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My first race of 2015!

Written by Fiona

December 04 2015

I did my first solo race of 2015 on Wednesday. I think that December is a fine time to run your first race of the year! And I was quite pleased with the result.

The year did not start well for me. A bad chest infection knocked me back for months and I spent a lot of the year trying to regain my fitness. I joined a tri club relay team for a short event at Strathclyde Park in the summer and enjoyed that but I never really found my racing mojo in 2015.

I had to pull out of a Norwegian triathlon and deferred a half-Ironman in the Lake District to 2016.

In addition, I have not competed in a running race for many, many, many years so I did not have high hopes of a good result earlier this week in the the first race of the Trossachs Night Trail Series 2015 organised by Carnethy Hill Runners. An impressive 79 people turned up at Aberfoyle to race on a dark, cold and misty night. The acclaimed runner Angela Mudge was in charge of the route and general organisation.

I am always nervous before events and the number of whippet-like runners at the registration in the Forth Inn did nothing to calm my nerves. I worried that I might be last and that I would require the assistance of the mountain biking sweeper to get me to the finish line in one piece.

I spotted quite a few people I knew as well, including Dougie Vipond of Adventure Show fame. He bumped into me as he headed into the registration and because I have interviewed him on the phone a few times I introduced myself. Cringingly, I said: “Hi Dougie, How exciting to see you here. It’s me. Fiona Outdoors!” He took my bonkers introduction very well!

The race turned out to be hard work but good fun. Guided by my headtorch (the super-duper Silva Runner if anyone wants to know) I set off to run my own wee race. I didn’t want to be caught up with a group and I was happy to simply run in my own zone.

At first, I could see the lights of a group of the super speedy runners ahead but as the competitors spaced out I was left to follow just one or two runners at time.

I could see very little around me but it felt quite thrilling to be running at night in race. Ahead of me for much of the race was a man wearing black running clothes with reflective details. The reflective features looked like a skeleton and the lower part of his legs looked bandy. It made me smile as I pushed onwards.

The course was undulating with a few hills. I enjoyed the winding, tree-rooty path through the lower part of the forest and huffed and puffed up the hills. I let my long-ish legs carry me flowingly down the long descents.

I managed to overtake a few people after the halfway mark and I wished I’d known just how close the finish line was because I would have tried a bit hard in the last 1km. In the end I managed the 5.5-mile off-road route in the dark in 43:02. I had not trained for this and I came fourth in the women’s F40 category. Fellow Glasgow Tri Club members, Nick and Vincente, managed great times of 41:22 and 39:02.

It was a satisfying race and a good bit of early-on training for my planned “Year of Racing in 2016” (more details to come!).

I’ll be back from more night-time trail running on January 27th. See Trossachs Night Trail Series 2015.

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