So Larmer is one of my favourite races for many reasons. It’s stunning, hilly and I once made a boy cry by making him run it. He hasn’t run since. It’s also the first marathon of the season for the awesome White Star Running which means there are tonnes of brilliant people there, and the aid station has beer on it. Win win basically.
Now here’s the thing. I can become a little complacent with marathon distance, even though I’m all about the “respect the distance” mantra etc. Plus I had been pretty depressed in the week before, which lead to the perfect storm of me drinking about 5 pints of lager and some red wine the night before and eating very little food. Cue me waking up at 5.45am to get up and feeling, quite frankly, like dog shit. However I have never DNS’d a race, and I had a total stranger coming to pick me up at 7am to take me to the start, so I got up and managed to drink some coffee and get a marmite sandwich down my gullet.
I got to the start with loads of time to spare so drank more coffee and hung out with some of the glorious WSR runners. I also bumped into a couple of the Bad Boy Running lot, who looked particularly fresh and fit and fast and that made me feel even worse. I am an idiot. At least it wasn’t raining. For the first 6 miles I felt terrible - dehydrated and knackered. I was swinging between having a tactical sick and doing something else that I wouldn’t have been particularly proud of, but I kept plodding on. I was NOT having a nice time. To be honest I think that the weather wasn’t helping - it was cold and grey and damp and I’ve been a little spoilt with weather this year - all my races have been gloriously sunny.
Not funny when hungover. Not the only hill.
One of the things that kept me going were the lovely people around me - everyone at WSR races will talk to you, and does. Having a chat with everyone took my mind off the fact I felt like I was actually dying. The problem with feeling like this is you are too scared to eat anything. I am a shot bloks kind of girl but I didn’t want to risk it, so essentially I was starving. I also had a caffeine bullet in my pack but that was defo out. Waaaaaay to risky. I was losing my sense of humour quite fast and the race directors hilarious signs were not helping.
I am NOT winning at this point.
Oh piss off, Andy.
At about mile 10 I decided to risk the shot blok. I still felt massively nauseous which was odd because usually I can shift a hangover after 6 miles. I am obviously getting older and my liver is dying off piece by piece. Slowly but surely I started to feel like I had more energy though and I got to the halfway point feeling a little better. Only 13 miles to go. Ish.
Oh good. Another fucking hill.
This was essentially a training run for an Ultra I am doing next week, so time wasn’t an issue and I decided to practice my walk/run thing in the second half. Again, so many lovely people to talk to and time sped past. The route is stunning - very, very muddy, with snow still on the trails at some points. I was wearing my Altra Lone Peaks which was defo the best choice - they grip so well and it’s like bouncing about on air. The route takes you through forests, villages and farms, up the highest hills and through some totally stunning scenery. I really was trying to enjoy it. Really, I was. I had massive problems on this route with body temperature - I got very hot at the start and then it got windy so I got very cold. I had my Montane jacket so wacked that on, but I found most of it quite uncomfortable. Need to work on base layers.
At mile 20, like a beautiful shiny beacon on the darkest of nights the Lovestation came into view. Not only that, it had a REAL LIFE PORTALOO next to it. The Lovestation is basically like the aid station of dreams. It has EVERYTHING on it and the RD had got me some mini gherkins which I was particularly excited about. And there was lovely, flat beer. LIFE IS WORTH LIVING AGAIN. You always get a cuddle too - which is an added bonus when you are having an existential crisis.
Yep. Run down this well slippy hill. Go on.
After 2 small cups of beer I was off again and these were by best miles speed wise - beer is magical and I really enjoyed the next 3 miles. Probably because I knew I was on the way home. My lovely mum came to cheer me on in the last mile and I eventually made it back to my shiny medal in 5 hours - not too bad for that route and did a lot of run/walking in the last half. And I didn’t do a sick. Or shit myself. Bonus.
So yeah - this race is ACE. Wonderful crew and RD - lovely people, amazing but tough trail and I shall be back again next year - for my 4th year - and this time I will NOT be drinking heavily the night before.
Next up? The Millennium Way Ultra this weekend - 41 flat miles oooop north. Should be fun!