Conquering the Gutbuster

I knew there would be hills. I knew they would be steep.  Knowing is one thing, experiencing is another.  Introducing the Launceston Athletic Club’s Sidmouth Gutbuster 11.6km handicapped race.  Mention this run around Launceston and runners tremble.  Mention you are going to do this run and watch the shock that registers on the faces of those who know about it.  You are either super fit and fast OR just plain crazy.

Saturday was a very blowy Autumn day but warm.  It was 22C which is unseasonal.  It was to be my first run with the Launceston Athletic Club (LAC).  I wrote about this in a post a few months ago.  The Unsporty Woman has joined a sporting club BUT I’m still unsporty!  Husband has been a member but not for the last four years.  He felt he had to come with me even though he has done this run before, I should have taken notice of the pained look that crossed his face whenever the Gutbuster was mentioned!

We had a little hiccup on the way to run. The starting place had changed since Husband did it last.  I learnt a valuable lesson to always check on the exact location beforehand.  I was already nervous and with this and unflappable Husband stating We have a problem (even when we have obvious problems he NEVER says this, he’s always calm and controlled) my nerves, I’m ashamed to say turned to shakes.  Oh dear.  I made a couple of phone calls, Husband drove on and suddenly there were LAC signs out, we followed them, around, more around, back to where we came… we’d just driven around the loop of the run course!  Nerves?  Did I say nerves?  It was steep in the car! How would my running shoes (and the rest of me) cope?

We find the start of the run.  Please notice that I’m using the word run, the Gutbuster is a handicapped RACE!  But I am the Unsporty Woman and I don’t race, I run.  I couldn’t race to save myself!  The people there were so friendly and welcoming!  The nerves were still there but not too bad, how can anyone feel so nervous with all those happy people around?  And encouraging!  We were welcomed along with some other new people and then quite a few came over and said hello and encouraged me.  I’ve been involved in heaps of organisations during my life and NEVER have I met so many happy encouraging people like I have in the running community!  I was very humbled.

I was given a handicap of 15:50.  I watched as other runners went to the starting line in front of me.  Oh my, most were fit and slim and, well, ripped!  There was I, in my skins which hide more cellulite dimples than an orchard full of ripe oranges and all I could think of was why have they put me behind all these fantastic runners???  I quickly put that out of my head.  I was counted down to my start time, pushed go on my GPS and I was running.

In the zone.  I started in the zone, just running not worrying about anything.  I had some energy drops in my SPI belt and I had my nifty SPI water bottle – these were my security blankets to face the ominous Gutbuster.  Running in the zone from the moment I started without the nervous gulps for air and erratic heart beat had never happened to me before.  Perhaps it was because I was so nervous before hand but the run starts going down a big hill so that might have been something to do with it also.

It didn’t take long for two runners to pass me.  I was still in the zone.  Happy.  Looking at the scenery, dotted around are vineyards; the autumn colours were a lovely sight.  I ran down to river level before the first gutbusting hill.  Two more ran by me.  Then I noticed runners coming down the hill.  Everyone waved or encouraged me on.

Nearly there! keep going! doing a good job! Smiles, Waves

I got the shock of my life when I was able to say Thanks.  My voice wasn’t all breathy and exhausted sounding.  I could talk running up a hill!  Have you heard of that saying How do you eat an elephant?  Little bites and chew like mad?  That popped into my head.  Then another saying Chip away at it.  I did.  Little steps chipping away at that big steep hill and before I knew it I was at the top and running back down.  I pass Husband on my way down Hello Handsome I call out.  More big inclines, more big declines, lots of runners zooming by in front of me, Husband passes me, waves, blows a kiss, a few little flats and then the very last hill.  I tried out my energy drops at km 6 and then km 8.  In the few other longer runs I’ve done it’s around the 8 to 10 km marks that I’ve got very tired and felt deflated, this didn’t happen at all yesterday.  The drink bottle was not something I really enjoyed running with but I was so glad to have it, so it will become a feature for longer runs.  I didn’t run very fast and I had some energy at the end, but when I did try to increase my speed a few times my hamstrings voiced their objection with a tight feeling so I eased off.

The lighter grey is the altitude

I did the Gutbuster.  I enjoyed the Gutbuster.  The Gutbuster is my new friend! I ran ALL the way.  I was in control and happy all the way.  This run was the best mind training for the Point to Pinnacle.


The Gutbuster has injected a big dose of confidence.  I can achieve my Holy Running Grail, today I’m a believer.  Where did I come in the race?  I was pretty much last!  One of the slowest.  BUT I can run all the way and up hills and FINISH.  Husband didn’t have a good run.  He was in front of me but he likes to do a good time.  It has spurred him on and he has decided to try and up his training, so while it wasn’t a good run, it has had a good outcome for him.  I’m so pleased that time isn’t something I strive for.  Just distance and running all the way. If I can get to this level of fitness and confidence ANYONE CAN!!!!!!  Just decide to try! Go on, give it a go, put on your running shoes and get out the door 🙂

LAC Gutbuster, yes, I did that! Loved it!  I would like to do it again.

Happy running 🙂

PS my time was 01:17:46

8 thoughts on “Conquering the Gutbuster

  1. I`ve had those nerves too when hunting down a starting line. Not nice. Well done on a great race and a very important post. We need to be reminded that we`re running to improve ourselves, not do better than others.

    1. Thank you so much. I’ve just read your latest post and seen the pure joy in your photos. You just ran a marathon and you are saying such lovely things about my hill run – thanks xxx

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