The Great Winter Run

So, that’s that then. I’m sitting in the hotel bar, using their free wifi and drinking hot chocolate in an effort to warm up a bit! And I’m even sitting here wearing my race t-shirt, but even I’ve stopped short of wearing my medal!

It was very cold today. Very, very cold.

Apart from when we were very warm. That would be “The Race”.

I was clock watching from about half four this morning, not wanting to miss an early breakfast. We left the hotel earlier than we’d planned as we were ready and I was getting nervous sitting about. I worry only about the logistics of getting to an event; I’m never nervous once I’m there, I just get anxious that something will stop me from getting there in plenty of time. But, of course, we’d researched the buses and their routes and timetables and we knew that there was a bus that stopped outside of the hotel and would take us to Holyrood within 20 minutes.

We arrived at Holyrood Palace at around half 9, hours early, but we were there safely! OCD, me? Although we both had three layers on the air was cool and the wind was savage. We were both frozen through within a few minutes. Our only option was to keep on the move. We must have walked a few miles before the start just trying to stay warm! We watched a bit of the cross country and at about 10:45 we went across to the baggage area to leave my bag.

Grant flashing
Me fooling around before the race













The warm up was hilarious; there were nearly 2000 of us lined up, all trying to see what the instructor was doing (most of us in vain) and then attempting to copy him, packed in as we were! I almost took someone’s eye out with my water bottle and decided then to stop!

We started a full 7 minutes after the elite runners who, by then, were almost half way round! As we crossed the line together, of course, I called to Grant to go easy. It’s so easy to get carried away from your pace in the first few metres.

Neither of us were quite prepared for the climb. The road up was a 1:10, meaning that for every 10 metres we ran we climbed another metre. It basic terms it was bloody steep and we were soon overtaking those who had already started walking. Unfortunately we’d decided to start at the back and so we had a lot of folk who were slower than us in front of us. It was really tough getting past them as there were so many of them!

We reached the top, so we thought, after 2 km and the path widened out. The views were spectacular. It was clear and bright and you could see for miles around. At least I could; Grant had no interest in the view, he just wanted the hills to stop. One last incline and we were starting on the downward run for home. At this point I felt tethered; as much as I wanted to run with Grant I knew I could just fly off. This was not an easy course. ‘Challenging’ is the way they describe it but I was really enjoying it! The sight of Edinburgh Castle as we rounded Arthur’s Seat was so inspiring. The finish was down there somewhere!

We had been run:walking the route on a 4:1 ratio, but as we hit the downhill Grant decided that he didn’t need to walk; he could see the 4 km banner and the finish was only a kilometre after it! I pushed him on, knowing that we could break the 36 minute target I’d set us.

As we reached the flat I could see that it was hurting Grant. I was worried that he wouldn’t actually make it and, by the colour of his face, I wondered if he’d actually be taken home in an ambulance! I took his hand and we ran the last few metres to the finish. As we crossed the line I raised our arms and cheered. We’d finished in a time of 35:52, absolutely brilliant for Grant’s first 5k.

Once we’d collected our goody bags and retrieved my gym bag we just headed back to the hotel a little more elated than we’d left it!

Our medals are simply awesome! We’ve already decided that, even knowing now exactly how steep that starting hill is, we will be back next year.

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