When you haven't raced a 50 for a couple of years there is a small squeaky bum crack moment when you down your porridge and then get in a cab across Northern Liverpool. Down at the start at 5am and it was about 4 degrees and windy.........headtorches lit the park near Aintree as I bid farewell to the cabbie.
The first thing I noticed was the chatter and the gear. There were 2 types. Basic runners. Vest, skinny, wiry.....wise. Then there were the show offs. All the gear.......lamenting about previous races. "I did this" "Well I did that"......and so it was for the kit check and number pick up that I was slightly aprehensive when I hear brash Northern tones from some girl..."I've done my Grand Slam....." I'm going to run the Tahoe Ring" "Me and Killian..." and I tried not to get psyched out. That sort of thing kills me though and I don't usually get bothered by it BUT I was worried about my kit check as I had not checked the email and being 230 miles from home when I check SAID email the night before realised that they were going to ENFORCE some things. Shit. I didn't have half of it. OK, blag.....blag again......Oooh I'll just pop to the car and get it....oh, its in my bag over there with the rest of my club.......Got through.
So with plenty of pomp and ceremony, Wayne Drinkwater sent us off. I felt pretty crap for the first few miles. Running the routes that I do when we escape up to the outlaws in Liverpool, I was quickly on 'home turf' and the first 9 miles I had run 20 times over the last 8 years. I felt shit though. Fat Welsh guys all bravado and spunk and weekend ultra selfie snappers were dancing ahead. I felt cack. Getting past East prescott and then Gateacre and down to Speke I started to pick up. The wannabees and the spunkers stopped to tie laces, pour powders into bottles and check Garmins. I pootled on. Conversation at a minimum.
Then. I woke up. 17 miles in and then I switched into the race. Probably some Caffeine through my veins as I crossed industrial estate and faded matchbox new build and hit the Mersea through its tidal laziness across the dawn sky. All of sudden I was hard wired into the race and the intravenous runners high did not stop. Old Bridge, New Bridge.
Then it happened. The stench from HELL. A quick run past a Northern Bone reprocessing plant. God. It smelled so bad.
A clip on now I blasted through CP3 and 4, spening time chatting to folk on the way. Chatting and then running on. I ran harder and harder and until I felt the wheels were going to come off. They didn't. Mark and I struck up banter. Banter at 30 miles in when you hit Cheshire and run a mile past your old house in South Manchester to a fellow Mancunian is pretty good. One small section of filth and the rest of the journey past runner after runner after runner......all the negative ones was great. We bonded. Across HALLOWED turf of the RIVER BOLLIN. That ran behind my house when I was 6.....and all of a sudden we were not at 30 but 40, not at 40 but 48.
The cameo is always good. We caught another 4 runners, we dropped 2 and then had a hell-for leather race for the line thanks to our guy from Knutsford Tri who had run the course last year. 'I though yer were a slow basterd....' he said as we had had banter in the changing rooms at the start. BLAST IT....I dropped the last mile in sub 7s. KILLED me, but after crossing the line in just over 8 hours for a 50 mile I was pretty gung ho. Burger in mouth, the family arrived before the bar opened. Good thing really as we blasted down the M60, me driving with 900mg of Caffeine in my veins....shh.
This was definitely in my top 3 runs of all time. AWESOME
So the Killian Tahoe Grand Slam Girl......well she came about 5th from last, nearly 7 hours later.....shame.