. Damn, I nearly dropped out too. This was meant to a jolly! It was great to have so many friends out on course marshalling, I got lots of hugs and bagfuls of encouragement from random people who loved my outfit and kept asking when big day was.

Oh well, time to push on. For rest of race I just picked people off one by one. I guess taking it easy at start really does pay off, I felt great. Got near to top of first hill and was more than a bit surprised to see Sumsie Squirell up there. Got to top of second hill and had chat with Desiree from adventure show, she asked where my fiancé was. I pointed to hill behind me and said, "on top of that hill dressed as a squirrel"
And off I went. I felt great.
 Until I got to about mile 31. This is where the mind started fighting with the legs. It was at this point I realised it I hadn't ran over 26 miles since WHWrace! not best training really. So on I ran still picking people off with each mile. Finished in 7.28, fairly pleased and still felt good. I'd have happily ran the half next day but we needed to get back to Edinburgh. I was surprised of how good my legs felt given serious lack of training.

 Fast forward a week and its hen party time! I had no idea what we were doing, susan arrived Friday night and only thing I got told was that I was doing parkrun in the morning. So Jedburgh hadn't been last race before wedding after all!

Got down there to find lots of my lovely friends in Santa hats. I managed another PB to end a great year of racing for me, cant complain about that. Jemima had even been secretly training! we all headed to café for tea & scones before heading back hme to get all glammed up for party.

And oh what fun we had! Champagne, cocktails, singing & dancing. Everyone was dressed to the 9's and we partied hard till 4am. Huge thanks to Susan & Gillian for organising and to everyone who came. Brilliant night.

So there it is, I'm pretty pleased how my year went. The goal was sub22 WHW race, the other PB's were just picked up on the way. I think the wedding needs a blog of its own.....


This could be a long blog, but 100 miles is a long way. I've always had a pull to this race for various reasons. I've heard many g...