I can never remember whether Livingston (or Duddingston) have an "e" on the end.
I tired to wriggle out of the Cross Country Relays in Livingston (no e) on Saturday. But there were only 8 of us (2 teams) so I would be letting a team down if I went with my gut feeling and didn't show. Oh well, how bad can 4km be? It's not the distance, the speed, or the lack of it, it is the lack of fitness; meaning I will certainly run below par. I know people that won't go near a race if they are not in shape and I must remember to adopt this principle, as it's no fun, repeat NO FUN racing, when you haven't been training. Because you put in the same effort as usual (ie 100%+) and yet you cross the line way behind the people who had the good sense to do the training and you used to be able to keep up with. So it hurts just the same as normal racing but with the additional pain of wounded pride. Cross ref Bruce Willis in Pulp Thingy.
the well oiled Porty Racing Team
So I have avoided all other race sign ups (excluding Jedbugh Ultra and the Borders XC) and will be hiding away until I have have swapped work routines for run training. It is not injury but work that has kept me sofa bound. I have recently been working outdoors for 7.5 hrs a day (eating my lunch indoors and trying not fall asleep while doing so,) and it leaves me insufficient energy for anything else. Including training. Running has dropped from about 5 days a week to 2, although I have only a couple of days outside left and normal service will be resumed shortly. The work also involved hiring a 6m tall scaffolding tower, assembling it, and working at height, a process that involved mild terror and also anxiety about the possibility of the tower being stolen when left unattended overnight. However it was returned unstolen and I returned to the ground without incident, richer in experience but not with the feeling this will become a regular part of my work life. Nor working outdoors. I think I will be underlining INTERIOR on my business cards.
So, off to Livi for the Relays. Relays mean even more standing around and less running than normal XC and really I have no idea why anyone turns up. Plenty did though. Willie J was egging us on, since last year we placed 4th in the vets age group and we had a faster vets team than last year. Unfortunately many other clubs did as well and I could tell the decent weather had brought out the hoardes and that despite our improvements there would be no need to hang about for prizegiving.
So a bit of a short fast training run (with a sting of hurt pride.) What could be better? What indeed? At least the undulating course - as featured in the Dechmont 10k and all Livingston XC events, is a pleasant and well marked route with various terrains and plenty well mown grass and dirt hard pack through the woods. Hill shoes were possibly overkill and there was certainly no need for spikes. I'm pretty sure Michael F who turned up to spectate could have run the course in his casual shoes and jeans faster than I managed, even with the 10miles in his legs from that morning. I couldn't convince him to wear my number though so it looked like I'd have to grit my teeth and get on with it. I was running third out of 4 so spent the first 1.5 laps taking photos of the competitors. (Since Porty didn't have a woman's team there seemed little point in turning up earlier.)
proper attitude - Gav seems to find a victorious approach to every race he runs
- I could do worse than take note and follow suit.
By the time Micheal G was running the 4th lap for the Porty non-vet team I was doing a warm down and trying to take arty pics of the pleasant afternoon. Happily the weather was near perfect - bright and fairly windless - a good weekend for all the different races going on (Manor Water / Skyline etc.) and I nearly wished I was signed up for them. But the Skyline chews you up if you haven't done sufficient hill training - as RL found out, doing 25mins slower than his recent excellent marathon time. (An experienced hill runner would anticipate a similar result in either.)
Johnny had a good canter round the course catching this Lothian runner on the last climb, before swapping places in a sprint for the line.
The trees were just beginning to turn colour and it made you appreciate that really very close to the urban sprawl and roundabout hell that is Livingston, there are really quite attractive patches. The course was well marked and marshalled and I would have forwarded a big thanks to all involved had I actually been in a position to appreciate anything other than a good thrashing and a short train ride either side. My aim is to get back to fitness anytime soon, (Jedburgh and the Borders approaching at the speed of a train wreck!) if I can find my running mojo, although I am continuing to enjoy recreational running and taking photos of stuff outdoors. I managed to avoid going for a pint immediately afterwards and arranged to meet MG next day for a more relaxing jaunt at Gullane.
Second Lothian victory over Porty:
Michael all but caught the Lothain runner up ahead but again just fell short of finishing ahead.