I am still on an absolute high after such an incrdible weekend. Who could have thought that running one of the UK toughest marathons on a Saturday in October could have brought so much joy and good times?
What a weekend it was all starting on Friday morning. I hadn't felt very organised all week and had even dashed around Harrogate on Thursday night after work buying a last minute bum bag and 2 new t.shirts in a panic of not knowing what kit I would be wearing on Saturday and last minute panic buying. A little stupidly I had left packing until Friday morning thinking I would have plenty of time with my plan being to leave the house at 9am. However I woke up early on Friday morning feeling absolutely pants with a cracking migraine which left me unable to contemplate getting out of bed until 8am when I then rushed around shoving way too much stuff in 2 bags and leaving the house 45 mins late feeling pretty horrible. Anyway I was on my way and there couldn't possibly be any chance of me not having the right kit with the amount of stuff I had packed. I arrived at my friend Katies who was all ready to set off on our running weekend adventure and the excitement started to build. I felt slighty better about the ridiculous amount of stuff I was bringing when I realised Katie had packed equally as much. Anyway with enough stuff for a week away running we headed to Wales. We were fairly buzzing and most of the 4 hour journey went by pretty quickly, before we knew it we were in Llanberis and checking in at our B & B before heading off to Electric Mountain HQ to register and pick up our numbers. We took lots of photos, most involving the soft toy mascots in the form of a monkey and a grumpy looking panda. Our plan then was to head to a place called Petes Eats for a fairly early carb fuelling tea. Petes eats had been reccomended to us by another guy from our running club as a legendery place ideal for large portions but what was attracting us most was the pint of tea we had been promised. Shortly after registering I had a phone call from Angus who had just arrived and was on his way to registration. Meeting up with him there I was soon introduced to Hobs and met up with Jenny and Red Dave again before we all went out to the car park to Oggies van where I met Oggie himself and Brian, who was busily making cuppas for anyone who wanted one, Hollywood Dave who was every bit the legend I imagined as well as the lovely Libby and David. Wow what a buzz there was whilst Oggie took selfie after selfie and everyone chatted and said hello. This was the point when, for me, one of the funniest stories of the weekend happened. Angus may disagree. Between taking photos the very friendly and smiley Oggie came to talk to myself and Katie with his first question being what sport we were into. Slightly confused I replied running and that we were running the race on Saturday too. The confusion continued a little longer as Oggie declared I didn't look old enough to have run several marathons. Thank you Oggie, being told 1 week after my 29th Birthday that i looked only 20 made my weekend and for this I will love you forever. However it may have made Angus feel ever so slightly pants as when the confusion was all cleared up and Oggie was reintroduced to me as Ali from Realbuzz it turned out that Oggie thought Katie and I were Angus' kids!!!! Ouch! As you can imagine poor Angus took a bit of ribbing over this for the remainder of the weekend. Whilst all this was going on Jim had arrived and with more introductions and hugs we were all there minus Rob Barber, Bolty and Mandy who were arriving on Saturday morning.
After a little more chatting and many more photos Katie and I were off to Petes Eats along with Angus (Dad), Hollywood, Jim and Hobs. This place was heaving, and after carefully reading the menu I chose and ordered Spaghetti Bolognese and Garlic Bread. Well I thought I had carefully read the menu until the very busy lady brought me a big bowl of Bolognese accompanied by garlic bread but no spaghetti!! OOhps I was supoosed to order it seperately. Anyway this was quickly resloved as the nice lady brought me a huge bowl of Spaghetti. All this polished off I followed it with a pint of black tea and a piece of flapjack and was suitably carb loaded in fact I was totally stuffed and glad we had eaten fairly early. It was also really nice to get to know these guys a bit more and we all seemed really relaxed and loking forward to the run.
Off back to our B & B which was right on Llanberis high street, Katie and I talked about how nice it was to have this relaxed feeling before a race and how different it was to take the pressure off and run to enjoy. This is something that I kept feeling all weekend and it certainly helped in making it such an enjoyable weekend. After we got all our kit sorted we were in bed, watched a little TV and were sleeping for about 11pm. I had a pretty good nights sleep and was only woken on Saturday morning at around 7am with the noise from outside of them setting up the finish line which we quickly discovered was directly outside our B & B. This couldn't be more perfect. Looking back now I cannot believe how calm and relaxed Katie and I both were as we got ready, taking lots of silly pics in the room before we set off to meet the others at Oggies van at 9:30 to walk all together to the start line. Here we met a lovely couple, Bolty and Mandy. What a kind and genuine couple they are and both Katie and I really enjoyed our converstions with them both over dinner on Saturday evening.
