|Umbrellas? But it's a beautiful day in Edinburgh...|
The Ultra Training
In May I had the 24 hour race which meant that I had 24 hours of thinking time to come up with some vows. That didn’t quite work out as planned as I went to sleep after 23 hours. And 23 hours just wasn’t quite enough time for me to get any vows confirmed in my head. Although I could have written numerous vows to my cup-of-pasta. I am extremely excited about running in Glenmore just so I can eat the other packet that I have left in the pantry. So I came back from Holland begging the Humanist to write the vows which I now cannot remember anyway.
All international guests should be greeted at the airport with a sweaty hug. It wasn’t so much of a rule than it was a bad habit. So with international guest number one arriving (Mareta), I attempted to squeeze in a run before her arrival time. Too much flat cleaning meant that that run needed to be one to the airport. Mareta’s an athlete herself so I didn’t think she’d mind too much. Unfortunately, I got lost. It was quite a muggy day and I had to motor it to get to the airport and even then I was considerably late. Like half an hour late. Then I tear around the coffee shops looking for a tall lost-looking blonde to no avail. By then, I am glowing with sweat. I cannot swipe my phone to unlock it as I am too sweaty. Never fear though folks as Mareta was rewarded with her travel from Australia with a flight delay in Manchester. So by the time she arrived, she wasn’t smelling too pretty either. The plan was to bus home, shower and then catch the bus back to the airport (letting Mareta have a sleep) to pick up friends Sarah and Shaun. Unfortunately, due to Mareta and I’s late arrival we sat stinking in a coffee shop while we watched the glam arrivals. What a treat for them arriving after Monaco, Cannes and Nice!
The Race Conditions
|Girl Guide Leader|
The Start Line
Freak storm on Loch Lomond. Just for the couple of hours when I was meant to be getting married outside. I was desperate to get married outside. The girls and I consumed another bottle of bubbles waiting for the storm to clear. Eventually, we got married inside. My Dad had to slow me down walking down the aisle. I was wearing my heels by this stage.
The ceremony was full of giggling. That was mostly the bridesmaids and I due to the champagne consumption. I’m a bit of a giggler when it comes to race briefings too. It’s an attention span thing. Or I’m in the line for a port-a-loo. They’re always a good source of banter. Then there’s the drinking of whisky from the Quaich. I don’t really appreciate whisky to be honest.
My main focus after the ceremony is getting my hands on some canapés. I greet both national and international fans, smile for the cameras, strike some poses… Then there are the family photos which I coordinate by barking out orders. By the stage the weather is barely a drizzle and anyone who complains about standing in it for thirty seconds keeps a swift kicking up the backside from my pointy heels. We play on the pier. I think I have flip flops on at this stage. A never ending change of shoes is this wedding.
The Food Plan
|New Zealand V Scotland|
|Getting a run in|
Then we are out for a course turnaround and I’m on the beach in my wellies getting some more photos taken. I think that the guests are rehydrating and I remind myself to do this also. I don’t want to bonk out later on in the race due to dehydration. Then it’s time to pass the baton. Or throw the bouquet since I wasn’t really fast enough for the Athletics team. I’m not known for my arm strength. In fact, I personally believe that I am the inspiration for the saying ‘you throw like a girl.’ At school, I usually made some sort of agreement with another kid that I would do the running for them if they did the batting for me. I’d told all the girls who wanted to catch the bouquet to line up in the front. I thought that I better give the toss my all so that it wouldn’t fall short of that first line of girls. And I did just that. And it flew over everybody, took out a native bird whilst in flight and landed next to Noeleen who was standing oblivious to my world record throw at the back. Now Noeleen had come over from New Zealand with her husband Monroe as I grew up across the road from them and their daughters. It’s quite an infamous street in St. Oke. I bet she didn’t expect to be heading home thinking about a potential new suitor…
The Pacing Strategy
The pace of the song picks up. It’s the sprint finish of the race, that time of night when your support runners are allowed on the course. My support runners are decked out in blue dresses and are experts in keeping themselves hydrated. Known as the Smurfettes, they fling themselves across the dance floor in the most pinball-like fashion. There’s even a YouTube clip. I haven’t been on a You Tube clip since my pained face crossed the line of the Gran Canaria marathon.
After dancing for a few obligatory songs, I’m out of there. Can’t handle too long in the heels you see. My support crew Smurfettes have a bit of difficulty dealing with my bustle. Generally in ultrarunning it’s not so much about the appearance of the runner it’s the speed that you can get the tights over the running shoes that’s the important part. Never fear though because Scott’s friend Ash is a short-distance runner, therefore still cares about her appearance and saves the bustle. After which it is decided that I am possibly a little under hydrated. I feel that I am beyond the coffee stage in my race and it’s time to crack out the big guns; RED BULL.
Sam has travelled over with his girlfriend from New Zealand and we reminisce over the Red Bull about how I’ve changed; no good at high heels, dirt on my dress, I even sometimes go CAMPING. And it’s true. Someone shouts ‘jaeger bomb’ from further down the bar and I think that it’s perhaps time to make sure I am keeping up with the speedsters at the front of this party, welcome back my younger self and all that jazz. I participate in some unsuccessful ceilidh dancing. In my personal opinion this would have been far more successful if there had been prizes for the best, worst or most enthusiastic dancers. Perhaps even a prize for best-dressed. Ultraraces should probably hold prizes for this too. Braiding hair takes time people and it would be nice to be rewarded for the effort. From this point onwards the memory lags and every drink must contain Red Bull. I am beyond any other liquid consumption.
|Making a getaway|
In my limited experience of 24 hour running I would say that my best time is during the dark stages of the race. Just as other people are getting tired and start to depart the dance floor or wedding premises, out I pop with fresh legs and a steely determination for whatever takes my fancy. During the wedding day thus far I have managed to remain calm but overly conservative for the day period and talk the ears off everyone for the evening period. Much like my running. And now that we’ve hit the night I am ready to rumble. I’m still up for a party at 4am in the morning when the sun is rising and the birds are chirping. I get dragged to the bridal lodge. The race is over folks. Now how can I get that energy to convert to the end of a 24-hour race…
The Thank Yous
Thanks to everyone that came. It was an epic party. Maybe we should do it sometime again soon. Beautiful photos thanks to Karol Makula.
And a wee warning to Scott...
Turns into this beauty...
And a wee warning to Scott...