After two or three false starts from home (forgot the race pack and maps) and a few twinges in the back to remind me of my visit to the osteopath the day before I finally made it to Innerleithen mid afternoon in plenty of time for registration and for the pre race nerves to kick in nicely. As the race is planned to start at 5.30pm with a threat of delay should the day prove too bright I was relieved when we started more or less on time. Having been warned that the best way to beat the queues at each discipline was to get on a good start I set with the thousand odd other people up the first hill and over the wall of bales. There was then a nice steady run along roads and through the park...this was going to be an easy run.....The First discipline;- THE PONDS looks like wet grass until you jump in and suddenly you are up to your waist. Immediately refreshed by the icy water I headed off up the first proper hill, I decided from the outset that I would walk the steep bits having been left behind whilst running by a power walker. The relief at the top was soon overtaken by the descent through the trees. Having tried to control my descent I soon realised that it was better to go with the flow....literally and hope that the legs would keep up. Back onto a flat road which felt strange at first but soon I was wading up the middle of a river. After this came the incline to the SCREE SLOPES. I was quite happy to reach this still in the daylight but wishing I had set off in only T shirt and shorts as my now drenched leggings were trying to get down to knee level. The soaked gloves in my jacket pocket gained me a few pounds too. On to the scree slopes, having tried to pass somebody below once I soon re joined the line and waited my turn. Then over the balance poles at the top of the hill followed by one more delightful steep descent on grass with no trees to grab in order to slow the downward motion. A brief run on the flat then another steep down through trees meant the head torch was now a necessity. Then came for me the worst part which was a very short but steep incline from the edge of the river resulting in exploding calves, down into the town where both the calves simultaneously cramped leading to a decision between stopping and stretching or running on my heels. The heel running released the muscle cramp and I continued at a less than fast pace not knowing what was coming up next. This proved to be a disorientating but uneventful run back to the race village. Finally with the end in sight I was spurred into life by someone trying to overtake me under the scrabble net and managed to put an entire 2s between him and me by the finish line. Then the hardest part of all...untying the chip out of my laces....I advise anyone to remove your shoe...not bend. A fantastic ceilidh then began but unfortunately so did my three hour drive home. Next year I will take the tent! I felt great the day after but now calves and bottucks are as tight as a very tight thing.
Time 1:53:18 Position 226/1000 odd registered 833 finishers