Stonehaven Half Marathon 2012

Gun Time: 1:56:33

Chip Time: 1:56:00

Position: 180/266

Gender Position: 26/75 (Category Position: 19/46)

Medal:  Yes (+ goody bag!)

It’s all about the …. buh-bling, buh-bling..

I was not looking forward to this race, which means it is exactly the kind of race I should be doing more of.  After foolishly entering without even glancing at the elevation profile, I discovered that this course was rather unpleasant, hill-wise.  Oh, and I suck hard at hills.

On a brighter note, my friend Ronnie (from the gym, where I spent roughly 83% of my free time, much to my boyfriend’s irritation, as he would prefer I spent 83% of my free time dressed in a maid’s outfit ‘servicing his room’) had entered the Stoney half on Friday night, just shy of entries closing.  On a whim.  His longest ever run, before today, was just over 8 miles.  He’s sensible that way.  Anyway, this meant I had a lift there and back, which is always good news for me!

I was picked up at 9:45 and we headed to Stonehaven.  Once there, we ran into Caroline (a spin instructor at the gym) +1, Rhona and Kynon, a few runners from Twitter, and I was introduced to some of the Aberdeen(shire) Fetch crew, which was nice as it’s always good to be able to put a face to a name (even if that name is merely a screen name).  After registering, Ronnie and I had to trek back to the car park to dump any unnecessary belongings, I shoved my mp3 player and 2 gels into my bra (because I’m classy like that), and then we headed back for pre-race mulling.  Just after 11, the runners began to assemble at the start line, and we were (I believe) briefed on the race, but the only thing I could make out was ‘Keep to the left!’

Me and Ronnie at the start line, gels and mp3 player giving the illusion of weird growths on my chest.

When the horn sounded, I was not totally prepared to run a half marathon, but off we went!  My goal, other than ‘finish it’, was to try to maintain the pace I’d love to run my debut marathon at.  I was actively slowing myself down during the first mile, and it was annoying.  Thankfully (ha!) the ENORMOUSLY DICKISH HILLS did a fine job of keeping my pace way down for the first 4 miles.  Thank you hills, you had my back.  As I kept my music off until mile 8, I was able to have little chats with a few of the people struggling alongside me as we trudged forth.  This was particularly useful during a walking break (I know), when I spotted a photographer up ahead.  I instructed my companion to ‘look alive’, and we bounded past the snapper, before breathlessly continuing up Cheyne Hill (at least that’s what my new BFF said it was called).  FYI: Cheyne Hill is a strict mistress.  And I don’t like her.

Me + BFF (Photo: Stonehaven Half Marathon website)

Once the downhill bits began (and after angels sang Hallelujah in my mind), I left my buddy in my wake, chugging along at a respectable pace.  The downhill bits were sweet.   I don’t really know how I can put into words how much I appreciated them, but know that if they were a person, I’d consider naming my firstborn after them.  It was around mile 6 when Rhona came zooming past me.  She had spotted Kynon up ahead and was determined to catch him.  After all, she couldn’t let her boyfriend beat her during his first half marathon, right?  I considered following her, but looked down at my pace and thought ‘fuck that.’  She was making some good progress when another ma-hoo-sive hill decided to just turn up out of nowhere and shit on everyone’s parade.


Thankfully, near the top of the hill (I thought these were meant to be over and done with!) there was a water station, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I walked a bit more.  It was the nicest 30 seconds of the race up until that point.  Hands down.  After sucking down a gel (and getting sticky gel crap all over my hands, which annoyed me for the rest of the race) I picked up the pace again, and started to enjoy some more downhill sections.

After another mile or so I passed Rhona again.  She had her earphones in (and I might have as well) so didn’t bother with any chit chat (which would have consisted of me panting and repeating ‘I hate hills’), and I also spotted Caroline +1 up ahead.  I caught up to them, and they both seemed to be struggling a little.  I mentioned that they were over halfway there and it was all downhill from there (I didn’t know if that was the truth or not, but that’s what I would have wanted to hear).  Then I took my second gel and marched onwards.

The next 4 miles or so were along a busy-ish road, and I felt pretty strong as I slowly picked off runners.  I caught up to Kynon and gave him the heads up that Rhona was coming for him, and then continued on my sweaty way.  It was about here that my heart rate monitor strap starting really digging in under my bra (this always happens when I run over 10 miles), and I knew that I’d be stinging badly in the shower later on.  Up until this point, I was pretty sure I was putting in a dismal performance, but my pace was good, and I realized that as long as I kept it up, I’d manage to finish in under 2 hours, something that seemed near impossible during the first 6 miles.  Awesome.

More uphill before the final stretch (Photo from SHM website)

The last couple of miles flew by, and I was amazed I wasn’t feeling more worn out.  I kept picking off a couple of runners here and there, and before I knew it I was back on the field staring ahead at the finish!  For maybe the first time in my life, I held back and did not sprint the last 400 meters like a douche.  This meant that when I crossed the finish line, I didn’t feel like I needed to blow chunks; result!

Don’t be fooled by the placement of this photo – I only look this fresh BEFORE a race!

I fully took advantage of the drinks section in the finishers’ area, and re-hydrated like a beast.  I got my medal and my goody bag, then went to meet Ronnie, who sickeningly managed to run his first ever half marathon in 1:46:35.  I was also approached by a guy who asked ‘Are you medal slut?’  A fan!  Hello, reader!  Rhona came in soon afterwards, smashing her PB and managing her first half in under 2 hours (and her 7th half marathon ever), followed by Kynon, who she had clearly managed to hunt down!

