I RUN MARATHONS FOR LOLZ. Dundee Running Adventure Marathon – DRAM 2014

I’ve been having a splendid time recently with my running. Speed training going well. Enjoying the wee loop I do (7.2 miles) round my house, and have enjoyed some long runs, including one travelling round every subway station in Glasgow, with some fine people. But there was one thing. I still hadn’t put the ghost of the Manchester Marathon to rest. It’s the one time I felt I lost my shizzle a bit and wasn’t in control. I wanted to finish a marathon happy. Well happy as you can be after running 26.2 miles…

I decided randomly a few weeks ago to enter the DRAM, the Dundee Runnning Adventure Marathon. There are few marathons in Scotland and I wanted to take full advantage. I’d heard via someone on twitter that the course was nice, trails off road etc; the polar opposite of Manchester. Why not, eh?

Stayed overnight at a lovely hotel in Dundee, slept reasonably well till 5.30 ish, got up to make my porridge and realised the room had no kettle :-/ went to phone reception to find the phone was disconnected too. Ah well, electrolyte tablet in water and a soluble paracetamol for brekkie it is, then!

Went down for hotel breakfast at 7am, which felt very near the start for me. Saw another dude in running gear (who finished the marathon just ahead of me in the end!) happily loading up his plate with ALLTHECARBS. Tried not to feel envious as I ate a bowl of porridge and sipped at black coffee.

Leaving the hotel soon after brekkie, I had decided to follow the rule all runners should obey – WEAR NEW SHIZ ON RACE DAY ! I had a new pink vest top on (which matched my new Brooks running shoes perfectly!) aaaaaand a pair of new shorts. Oh the shorts. More on the shorts later.

Made it to the start at Camperdown Park without too much fuss bearing in mind I had no idea where I was going and picked up my race number. After muchos fumbling a very nice girl helped me put my number on the back of my top (thank you btw) I then saw a lady who’s blog I love, but was too shy to say hello. I thought I would be standing on my own forever, but managed to spot a rather cool dude and very inspirational runner I follow on twitter.

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Anyhoo, the race started at 9.30 after some slight confusion over starting times, predicted finishing times and pens. Crikey let’s get this show on the road, I just want to FINISH. Set off chatting away to the cool dudes I had encountered, until the serious athlete zoomed off at mile 1, and the rest of us settled into our pace. The first three miles were mostly uphill. Through a steep muddy trail path. My trainers are quite new. And gloriously, spotlessly pink. Or at least they were. Never mind, after the first three miles of muddy trail the race course turned into a steep downward stretch that would continue for sometime. Yaldi.

I started off with this notion that I wanted around 4 hours – the time I ‘should’ have got for Manchester. However as the race progressed it became apparent to me that if you sign up for an event two weeks before and your Marathon training consists of an 18 mile run then perhaps 4 hours was slightly ambitious, nevertheless, I ploughed on.

For the first 10 miles I settled in behind two seasoned runners, one wearing a Loch Ness marathon tech tee, the other was wearing the logo of an English marathon I forget the name of. I wasn’t listening to music, just chilling and soaking up the atmosphere. I was going great guns, I sailed ahead of the two elites I had been shadowing. It got hotter. It was 24 degrees (felt like 40!!) and not a cloud in the sky by mile 12. The sun was bearing down. I felt sick. I decided to take it easier on the pace. My shorts were chafing. This was very annoying indeed.

At mile 19 it all sort of went to pot, but I kept jogging. When I think of my time at mile 19 I am gutted I let my head take over but it was a hot day and it was perhaps wise to start taking it easy. I loved the course, especially the bouncy bridge and along the sea front.

It got hotter. I walked through the next water station. I started hallucinating a bit, and I felt quite sick to my stomach. Felt so dehydrated but my stomach was so upset I couldn’t drink any more. I had put my les mills music on to try and refocus and every time I shut my eyes in the sun I thought I was in a Body Pump class. The run turned into a slow crawling jog. In my mind I was running, but snails, tortoises and sea slugs were blazing past me. A lovely runner from Wee County Harriers told me I was doing well as I passed her at mile 23, I probably appeared a bit ignorant, I smiled (grimaced) and mumbled thanks but felt too out of it to talk. Sweat was pouring from every part of my body and I felt as if my brain was going to go on strike, declare that it was fed up of my insanity and float off somewhere.

