After finishing Chester and Pennine Barrier denying completely the idea that I will NEVER be crazy enough to do 5 of those in the next 6 months… I started considering it.
I mean I’ve done 2 races already without dying, no injuries, and for the most part, enjoying them. I thought I can totally do 3 more… so the planning for the GRAND SLAM really started.
I had a month to recover between Pennine Barrier and U. Scotland but I knew the real challenge to achieve the Grand Slam was the jump between U. Scotland and Wales. But decided to ignore that – for now- and prepare for U. Scotland. Which was the closest race to home, Glasgow.
As you know by now, I am from Mexico, and my parents usually visit during those months June- July, this year wasn’t the exception which was great because I’ll have them for extra support and help with the logistics of a point-to-point race.
Parents arrived and off we go into our adventure, taught my mum how to drive on the other side of the road on the way up, and hoped for the best.
Booked a cute Airbnb cottage close to the start line, a very nice lady owner of the cottage lived just in the attached house, we had a nice chat and she was telling me there were other runners using other rooms at the cottage, they were already in bed since they were running the 100 miles. We settled, went through the plan, gave the crew estimated times and postcodes where they should be and drive, laid out my clothes, went for dinner, and off to bed.
Of course not being to sleep, going through my morning routine in my head to make sure I didn’t forget anything… until a thought came into my mind… I didn’t see my running top bra when I was lying my clothes out?! I jumped out of bed to discover that … Yes, I have forgotten my running bra …. PANIC! It’s probably 11 pm at night, in the middle of nowhere, where am I going to find a top that fits me?
I emailed the organizers which I know there are a couple of girls on the crew and prayed they may have a spare one in my size that I could borrow… but while waiting on the email back… I remembered the owner of the cottage, she looked around my size, and she was talking about she liked running as well. So long shot, but I called her, apologized for the time and ask for the weirdest favor a guest had ever asked probably – she was the nicest! and brought to my door a couple of options for me, they all fitted great and Ill be forever grateful. This could have been a very costly mistake.
( side note: the organizers were soo responsive as well, can’t imagine how busy they are the night before a race, and they had the time to reply and offer help. I replied right away, thanking them and letting them know I have sourced one – lol)
The morning of the race, super early wake up , so I have enough time to have coffee, breakfast and toilet time. At this point, I do have good timings on this coffee-toilet ratio, and off we go to the start.
Great amenities at the start, and enough parking, which is appreciated, definitely takes off a bit of pressure knowing that is one thing less to worry about, and even a piper ! Loved it! so my parents.
Parents with plan on hand, ( me a bit nervous about leaving them driving on their own for the first time ) , hoping this top-bra isn’t going to bring any issues, and off we gooooooo.
Beautiful scenery, the route is easy to follow, rolling hills, different terrain from the previous ones, definitely a bit more friendly, thank god wasn’t toooooo boggy.
Suddenly there it was the Wanlockhead Community Centre, I was surprised to see lots of people, crew, families, friends, was a vibrant checkpoint. My parents of course started cheering as they saw me coming in. First time I have this VIP crew with me, how cool! I can sit down. Sent Dad for some soup, which he brought in the cup ( with no water – haha) so I had to send him back and explained how to prepare a soup ( this is not massively popular in Mex) you can see him asking where to get hot water from - lol. bless him.
I thought it was comical having to teach my dad how to make soup in the middle of a 50-mile race. Mum was in charge of the kit, I felt soooo spoiled, she took my shoes, socks, dried my feet, new socks on, I mean until now I always had to do all that by myself, and having them there was absolutely a blessing.
First experience of a checkpoint with crew, went well, I’ll consider hiring them for the next one… they still on probation, since I had to teach them how to make soup.
I noticed a bit of change of weather, of course, Scotland , being Scotland, as soon as I left the community centre, rain- crazy wind and hail while going up to the hills… great Scottish weather and a bit painful too.
The rest of the run went nice and smoothly meet a couple of lovely people on the course, some doing the 100 miles , some the 50. At the last stretch, coming down onto the town, I started seeing a lot of cows going over the road, where I was about to cross ( side note: I am TERRIFIED of cows) I seen 2 runners just ahead of me, and started screaming asking if I could cross the cows with hem, soo nice they waited and helped to move the cows away. Eternally grateful otherwise I think I may just sat there and cry waiting until they moved.
I was so energized by the end even though it is over 50 miles I was surprisingly feeling really good yeah broken but good, maybe the thought that my parents were waiting.
YAY, I can see the finish line, so excited, first time I will have my parents there cheering, big sprint to the end… to find ….nobody there … (of course the amazing race marshal) but no parents – hahahaha- Omg did they get lost? What if they had an accident or something?, they had one ONE job. Be here haha bit of a rant.
But all good, they were just running late because they couldn’t find any place open to bring me food and got a bit lost as well.
Thought they would be stressed about missing my amazing finale but they just jumped out of the car laughing and looking like they were having the best time… So I decided to forgive them – haha –
Booked a hotel close to the finish, lovely people, parents came helpful especially mum helping to peel the clothes and with the shower. Dad fixed the room and clothes away.
The next day we had time to enjoy the wee town, the farmers market for a bit, and back home. Unloading the car, I started looking for my trainers … dad? Where are my trainers? He just remembered putting a smelly bag in the bin cause he thought it was rubbish… ERM dad those were my trainers!!!
Called the hotel immediately and they were able to find the smelly bag, which I was mortified they had to look, find and smell -that!. But hey, those are the lucky trainers and we still have 2 more races to go together. They happily shipped home my stinky trainers next day.
It was lovely to hear my parents going through their own ultra adventure, I am liking this and they weirdly enjoyed it too, so decided to keep them for the next one.
As always checkpoints were well stocked, and the best response of organizers, as my tracker wasn’t working at the beginning they were able to intercept me along the way and fix it, I always feel safe and well taken care of in this great community they have created.
I even got an autographed BIB from my biggest fans :) My fave, along , of course with my gold medal. Alright, time to team up, recover and onto the next one in 2 weeks.