Double or Quit

What better way to spend the evening of the 1st September 2012 running a 10 mile trail race – double or quit. The name says it all, you can double up or you can quit after 5 miles. Little did I know that I would be doubling up for the rest of the evening after the race though, puts a whole new meaning to ‘double or quit’.

The 5pm start was at the now quite familiar Shipley Country Park in Derbyshire, where I had done some pudding runs in previous dark, dreary and cold November mornings all in the name of a Christmas pudding. But it was only just September so not a Christmas Pudding in sight, no dark dreary and cold weather just bright cheerful sunshine, a blissful evening.

The start was down at the bottom of the field and started off by a lovely little boy blowing his whistle. I positioned myself 2nd or 3rd ‘deep’ in and we were off up the grassy hill. Immediatly I had got a good position with what looked like just the boys, leaving the girls somewhere behind me but wasn’t convinced I would sustain this.

[headline h=”1″]Let us run with patience the race that’s set before us – Hebrews 12:1

Within a mile I felt a little flap; my sports bra strap had come undone, but no time to flap with it I just had to keep on running. Bra or Braless. The joys of being a lady, and there was more lady stuff to come in this race, little did I know. The joys of being a lady.

Across the first grassy field and onto the path we went. The first mile was undulating, up and down and down and up, some parts I recognised from previous events, oh yes I remember that blade of grass, that weed and that piece of dog muck. Oh and watch that loose stone beneath your foot.

The race wound its way though the park, with such a great mixture of terrain, from concrete paths and lanes to proper trail with real mud, real puddles and real glory. From woodland paths with real tree trunks and real pine needles to dog and bike tracks with real dogs but no bikes.

Some good “British” support came from the local families around the course dressed in union jack colours, cheering us on at all intersections. Ample water at nearly 3 miles / 7 miles and the 5 mile mark were most welcome as the sun was glaring down even though it was around 5.30pm.

[headline h=”1″]I am told there is a hill, but I can’t find it! – Author Unknown

Everyone had been talking about the “hill”. The hill the hill the hill and everything but the hill, and the hill did approach. However it really wasn’t that bad, it was just a hill, just gravity upwards. The worst thing about the hill was that it could be seen but not heard. But it really wasn’t that bad and what goes up must go down and it did go down after we had gone up it.

The toughest section for me was 4-5 miles and 9-10 miles, a flat-ish 1 mile through woodland paths that just seemed to go on and on and on and on (and on and on) until I reached the “double or quit” sign. Yet the marshalling support was brilliant, encouraging us to keep going at all times. Quit go RIGHT, double up go LEFT. One guy infront of me who maybe won the 5 miler quit whilst the rest of us doubled up to lap it up even further. Lovely. Lap it up boys, lap it up. I was keeping up with them too. I might not know where I am but, I am not lost I am following the boys and keeping up with them.

5-6 miles felt tougher than the 1-2 miles, although now I was at least familiar with the route and let my body float more naturally down the hills, racing up and down the speed bumps, bumpity bump bump bump and back into the forestary paths still keeping up with the boys. Running in balance running in harmony. The bra strap was annoying me but not enough to keep me from running with the boys.

[headline h=”1″]Glory to your feet – Albanian Road Greeting

Just after 6 miles my insides decided to grate like coragated iron on a metal cheese grater. It wasn’t stitch, it wasn’t achy it was gratey, girly gratey. Lady Gratey. Painfully gratey. I pressed on, very cautious of the pain – cautious runners, yes, cautious pain, yes. I could feel my pace slowing. I was being shouted at as “first female” and “go lady, first lady” – having this kept me going, could I keep it up could I really be first lady? To prove to my own body that I was a lady my tummy cramps got worse but I tried to forget about them as I dug in deep up the hill again, round the bend back down and onto the mile home straight overtaking a couple of the big boys, one, two, three I am going to get home.

The finish was at the top of the hill that we’d had to run up three times, painful but well worth it as the marshalls shouted out our names as we approached the finish line, a lovely personal touch to a fantastic route, a brilliant race and a lovely atmosphere.

I came in 1st Lady – the joys of being a lady and I think 9th overall with a time of just over 1 hr 11 minutes. Although my garmin said 9.75 miles rather than 10 miles I was more than happy with the time, exceeding my aims of around 1.15, especially as it was trail.

[headline h=”1″]If girls have period pains, guys should be kicked in the nuts once a month. – Unknown

Once I had finished, a banana, a little goodie bag and a cup of water awaited me. I attempted to walk back to my friends’ car but could feel my body doubling over, perhaps I should have quit instead? Being a lady, ladies have bodies that can create pain on a monthly basis that is just undescribable and it hurts, it hurts more than running a 1.11hr 10 mile race, it sets your body into a state of fever, a state of shock, a state of pain that is undescribable. I managed to get through it to watch my friend come in at an amazing 1.42 minutes some 4 minutes better than previous years.

Unfortantly my body did not stop there and decided to continue in its infinate wisdom to create more pain for me, pain of over 3 hours, that involved going hot, cold, cold hot, hot cold hot, cold hot cold, shivering, sweating and rolling in the pain leaving my best friend to nurse me better for three hours and feed me water through a straw. Was this pain worse I believe than running a marathon? Racing and women’s bodily functions do not bode well together. I am a lady after all. I finally made it home around midnight armed with my trophy thingy that I need to get engraved with my time, running club and my lady name. Night night all. Sleep well.


Time: 1:11:22 mins
Position: 1st Lady | 1st Female 35
Overall Postion: TBC (9th?)

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