I knew there would be hills and I knew it would be hard. The big give away was everyone saying “ooo Jess, this race is a hard one”
But still, somehow, I was surprised how hard it was.
Anyway, the race….
We set off and almost straight away the hills began. I looked up at the infamous ‘hill from hell’ and some very English swear words came out of my mouth. Oh my legs. Then some more hills.
About 4km in I knew I was in third place, and I was willing my legs to try and run a little faster, to see where second place was. I will admit, I wouldn’t call what I was doing up the hills running – more like aggressive lunging with some intermittent shouting at myself and my legs to lunge faster. They wouldn’t. I believe I just appeared more crazy to anyone who could see me, and scared off a lot of wildlife. I remained in third.
Unsurprisingly, attempt number two at gels was undertaken whilst running up a steep hill. Clever Jess. Gasping for breath I had to assume that inhaling gel into my lungs might actually work. Another lesson learnt.
My thoughts went back to the wine the night before (a necessary pre race ritual that I often label as carb loading) and whether that was why my legs were struggling…but then I remembered I’d done Body Pump the day before. And, although I’d promised myself to go light on the legs sections, the challenge to go heavier than everyone else in the class always wins over any common sense. So it was the Body Pump’s fault, not the wine. Or the hills. Argument won.
The most amazing moment came as I reached the peak of the hills and realised it was largely downhill from there. Coupled with the rain starting, I was in heaven.
Some people (most) wonder why I wear sunshades during races – they’re prescription. They’re very important to be able to see with, especially on trails. (Yes, I have tried contact lenses. One fell out, into my mouth. I swallowed it and almost choked. Similar to my gel experiences but definitely less beneficial).
The problem with sunshades in rain is that they don’t have built in windscreen wipers – so when the rain comes I have the choice between running through blurred raindrop vision….or running without glasses and just blurred vision.
Of course, I chose the latter. And the downhill guess work began. Lots of screaming / sliding / slightly manic laughing. But so much fun.
Finally I was enjoying myself and picking up the speed I knew I had in me (and berating myself for ever blaming any previous day exercise or wine consumption. Silliness.)
All too soon the end came and my legs, like jelly almost collapsed as I crossed the line.
I am always grateful to finish a race, always. And that one I was just a little more grateful. So I celebrated with a little more wine.
It’s Thursday and my quads finally feel normal (running downhill is effectively eccentric loading, which is known to cause microscopic trauma to the quads. Who doesn’t enjoy that?)
Larapinta. Four days, four races.
Hello microscopic trauma, let’s be friends.