Truth is, before I got to the start line for the half marathon, I knew that I was probably in the running form of my life. My times have been good, I have felt comfortable and I knew that if I was ever going to break the 100 minute barrier again, (I did once before, back in 2007) it would realistically have to be this race. That being said, I didn’t want to go into the race giving myself too big a challenge (I’ve been there many a time), so I aimed for 1.40 as my “A goal” time. However, had I achieved this, deep down I may well have been a little disappointed. I did think 1.38 could be doable with 7mins 30sec average miles, but I haven’t gone over 10 miles for a long time so wasn’t sure of the possibility of sustaining 7.30 speed for 13.1 miles.
Billy and I ended up making the trip to Glasgow ourselves. We had decided in advance not to bring Luke and Scott decided on the morning of the race that he didn’t fancy it, so we dropped the boys off at Granny and Grandpa’s and drove to Johnstone to get the train into the city. We arrived in good time for the 11.30 am start. This is a bit later than I would ideally choose to start a half marathon as it gets a bit too close to lunchtime hunger wise for me!
I had been bold with my application this year, predicting a 1.40-1.45 finish so I was allocated a number in the white fast paced runners wave. This meant I started in the wave just behind the elite athletes. The funnel system at the start line works well as it narrows the field so that it is not too congested.
I started at 11.39 – so still 4 minutes till I crossed the start line from when this pic was taken of the elite field setting off:
I spotted the 1.40 pacer near me at the start line, so I decided to try and hang with him and I saw him there or thereabouts for the first few miles. Billy took this pic, just off the Kingston Bridge:
As I settled into the miles I began to leave the 1.40 pacer behind and I just had to hope I could keep hanging on. I tried only to think of getting to the next mile, the next stage and not to think too far ahead. I skipped all the water stations except the energy stops at around 6 and 10 miles. (Lucozade sport bottles) Fuelling is one my major problems for longer runs, but I know that I can do 10 miles without worrying about any fuelling so I knew a half marathon shouldn’t require too much more and I did feel adequately hydrated throughout. Pangs of hunger did start to appear at around mile 8, but these were completely forgotten by mile 13.
The Great Run ap was a really good addition to this race. You could download the ap to your phone and this enabled you to track runners in real time. It allowed Billy to follow my progress throughout. It gave an updated finishing time based on my speed and gave split times:
As you can see, I managed to up my speed a little after 5km. I relied on my Garmin and couldn’t resist calculating possible best case scenarios with finish times. My mental maths can be so good on these occasions!
The last 3 miles were kind of hellish for me and in the last two miles I had a horrible feeling that if I thought about it too much I might not actually be able to physically put one foot in front of the other. I think I was close to hitting the wall, which may be another reminder of why I don’t cope well with true distance running. The glycogen stores felt well and truly depleted. I tried my best to let the crowds be a distraction, but Billy could tell as I headed for Glasgow Green that I was struggling:
I did feel slightly consoled when I watched the BBC coverage of the elite race and saw that the winner, Callum Hawkins, was also grimacing in pain in the last couple of miles. I was very grateful to see the finish line, but I could not speed up so had to make do with plodding over the line. Needless to say, I was astounded and delighted with my finish time of 1.34.27 – hence the cheezer!
The finishers pack was reasonably good with nice t-shirt. (I much prefer getting a technical running t-shirt that I can wear to run in.) There was the usual medal and pile of leaflets. It was a bit short on food, with just a protein bar. what happened to the banana?
Anyway, I am still frightened of the marathon after my last experience, but that’s not to say I haven’t been putting my time into the RW time predictor to see what it comes up with for a marathon time for me! 🙂 One week on, I feel fully recovered, but days 1-2 post run were sore. Inside, I still have a wee glow of pride. That is the beauty of running and for anyone thinking about taking it up, I can assure you that the satisfaction you feel when you achieve, or even beat your goals, is one of the best things ever.