Pre-race nerves (unfounded, it turned out)

After the race, there was a selection of sandwiches and cakes on offer, which looked delicious, but I couldn’t stomach.  I had a couple of bananas, and all the high5 fluid I could get my hands on.  Originally, the pub had been planned, but the rain had started coming down and I really wanted a shower and my sofa, so Ronnie and I said our goodbyes and headed back to the car.

The finish! (Photos, again, from SHM website)

So that’s half marathon number 3 in the bag.  Next up?  Tough Mudder Scotland (unless I have another impulsive moment) in two weeks time.  And now, time to get intimate with my foam roller, because I’m really into self-harm today.

20 thoughts on “Stonehaven Half Marathon 2012

  1. Great blog post. I really enjoyed reading about your race. I bought a foam roller about a week ago to help with an injury. Jury is still out on how effective it is, but many friends rave about them. Have you had your roller for a long time? Do you feel that it does anything?

    • It’s good for tight muscles – and I am guilty of having tight muscles because I am ridiculously under-zealous about stretching. It hurts, but I do feel the benefit if I keep up with it regularly (which unfortunately, I can’t say that I do). I mainly use it when I have a cause for concern, which is probably too late!

  2. It’s a real challenging course isn’t it? Very hard to maintain a steady pace throughout; I definitely threw caution to the wind and just ran by feel – my garmin splits are hilarious, a mixture of everything between 7 and 11 minute miles!
    I eventually caught Kynon at around 7.5miles. I thought it would be sooner but he put up a good fight! It won’t be long til he ‘does a ronnie’ and turns up and rocks out a 1:45 half without training.
    Small editorial note – it was my 7th half, not my first! 🙂

    • Hmm, could have been worded better – but meant your first sub-2, not your first ever half. Will see if I can make that clearer!
      And yes, challenging indeed! Kynon did pretty freaking well to manage the time he did for his first attempt, so he totally was putting up a good fight! My splits are equally ridiculous, and Ronnie’s time still makes me sick. 🙂

  3. I LOL’d at many points while reading this post. You should come run in my neck of the woods sometime, we’ve got some mean hills around here, which means pretty much every run for me is a hill run.

  4. Hills on a race course piss me off. I’m kind of a grumpy racer anyway (I start hating everyone and everything and I’m convinced that they are all in a conspiracy against me and my pace goals), and whenever I come to a hill, I just want to murder it and its uprightness.

    Fabulous time! And how exciting to be recognized!

  5. Great blog. Found (stalked?) via Fetch, I’m Frobester on Fetch, I love really challenging hills but hate frequent smaller undulations which play havoc with my pace, on a regular basis. I think however I live in the wrong part of the UK for hills, so will have to get used to using the car lots. Or a train. I also dislike other runners who speed past me only to settle in in front of me, slowing as they do, forcing me to overtake them, and once I’ve overtaken them they’re again trying to overtake me again. Dammit, you’re overtaken, stay overtaken! Enough about hills. Enjoy Loch Ness, I did my first mara last year, which was supposed to be Edinburgh but since I got bored of my training plan about 14 weeks in, I sacked my entry and found another one around the same-ish time. Unfortunately the only one I could find was South Downs, which as you’ll see if you investigate it, has a COMPLETELY different course profile to Edinburgh, hence the 5 odd hours it took me to do it. No amount of people at the start line saying “first marathon, are you serious?” could put me off though, I loved it!

    • Hey, well done on completing it. I’m finishing halfs at the moment DREADING doing double the distance! You should plan a race-cation up north for some hills at some point!

  6. Dare I say that a marathon is more than twice the distance of a half, in a completely counter-intuitive way? I used to think it was two 13.1s, but really, the first half is 20 miles. The final 6, whilst on paper would seem like a doddle, certainly for me were harder than a bag full of hard things on the National Day of Hardness. Have you got any 20-mile races planned as part of your training, or are you tapering now (I’ve not seen when Loch Ness is)?
    Thanks by the way, the medal I got at South Downs was lovely, and not in any way phallic!

    • Ha ha, lucky you!

      Loch Ness is at the end of September, so I’m a couple of weeks into official training. I have a 17.5 mile race in August, but have yet to find anything longer to use as training. I’m also doing a half in September (at the start), and have time to do the 10k before, so that’s quite tempting for 19+ miles… Plus, 2 medals in 1 day – that can’t be bad, right? 🙂

      • Hmm, doing a 10k before a half? Okay, two medals, but at what cost! I wonder how tempted you’ll be to run the 10k at balls-out (or the equivalent…) pace and end up slogging round the half wondering why you ever decided to race twice on the same day…

      • Nah, I’ve got a friend running the 10k and a friend running the half. I’d go at whatever pace they wanted and enjoy the freedom of not racing for time!

    • Simon is sooo right; the first 20 miles of my marathon were fairly easy and comfortable but the last 6.2 (yes, the .2 is too important to round down) was brutal. The coaches on our training team had talked to us about creating a mental tool-box to get us through the difficult portions of the race. I realized, somewhere around mile 19, that my mental tool-box was filled with plastic children’s toys.

  7. Congrats on the race! I’ve entered my first ever half marathon in Sept, The Great North Run in Newcastle. Only started running a few weeks back so reading blogs for inspiration!

  8. Ahhh I have just seen this blog. I signed up for Stonehaven half 2016 and only just now realised how hilly the route is! It says on race page no headphones allowed – is this a strict rule? I have never raced any kind of distance in silence :S

    • Hiya – I think races usually have that in their blurb for insurance purposes, as the race is on open roads, but I likely had headphones in when I ran this in 2012! The route is indeed hilly, and I hate to break it to you, but they have recently changed the route to include even more climbing! Thankfully, what goes up must come down, and it makes for a very pleasant second half. This was only my second half marathon, and it remains my second fastest half marathon time. Good luck! 🙂

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