Ok, so it may be getting a little late to still be wishing everyone a happy New Year, but this post has been a little delayed by recent circumstances which I will explain in this post. That being the case, I’ll take a French approach to New Year wishes. I’m told the French take this very seriously and consider themselves rather rude if, by late January, they haven’t bestowed New Year greetings on even the most casual of acquaintances, so since I’m running the Paris marathon this year (and would generally love to be Parisian) I’ll go with the French on this one!
The last time I posted, it was Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve for any non-Scottish readers). I was in the process of retiring the running shoes that had been my faithful friends over a good chunk of the year and getting ready to gear up for my 2014 challenge. I had kicked that off by completing my last Metafit class of 2013 in a novelty onesie (a rather “toasty” experience) which was a reasonably simple way to encourage donations. Here I am apparently holding the plank whilst dressed as a panda!:
What I didn’t mention was that as a result of growing pain around one of my wisdom teeth, I had been for an emergency appointment at the dentist that afternoon. Yes, 2013 had one last health issue to hit me with before the turn of the year! As a result, I felt a bit miserable that night and went to bed early with some painkillers – I know how to party!
Both Steve and I planned to run the annual Blairgowrie Ne’er Day fun run the next day. We have been meaning to do this for a couple of years now and this year marked the 30th anniversary of the race so we were keen to go. I slept badly due to the pain around my tooth and wasn’t sure what I would do, but since the race didn’t begin until 1pm, after a lazy morning and some painkillers I felt ok so decided to put my kit on (we decided to wear our MacMillan vests and set the tone for the year ahead), turn up and see how I felt. As it turned out, I happily paid my £2 and got ready to race – at just 3.7 miles and untimed since it was a fun run, I knew I could take it easy if I needed to.
I knew little of the route other than it being a loop with an uphill start. Since I hadn’t been feeling great and wasn’t sure how well I would run, I lined up nearer to the back but immediately found myself passing people up the hill before making a left turn onto the main road heading out of Blairgowrie. I tried to keep my pace steady and didn’t really pay too much attention to my splits until later on. I felt really good pushing to the edge of my comfort zone and just enjoyed the route whilst encountering some familiar faces along the way, all wishing each other a happy new year.
After a bit we made a left turn to run along past Rosemount Golf Club then at the end of the road made another left to start heading back into Blairgowrie again. By this time we were catching up with the walkers who had started half an hour before us and I was keeping an eye out for my friend Robert who was taking part. Somehow I managed to miss him but heard him call out “happy new year” so was able to turn and return the greeting. At this stage in the race I was also running near to our local MSP who is a pretty decent runner. I once beat him in a race in Pitlochry, but that was a few years ago now and he has improved greatly since then. I decided to keep him as a target and see how close to him I could finish. We were pretty level for a while, but unfortunately he got away from me in the last half mile as he had an advantage over me – knowledge of the route – which meant he knew exactly when to speed up for the finish. I did speed up when I was able to see the finish, but it was a bit too late to catch him by then. Nevertheless, given the circumstances I was pleased with my performance. Checking my Garmin splits, I ran 3.88 miles with splits of 8:27, 8:07, 8:20 and 8:19 for the final section. A good start to a year of running!
After the race there was hot soup laid on in the race HQ and this provided a chance for me to catch up with a good friend who lives in Blair. We haven’t seen much of each other in a while for various reasons but she was able to come down with her wee one and cheer us on which was lovely. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up more often this year.
Unfortunately, that race was probably the high point of the week as my toothache continued to worsen and I ended up needing another emergency dental appointment on the 2nd. Even more unfortunately, the 2nd of January is an “out of hours” day since everywhere is closed so I had to use NHS 24 to get an appointment which ended up involving a trip to Dundee! It turned out that I had an infection and needed a 3 day course of antibiotics to clear it. I was so pleased to finally have a cure in sight that I could have kissed that dentist! However an interesting insight into my priorities came when I went to collect the prescription. I had been repeatedly told that I absolutely could not have alcohol whilst on these antibiotics, yet when the pharmacist dispensed the tablets and checked that I understood this, my response was, “yes that’s fine, but is there any reason why I can’t still go for a run?” Yes, I really did ask that! Luckily, the answer was that as long as I felt otherwise well, I could indeed run. Phew!
After all that turmoil I enjoyed a nice lazy Friday watching telly on the sofa (accompanied by a rather content cat!) and skipped my Metafit class so that I would be able to recuperate then get my training back on track the next day. The antibiotics worked quickly and by the Sunday I no longer needed any painkillers in order to feel comfortable. This meant I was able to pick up my training programme (with only that one session missed) by going for a 30 minute easy run on the Saturday and my long run of 8 miles on the Sunday. It felt great to be running and getting the consistency back in my training and it really set me up for my return to work on the Monday and a “proper” full week of marathon training.
Thankfully, all now seems well with my teeth. It was the worst pain I’ve known and I certainly wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Last night Steve and I finally popped the cork on our bottle of New Year fizz and raised a glass to 2014 – a year of lots of running and hopefully lots of money raised for MacMillan. I’d also like to raise a glass to my readers (even if I am a little later than planned) and wish you all a happy and healthy 2014.
What are your plans for the year ahead?