Official Time: 2:04:46 (PB)
1118th finisher (That sounds pretty rubbish!)
First half marathon, and I was gunning for a time under 2 hours, since I know I’m capable of it. Unfortunately, everything seemed to go wrong.
I woke up with a pretty ropey belly, and to avoid totally grossing anyone out, I’ll avoid any graphic description and simply say that what my body was churning out at 6 am in the bathroom did not set my spirits high, as hydration is pretty important for a race.
The drive to Inverness was stressful. I wasn’t driving, but Ian was becoming more and more pissed off with shit drivers along the way. We also got stuck behind a ridiculously slow caravan, and then a tractor. Stress mounted as it became clear that we would be cutting it close to make it to registration on time. To rehydrate, I was guzzling water and realized very suddenly that if I didn’t get to a toilet, STAT, there was going to be a Paula Radcliffe moment in the passenger seat. This did not help stress levels. Luckily we found a gas station with a toilet, and normal (ish) activity could resume.
Once we had made it to the sports centre in Inverness, there wasn’t much time left, and I still had to get changed and find somewhere to put my stuff. The parking looked crazy, so I ran out, leaving Ian to it.
Much stress ensued, but I eventually registered, got changed, sorted out a locker and met Ian. It was around this point I realized I had eaten nothing since breakfast (it was about 12:15), and thought I should maybe try and fuel up. This did not happen because I felt sick just thinking about food. At this point, Ian left, and I realized that I was exhausted from the stress of getting there on time. Shortly after, the bagpipes started up, indicating the walk to the start line. I felt so rotten I wanted to cry. You know those days were you feel like even walking is an effort? This was one of those days, and I knew this run was going to hurt.
When the horn went, everyone slowly made their way to the start line. Once I passed, I hit ‘start’ on the Garmin and set off, aiming to keep a pace between 8:30 and 9:00. Even dodging the slower runners, this was going well. The first 3-4 miles steadily climbed uphill, and I maintained a good pace. I was hungry, and it was tough, but I started feeling more positive. This positive feeling skyrocketed when I ran past my ex-boyfriend’s parent’s house, because where there was once a grassy meadow next to the small country path that led to their riverside home there was a GIANT FUCK OFF TESCO. I remember his mother (who I thought was a patronizing bitch) used to complain that ‘they’ wanted to build a Tesco in the meadow and that it would ruin their views/be horrible/etc. Man, that Tesco made me smile.
Of course, karma is more of a bitch than my ex-boyfriend’s mother, and for all of my nasty thoughts, I received payback in mile 6 when the mother of all stitches decided to bestow itself upon my person. Right after the uphill struggle, and right before the sweet, sweet downhill section. I was super pissed off. I had to ‘evolve’ several times. To illustrate:
hunched over walking – upright walking – slow jog – regular jog – attempt to run – EXCRUCIATING PAIN! – repeat
This went on for the next few miles, and checking my Garmin only confirmed that a sub 2 hour half was not on the cards this time. I was even more pissed off. I experienced the weirdest emotion-struggle when a woman ran past and shouted back, “Come on, you’re halfway there!” Half of me was grateful for her encouragement and wanted to smile and say ‘thanks’, and the other half wanted to punch her in the face and scream. That’s a strange internal struggle to experience, and I’ll be honest and say it’s the first time I’ve felt anything like it.
By mile 10, the pain had finally subsided, and I finished the last 3 miles at a 9:00/mile pace.
I was never happier to see a finish line and I have never run a more painful race. I felt pretty deflated afterwards, and even getting a sub 2:05 time wasn’t enough to lift my spirits – I actually wanted to cry. I took my medal (one of the only things that encouraged me to keep on truckin’ during the pain), found Ian, and headed to the car. It was time to go home and refuel in style: with beer and curry.
There’s nothing quite like running 13.1 miles on a near-empty stomach, and a 2 1/2 hour drive home to build up an appetite. After a shower at the flat, we headed to the restaurant. I got shat on by a bird within 5 minutes of heading out the front door, but I was so exhausted, and so hungry, I didn’t care, and I dined out with a crusty patch of bird shit in my hair.
On a positive note, the race was well organized, the views were beautiful, and the atmosphere was great. I’m just bummed I didn’t really get into the spirit, but whatever, medal numero uno in the bank – Boom!