Yesterday I made a two-hour trek with my super awesome academic mum and a van full of fellow cross country fanatics to the exciting tourist destination called Falkirk, home to the extremely exciting Falkirk Wheel, which happens to be the only rotating boat lift in the world. Seriously.
Being the serious runners that we are, we did not manage to visit the magnificent wheel, although we did see (up-close) a number of signs directing us to it. And that was cool. Although the reason we saw a number of these signs is actually because we took the wrong exit in approaching the race, and were therefore required to wind our way through Falkirk in a traffic lineup that made me miss Atlanta. And that was less cool.
It was especially less cool because we arrived at precisely 1:30, which was also the time when the women’s race began and therefore it was also the time when we missed the women’s race. I am a woman and unfortunately did not bring my boy disguise yesterday and so I could only watch when my six male teammates made their way to the starting line.
My mum and Ruth and I went on a pathetic little jog — pathetic in part because I thought I would die halfway through — and then I ate chips and felt gross.
We also had a conversation about why Scottish cross country is always muddy. My mum said she thought it was because it’s more challenging that way. But I still don’t understand why that would be a goal. I mean, if you’re running an 8k, you’re running an 8k; is it cooler if you do it on the muddiest course or the most pristine trail? And don’t the sudden steep downhill stretches (there was one of these right before the finish line) that are so thick with mud that only a black goo remains where there used to be grass and the black goo makes headway up to your knees — don’t those seem like a trap for the clumsy or injury prone? Just lying in wait, preceding that final straightaway, which you glimpsed as you approached the descent? You think you’re safe and then splooch, you have sunk in. Your shoes will never be sexy and orange again.
My mum didn’t really have an answer to my rather dramatic appeal on behalf of the clumsy. But I’m pretty sure the mud is a plot against flailers and wobblers alike.
What I’m really trying to say here is that the St. Andrews cross country boys braved a seriously muddy course. And I didn’t, but if I could have, I would have, and I also probably would have fallen down. So. Rock on.