Well, after all the fuss, I made it round Thank you to all of you for your advice, support and encouragement. I should even thank Nagging Nancy, although I didn't take her with me. Just me and the Garmin, although that came up short on the distance, telling me that I'd only run 9.88km, which makes me very unhappy However, the official race blurb says that it was officially measured, so I will take their word for it and I will take their time when they send it to me. The Garmin says 1.18 which I'm quite pleased with if it was 10k, give the atrocious conditions underfoot and the appalling mountaineering I had to do.
Have you made yourself a cup of tea? Are you comfy? This could be a long one!
We set off this morning (my friend came up to support me, bless her. Conveniently, she is a nurse ) The first set back was a mahoosive queue to get through the Golden Gates. The second was that the parking was on grass, and it has been raining (and hailing, and snowing) up here for the last few days, so we slithered around for a bit - and then got stuck. As did several other people. Oops. That little problem sorted, we went to find the loos and the start and everything, which were all very convenient, and I looked at the map of the course. Didn't understand a bit of it but I reckoned there would be plenty of marshals around.
We set off and the first 1k was quite nice underfoot as we were on a road and it was flat. My feet were wet and we were skipping over puddles and there was the usual jostling and people cutting in and dodging round and I remembered why I don't enjoy races much. Many of them streamed ahead, which was good, and we passed the first km marker, which was great, and then suddenly everyone bunched up again. We'd come to the first 'hill'. This was a very muddy, very steep grass slope, leading to a muddy uphill track, leading to the first bit of the uphill switchback road.
Basically, the first 1k was flat, and then the next 4km was relentlessly uphill. 157m of ascent. Every time you turned a corner, there was more hill. Some bits were steeper, some bits were slightly shallower, but I don't think it flattened off until 43 minutes in. I'd started climbing at 9 minutes. I know this is relative, because some people would have steamed up this in 20 minutes, but for me it was a very hard slog. I walked the grassy bits, but tried to keep running on the roads. Every so often I had to walk a little - I think some of it was psychological, because it was just the effect of coming round a bend and seeing yet more incline in front of you.
Anyway, of course we got to the top, and a water station at around 5k, and an ambulance, which then nee-nahed past us, sadly, on the way down the hill
While we were on the road I could put on a bit of speed now, except now of course I needed a wee so pulled over for a shewee. After this I could make up a bit of time - and then we hit the tracks again. Very rough underfoot, not just gravel but larger rocky bits, very steep, with runnels down the middle and drop-offs at the side. Lovely! Then we went back onto the grassy, muddy downhill, still fairly steep, so that was very slithery, and finally! we made it back onto the flat and the roads with about 2km to go. I was able to go a teeny bit faster and felt okay crossing the line.
There was just one small incident when I was heading towards the finish line and two chaps said to me, 'Is there anyone left behind you?' Cheeky so-and-sos - I wanted to go back afterwards and stomp them into the mud, but my friend wouldn't let me
I'm glad I did it, I'm really pleased my breathing held up, the weather was kind, the marshals were lovely, the bling was a bit disappointing, there was no cake (but a fish & chip van and a bacon roll van - not much good if you're veggie) and I've done it now and my next 10k will be a road race and flat