I think the panic is starting to set in for our Portugal race and, no matter how much I know it's not always the best way, I just want to respond to panic by training harder. I'm trying not to overdo it and I think it's ok for now but as of next week I'm definitely going to be resting!
This last weekend saw me running and swimming on the Thursday night then rollerblading on Friday morning round Strathclyde park. This was followed by the Strathaven audax route (which is only 75miles but a real toughie, climbing all the way up to Wanlockhead- the highest village in Scotland and fighting against ridiculously strong winds). Saturday was kayaking practice. I love being out in the boat but all the hassle to get there seems a bit ridiculous - 8hrs of driving and picking up kayaks and attaching roof bars for 4hr paddling. It was beautiful though, paddling past castles and some surfers.
Then, feeling slightly exhausted, I decided it probably wasn't a great idea to do the Pentlands skyline race on Sunday but that I was going to do it anyway and just jog and not care if I was last.
I'm really glad I made that decision. Life is too short to be sensible when the sun is shining! It was a beautiful race that seems to cover a huge circuit with endless rolling hills. There was a ferocious wind going over some of the tops - it tore the legs out from under me and meant I was leaning practically horizontal to carry on forwards without being blown over. I did my usual tortoise impression and let everyone race ahead until the last hour when I started to catch up with the people who couldn't run any further and were visibly shaking as they tried to push their legs up the last hill. I may not be a real runner but at least I've got strong legs!
I always find entering 'single sport' races quite hard and always get a bit psyched out by the 'proper' hill runners or 'proper' cyclists with all the clothing (and all the specific training!), who are comfortable because they know what to expect and what to do. I almost forgot half the kit I needed and had to sprint back to the car for a compass during the kit checks. Not that you'd have been able to get lost on a beautiful day like that; I could see the lines of brightly coloured ants weaving their way up the hillside ahead from miles off.
Didn't know to expect the lovely marshalls with the mini-mars bars either. That's something you don't really get in adventure racing. And in triathlon it's always expensive and nasty energy food rather than just sugary treats!
4hr10 was my finishing time. Probably not the best I could do but I had fun anyway and at least I now feel like I know what to expect from a hill race. Maybe I'll do a few more next year...
And it turns out I wasn't last afterall. I was 144th out of 170 runners (20 out of 25 women).