21/06/14 – Summer Solstice – 21C, warm and no breeze
We left Penicuik just after lunch and headed to Largo for our hill race. The car was full of banter and Maoam’s (sweeties). Ezmie was doing her first hill race ever, so we kept the car full of words of encouragement. Tracy was on her 2nd hill race in a week, and I was on my 3rd one to date. Thankfully we were joined by Chris D and Duncan who are hill race legends! Susie had sold me this hill race after a chat about it at one of our training sessions, so I decided to give it a go. I had survived Red Moss three days before, and thought after looking at Largo Law’s height compared to West Kip, that it would be manageable. For anyone not in the know, Largo Law rises 290 metres (950ft), is conical in shape and is the remains of a volcanic plug. It’s a 6.8 mile out and back race, mostly trail with four burn crossings and includes The Law (the wee hill)!
65 runners lined up at the start line. I, as always, was nervous, apprehensive and probably (if the truth be told) scared. We were off! There was a mad dash at the start, where my legs were going that fast I thought they were going to fall off. Note to self………do not try and keep up with the experienced hill runners! The route crosses Keil’s Den burn and runs along the full west side of the burn before crossing back over to the Largo Law side. It was fairly undulating and fast, through some fields and then gradually climbing to the foot of The Law. Well, I thought to myself, I was loving it so far……….especially the burn crossings (they’re my favourite bit). I glanced up just before the start of the Law, saw Duncan was already half way up it, and thought “boy, that looks steep” This was the point that I was asking myself in my head “why do I do hill races”? I attacked the hill, far too fast, and by half way up I decided that my heart was going to explode out of my body, and had to sit down on the hill to catch my breath. Plus, there was no breeze whatsoever. Chris was right behind me, chuckling and telling me “come on, it’s not that far now”. A nice lady from Fife Athletic Club approached me, reached out to grab my hand, and said “come on, let’s just take it easy and I’ll run with you”. I seized the moment, got up, and continued up the hill with her. Once I was at the top, I knew it was all downhill from here 🙂 The descent off the hill was fast and fun, followed by the trail path back and the burn crossings again…….yippee! Then, a nice downhill bit of road, to the finish line. I had made it! Duncan and Chris were there cheering me at the finish, and then we cheered Tracy and Ezmie over the line. I managed to catch up with the nice lady from Fife Athletic Club at the end, and thanked her for her encouragement on the hill. It was a fabulous race, beautiful conditions, and the race was so well marshalled.
Will I be doing more hill races?? Of course I will……..wild horses and elephants won’t stop me! The hills definitely take me out of my comfort zone, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…….there’s a song in there somewhere 🙂
Oh, and a big massive congratulations to Ezmie for completing her first ever hill race………and what a tough one it was!
Duncan 11th – 53:08
Chris D 43rd – 1:06:10
Amy 51st – 1:09:00
Tracy 55th – 1:11:22
Ezmie 59th – 1:19:22