Last few miles of the race were uphill back to Camperdown, at mile 24 I ran into a lovely lady I had met at the start and we kept each other going until she finally sped off for the last mile, finishing a minute or two in front of me. That last mile seemed to go on forever. Back to the lovely country park trails, but felt too exhausted to enjoy the scenery. When will this be over?!???

Finally turned a corner and the last lovely Marshall who told me 100 metres to go!! Thank goodness!!! What a lovely welcome for a smaller race, plenty of cheering and clapping from spectators and other runners who had already finished. Was so relieved to have finished in one piece, the sun was relentlessly hot!! Drank my 500ml bottle of water in a one-er, collected my goody bag then headed back to Glasgow where I proceeded to drink 2 litres of water. One day post race and I’m still feeling dehydrated tbh!!

Nevertheless it was a good experience, lovely interesting course, encouraging marshals and I shall definitely be back to Dundee next year if I can, no PB for me with a time of 4.33, but watch this space!!

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I Runz.

It has been suggested by someone far greater than my humble self that I begin this thang by explaining exactly why I love to run.  Trouble is, I’m not sure exactly how, or why…I just do. 

My fitness adventure began in 2011 when I decided, after a few years hiatus to re join the gym. Because when you are in your mid (ho hum!) twenties and your life is going nowhere you might at least be fit while you fuck it up, right?!  So anyways, joined the gym, spent a few months faffing around on the cross trainer and rowing machine, discovered fitness classes (Les Mills in particular) and every so often (usually when a friend would drag me to some godforsaken waste of time class like Zumba, I would go for a jog on the treadmill, just to feel as though I’d had a good workout. 

Anyhoooo, I had always been inspired by my friend R.  She had fallen in love with running and could often be seen posting pictures and statues on Facebook detailing her running achievements.  I was in awe of her.  She looked awesome.  She had kept mentioning the Glasgow Bupa Women’s 10k, an event she had done for a few years.  A seed was sown…

I entered the Women’s 10k in 2013, along with a few friends, who didn’t really run but were doing it for charity.  Race day arrived.  I began by drinking water.  Loads of water.  A shit ton of water. Can you tell where this is going?!  I finished my very first race in 1.03.51 after a painful stitch, and having to wait ages in a queue for the portaloos at 6k (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!).  It poured with freezing cold rain the entire time.  I remember tacking the infamous hill in Pollok park at 8k thinking ‘THIS IS NOT FOR ME!!!  NEVER AGAIN!!!)

So anyway, that was it. I injured my ankle pretty badly a few weeks after the 10k and decided no more running.  Started to get back on my feet (haha!) in July and got back to my beloved Body Attack and Body Pump classes.  A friend of mine had tweeted that he was doing the Paisley 10k at the end of August, hmmmmm…that 10k in May wasn’t THAT bad, was it?!  

Entered the race. Had the lowest expectations EVER after my experience in May.  Decided I would actually train for this race. Winging it as per usual.  Race day came and my experience was a complete turnaround. The day was gorgeous, bright blue sky, blazing sun. With my Body Attack music blaring in my ears I blazed (cough – trotted – cough) my way round feeling amazing. Crossing the finish line was just out of this world. I couldn’t believe that I had done it. I  RAN A 10K EVERYONE!!! I was so unbelievably happy, shocked and delighted with myself. 

My time was 58.08 and I was on top of the world.

A few few days later I was chatting to my runner friends N and J, both of whom have been running for years. I was lamenting at large, with gigantuan hand movements and facial expressions how much I enjoyed the race day and experience as a whole. 

N asked if I was going to do the Great Scottish Run in October.  Another 10k in October? Cool beans man, why not?!  N replied, not the 10k, the half marathon!  Ummm. Half marathon?! Me – the gym bunny chubby jogger?!

N replied – if you can run 10k in under an hour then you can do a half marathon no bother.  N is smart.  I trust her.  I asked J what she thought, J who in addition to being a runner is also a badass gym instructor, replied, ach you’ll get round no bother!  I trust J too. She is similarly awesome. 

Half marathon in 6 weeks?!  What?!  Me?!  No way man!!!  I mean, maybe…hmm…