Scotland Race Reports
We knew we weren’t best recovered. We knew it was a risk. But we also knew some of the best runners were going there. We knew many friends attending to the race. And we knew that we would regret it if we didn’t go. So what did we do? Well, just three days after our arrival home from TAR, we packed race kit, warm changing, and RAIN WEAR and flew to Scotland!
As predicted it was rainy, foggy and windy. But the mountains reminded us of northern Sweden, Norway and Island, with the grassy hills. We loved it. Though I was unsure whether to start or not. To be honest, I could barely run on the warm up. I cried a little for myself, realizing my knees were acing badly. But I hadn’t go to Scotland and the World Champs, to stand on the side..
As time went closer to start, adrenaline filled my body, and I had no time to think about pain. I hold my fingers crossed for a good race. 5 km and +1000 hm. It was downhill that I couldn’t jump, and take "landings" as I’m use to do, but uphill I knew I could be OK. What I didn’t like was the individual start. I was chasing Lina and Laura Orgue.. They disappeared quite fast from my sight, so I ran alone and got passed by some guys. I felt I had to focus more on where I put my feet, and how the angle on my knees got in right position, than run as fast as I could. As the trail got steeper and muddier and fewer people were cheering. The rain was heavier and the wind stronger. Though we were at first quite lucky with tailwind that helped up. Pushing the back, and it was fun. I dragged myself, grabbed every turf I could find. When the weather got even worse I couldn’t feel any pain, which was a relief, instead I felt tough, RAW and strong when I started to catch some other women, and even men.
It was a pity we didn’t get any view up on the ridge, since it was all white around us. The wind was now sideways, and my left cheek were frozen. My legs were totally red and I couldn’t feel them anymore. They were moving stiff, by themselves, and my hand were stuck in a weird position, unable to move. The last part was some easy scrambling. But it was slippery, and my energy was somewhere else, and I felt dizzy and didn’t fixed my sight properly, so it was quite hard to put the feet right. I had mud everywhere, snot all over my face, and thinking of this, smiling a bit I realized there was only ten meters til the top! A bunch of runners were fiddeling with their packs to get their rainwear out and start the running DOWN. I was a bit confused and didn’t know I had to punch my timing chip there. But finally it was done, and together Lina and I started the journey down the mountain. Now facing the strong wind and spikey rain..
Both Hillary and Lina cried on the way down, and Lina sounded like she panicked all the way with her heavy breathing. Though we finally came down and could recharge. The second day was all about rest, and support André and seeing other parts of the Highlands.
Lina came down with a second place after Laura Orgue! Silver medal in the world champs!
RING OF STEALL SKYRACE
On raceday both of us had caught a cold. We chewed ginger and hope for a magical recovery. For Lina it worked half way. For me, I had just negative feelings all over. The warm up was even worse than the Fridays warm up. I didn’t really wanted to speak to anyone, but put my fake smile on and kept my fingers crossed for making an effort. I wanted to be racing instead of standing on the side once again. It was boring enough the day before, so this time I wanted to be out there, in the mountains!
The start went off, and I had fun. Where did this energy come from?! It was fast on the road, because everyone wanted to come on the trail first, minimize the risk of being trapped in a que. I felt good in the front with Lina, Laura, Tove, Sheila, and some others guys and girls. Though just after a short time up the trail I got slower and slower, getting no connection with my legs. Hello, are you in there muscles? Some kind of panic caught me, and I started wondering where the hell this is going to end. The mud seemed to swallow my feet on every step. My quick running was non existing, and parts that I knew I should run, I walked. When I took a too quick or hard step it felt as my knee or a tendon in the leg was going to burst. Had someone being hammering on my knees? They seemed broken. I realized I couldn’t push and was afraid of the downhill that was coming.
Up on the ridge, when I had lost both fighting spirit and mode, the muddy, some part technical downhill started. I tried to jump and let the legs go as they normally do. But OH FUCK that wasn’t easy. IT hurts, I’m afraid, I’m sad. What If I REALLY broke? What if my running is over after this? Why race? Should I quit. GOTDAMMIT it’s a long way down. And it’s freaking slippery. Easy, easy. Ok, this is fine. This is nice. Let them pass, let everyone catch me. I’m not risking myself over a race. But oh it looks beautiful there. I’m curiuous. But racing? Nah. Be a part of the World Champs in this condition? Taking place in the race really unfair of what I really can do. Knowing that this wasn’t what I wanted my race in the world champs would look like. If I’m going to take part in an important race. I want to be fair to myself, be whole and ALBE to run properly. But Enjoying a day out in the mountains on a beautiful course, not pushing my lungs, legs or injuires to the edge could work out. Let’s quit here. Take that bib off, breath a little, stop crying and rise up. Cheer on the others and jog that course. Enjoy you’ve got two legs! This was what went trough my mind when I struggled down the mountain to the one and only aid-station. I took the bib off and crie, but told them I had to keep on, sorting some feelings out.
It was like a stone let go of my heart. I was a bit happy again. I ran slow and admired the surroundings. Though in the same time I was so ridiculously self-pitying and low that I’ve been so stupid to start. I’ve could have jogged the course before the start, standing on the mountain cheering on the others, used poles for support downhill. How ever,I continued on the course, and thought, this is fine in this pace. I ran, tripped, smiled, cried. Everything. I even stopped and put on the extra jersey I had put in the vest, and the jacket. Something I’ve never done on a short race like this, when the weather wasn’t too bad. But this time I could, because I wasn’t in the race anymore. Though I put on the extra clothes a bit too late. I had already been really helpful to the improving cold, and later it hit me like a bullet.. Rest of the race went also smooth and slowly. But I wasn’t so happy the closer I got to the finishline. It’s not fun to end a race with a bad feeling, not competing it the right way. People may think whatever they feel like, I don’t care, I cared about myself and what was a good solution for me.
Now, some time afterwards, I actually feel proud of myself too. I listened, finally, to what my body told me. I first refused to accept it first, and started, but realized all I needed was to be out there, not hurting myself, just run in a way that wouldn’t demolish my legs. So, in the end I think it was a good day. A travel I don’t regret we went on. Many insights, new friends, and memories of Scotland I want to keep!
See you out there soon!
(photos by Philipp Reiter!)