As I wrote in the first part of this I was fully expecting to DNF. I wasn't even sad about it, the plan was to go out, do what I could for as long as my body would hold out and have fun with the day. There were a few things that could have ruined my attitude but I made the conscious decision to just laugh them off and keep on trucking.
The first thing was discovering that the elastic on the pants of the running skirt I was wearing decided to give up the ghost! I should have expected it because I have had that one for a few years I just didn't think it would do so yesterday! Apologies to all behind me who might have gotten flashed and had to deal with me constantly pulling the wedgie out from my bum cheeks!
The next was the tie holding my timing chip onto the shoe decided to come loose on one side within the first half mile necessitating a stop to try and fix it and then it coming all the way off just before the half marathon racers caught up to us! There was an extended stop to tie it through my shoe lace while noticing one of the ties had outright broken. Once I finally got going again I'd been passed by a couple of the speedy women in our running club and had a chance to chat with one of the guys before he zoomed off as well.
The gear: GU, 9bar, amphipod, spibelt, Hammer Nutrition Perpetuem
My one goal yesterday was to do something different every time I spotted a photographer and I think I succeeded based on the proofs I have seen so far. One photographer even thanked me when I did something silly! I'm sure their jobs can be very monotonous with taking the same picture repeatedly.
Having fun on the 2nd lap
The scenery was top-notch and it never got boring. There were fields of sheep with baby lambs scampering about and baaing at us running by while their mums glowered making sure we kept our distance. The longhorn cattle would stop their grazing and almost pose majestically. Beautiful waving fields of golden rapeseed. Huge trees with so many twists, turns, and knots. Uneven ground on occasion to remind you that it was a trail race and to mind the footing. A stream babbling under a stone bridge. There's more but I'm rambling a bit here.
A somewhat late summary:
First lap--slight wardrobe malfunction, timer chip issue, a couple of miles that were too fast.
Second lap--Still feeling good, chatted with a half marathoner that had caught up to me around 5.5 miles, started on my bottle of perpetuem, emergency portaloo stop at the 2nd one on the course, constant nose blowing, chatting away to whomever crossed my path. Began flagging just before climbing the hill towards the race village but still running so continued on even though the rocky areas were starting to play hell with my feet.
Third lap--Worst. Stitch. Ever. One too many bites of a 9bar reduced me to a slow walk and gasping for air. Finally got lapped by a running club mate who was on his way to winning the marathon! Legs started cramping towards the end. Play race leap frog with the cutest couple ever. Other zip tie on the timing chip breaks. Flop, flop, flop against the top of my foot.
Fourth lap--aka the trudge. Yes, I decided to continue the slog. Dumped the belts over the fence by the club banners (bottles were empty by this point) and kept moving forward in painfully slow motion. Cramps started in earnest and my nose was doing its level best to drown me in snot. Pick out a sign, run to it then walk to the next. Lather, rinse, repeat for 6.5 miles. Smile and thank the volunteers. Nearly cry when I see Kerry, Andrew, and James who walked out on the course to cheer
me in on the final mile.
Final stretch, I can finally see the finish line and all of a sudden there is the loudest, craziest, yell from across the race village field and there is a blond blur running towards me! Cathy had stayed to see the last of the club in too and her enthusiasm was so infectious that she got people who had nothing to do with the race cheering for me as well! Best. Cheerleader. EVER. I am still getting all kinds of teary-eyed thinking about it.
We will not discuss my wobble towards the volunteer in charge of removing the chips nor how the EMT kept hovering around me after that wobble, lol. I also cannot condone running a marathon not being fully recovered from a cold that developed into bronchitis...However I can endorse The Longhorn as being a top-notch event (many thanks again to Amanda and Mollie!) and that the Ilkeston Running Club represented and then some with Andrew winning the marathon, Cathy was first overall female marathon finisher, and Melissa was the same for the half marathon. Huge thank you for everyone that waited around for me to finish up, I didn't DNF and even though I tried I wasn't the last finisher (almost but not quite!). Somehow I even managed to get a personal best by a couple of minutes.