So off to the start line we all wandered, a little nervous but mostly excited. Here I wished I had visited the loo for one final wee but I didn't think it was bad enough to have to drop my pants there and then on a grass verge in front of 2500 runners so I hoped it was nerves and I would forget as I ran. The start was on time at 10:30 and after hugs and wishes of good luck all round everyone set off and settled into their own pace. I had decided to start with Angus and Dave (Hobs) who were both hoping for 4 hours or there abouts. I really had no idea what I could achieve here, with little running since York 13 days before and not being at my fittest I was thinking somewhere between 4 - 4:15 but I really wasn't bothered. I felt comfortable and relaxed into my run, the 3 of us made good pace from the start, passed quite a lot of people and hit the first climb together. Angus was the first to start pulling away about halfway up and by the time we reached the top Dave was a little ahead of me and I watched him fly off down the desent and this was the last I saw of either of them until the end. I took some water at the top before I headed off down. As I reached the bottom and the turn onto the old farm track I wanted to keep a good pace but was also very careful that I was concentrating as this is where I had taken my tumble in August when we did a little recce of this section. The last thing I wanted was more broken ribs. As I ran I kept making sure I was taking in the views and was really enjoying my run. The thing i noticed most on Saturday was just how quickly the mile markers were appearing, there was lots of chatter around from other runners and support along the way which was nice. I reached halfway comfortabley although I had started to feel a tightness in my left IT band at around mile 9 which got more and more as the miles ticked by. I tried to ignore it and promised myself that after this race I was going to rest and properly recover for as long as I liked. The climb out of the village at mile 13 seemed like a long slog and took it out of me quite a lot meaning the following miles upto about 19/20 which were undulating were definitely the toughest in my mind. By now my left quad was painful with every step and I had started to wish more and more that I had made that loo visit before we set off. At mile 20 I saw my chance and did something I had never done before, but needs must and I was bursting, I smiled nicely at a spectator at the side of the road and asked him politely if I could take a comfort break behind his van. So there I was in the middle of the Snowdonia countryside, pants dropped and having a wee behind some poor unsuspecting blokes van. This just goes to show how relaxed I was about time though as there is no chance I would have done this at London or York. I guess in those cases it would have been slightly more public too though. So relieved I ran on and shortly after I heard my name as Rob Barber came running along side. A quick chat with him and a little boost to see a Realbuzzer running strong he left me for dust. Onwards I ran and starting to feel tired and sore I was still enjoying it as I approached the final climb. This was the one everyone talked about and as I started the ascent I could see what people had meant. I tried to dig deep and keep at a running pace but there was no chance and I decided to take some breath at the water station and walked a little way. The rest of the hill was run/walk, possibly more walk! I looked at my watch and saw 15 min mile pace but I wasn't bothered and I knew that the little bits of running I was doing was the best I could manage. I also had to stop and stretch off a very tight left hamstring briefly but I battled on and finally reached the top. On the advice of Rob I turned and looked back at the view and as he had said it was totally worth it, absolutely stunning. However I had a mile and a half of distance still to cover and wow was it difficult to get back into a running rythm as I picked my way across the uneven path underfoot. And then the descent.... ouch this hurt. I really tried to get down it quickly but the jarring of running down was so hard on the knees and quads and it seemed to go on forever. I was really glad to get to the bottom and onto tarmac before turning the corner where I knew the finish line woud be in sight. I picked up the pace and in my mind I sprinted for the finish.
It was an unbelievable feeling and I was soon greeted with a great big hug from Angus where I had a little triumphant cry and learnt of his great run.. Being lucky enough to have the B & B so close I nipped in to get some dry warm clothes on before heading back out to support everyone else back in. I really loved this too, shouting the rest of the Realbuzzers over the finish line was great. I had now received my text with my official time of 3:53:02 whch I was happy with but I was in shock and over the moon to read that I had placed 10th Open Female. Just about now I saw a flash of a Bingley vest run past as I realised Katie had run a fantastic race coming in at 4:21:39. Brilliant and now we were ready to celebrate.
After watching everyone else finish we headed in to hot baths and got ready for the Realbuzz after party. And what a great night it was with a great bunch of people. Nice food was eaten, a few drinks drunk and lots of laughs were had. We also read through the blog started by Marc along with all 139 comments. Thanks to you all for taking up your time to track and support us all on Saturday it really means a lot and just goes to show what a great community I am apart of here.
Finally thank you to everyone there over the weekend for making it so special and more than just a run. Also thank you from Katie for making her feel so welcome and a part of it. I think you may be reading blogs from her very soon.
I cannot wait for the next Realbuzz event and hopefuly meeting even more of you lovely lot.
Sorry for the very waffley blog but it ws a very big weekend!!
Love to all. I am now off to read the rest of your write ups as I didn't want to do this before I wrote my own account.
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