Sunday, 8 November 2015

Great Scottish Run - Half Marathon

This post is exceptionally late. I haven't been a great blogger of late but there have been far too many demands on my time recently and so the blog posts have been relegated to the back of the pile. For those of you who follow me on twitter or Instagram you might be aware that I ran my first half marathon in October (god this post really is late!!) I thought that it was about time I gave a little update on what that experience was like.

The weekend of the race I was also in attendance at a hen do so it's safe to assume that I wasn't feeling totally fresh on the Sunday morning. Whoopsy! However, I managed to successfully get myself to Glasgow and get all limbered and vaselined up in preparation for the longest run I had ever attempted so far.

At the start line I could see Glasgow residents hanging from their windows with good luck signs for the runners. I wasn't running for charity as I figured that I'd milked all the money I could from my friends and family in 2014. However, as I looked around me I noticed all the wonderful causes that people were running for and also understood just how much these meant to people. This was something I kept noticing the whole way round the course and it made me a little bit emotional.

The atmosphere around the course was electric.  There were bands every mile, people hanging from their windows shouting words of encouragement, bystanders handing out jelly babies to the runners and so many encouraging signs on display. Children who had come out to watch stood at the side of the road holding out their hands to high five the runners. My favourite bystander was definitely the Glaswegian gentleman trying to hand out bottles of Irn Bru from a plastic carrier bag. Only in Scotland eh?

The training paid off and I felt reasonably good most of the way around the course, keeping a steady pace and even coping well with the hills dotted throughout. The furthest I'd ran in training was eleven miles and it was at this point in the race that I started to flag a little. I'm positive that the course markers overestimated the distance between miles eleven and twelve. It seemed to last almost as long as the previous eleven miles combined.

As I passed the mile twelve sign I started to reason with myself that there wasn't very long to go and was determined to finish strongly so refused to slow my pace. Up ahead I saw what appeared to be the finish line so I braced myself and started pushing the pace for a sprint finish. I crossed the line, elated. Then I noticed that the people around me continued to run on.

'Erm, excuse me. Why aren't you stopping? Aren't we finished? Please tell me we're finished' I asked.

The person beside me looked puzzled and told me that we had not in fact crossed the finish line.

'Well, what the bloody hell was that big thing we just ran through?' I shouted, my voice cracking in desperation as I tried to convince my little legs not to crumble, depositing me in a heap.

Apparently it was a wall of supportive messages. Some bloody support. It just about killed me.

My legs had pretty much given up responding to my desperate attempts to move them in a rhythmic fashion and I had started to feel very queasy, which as I've mentioned before, doesn't normally end well for me. There was nothing I could do but shuffle along at a speed somewhere between jogging and walking which Katy has named 'Jorking'. I moved at this slightly awkward pace for the final 500 yards and eventually crossed the actual finish line in a time of two hours and 37 pesky seconds. I was pretty pleased with myself, although I do blame all the high fives I'd been handing out for stopping me from achieving a sub two hour time.

Case in point. (sorry I was too cheap to actually buy the photo)

Afterwards we treated ourselves to a McDonalds, which I'm sure is how all the pro athletes do it. Right? Then I complained constantly about feeling sick and we got the train home and then had Dominos for tea. Really, what is the point in running 13.1 miles if you don't refuel with excessive amounts of junk food?

I thought I'd hate running a half marathon but I loved it, which was really unexpected. As a result of the training, I've found myself enjoying getting out for regular runs and so I've signed up for my next race already! I'm not quite willing to put in the long runs over the cold, dark wintry months so it will only be a 10k but I'm hoping to manage it in less than fifty minutes. I'll keep you posted!