Time: 2:01:17 (CR)
Medal: Yes (though it’s the same design as last year)
The Inverness half marathon was my very first half marathon last year. It was fairly disastrous, and I ended up getting a stitch halfway through and having to walk quite a bit. While I wasn’t planning on racing it this year, I did want to put in a better performance than 2012, and my main goals were:
- Finish comfortably (after all, I have to run a marathon in less than 3 weeks)
- Not walk
- Beat last year’s time
Just like last year, it was going to be a there-and-back on the day kind of race. Ronnie picked me up at about 8, and was subjected to my teenage tastes in music (as I had rummaged through an old cd case and found some classics), and along the way, we both remained unamused at the sleet battering the wind shield. The forecast was not great.
We arrived at Bught Park in Inverness with loads of time to spare, and wasted no time in getting a parking space on the pebbles next to the field where the majority of people would be parking. Or so we thought. Because it was so wet, the field couldn’t be used for parking and everyone was told to try and make alternative arrangements. I guess we kind of lucked out!
Once parked, we braced ourselves against the cold wind and made our way to the hall, where we registered and picked up our tech shirts (which were pretty much identical to the Loch Ness marathon ones from September). After that, we both took advantage of the small toilet queue, and bought some lunch (egg sandwich – delicious!), before sitting down with a couple of familiar faces for a chat.
While people watching (we spotted a Superman, a leprechaun, and a tin of SPAM – it was Saint Patrick’s Day), I caught sight of Paul, one of my team mates from Tough Mudder. After a quick catch up, Ronnie and I decided we’d better ditch our warm clothes, get in the toilet queues, and head to the start line.
During the last (loooooong) toilet break, I met a fellow medal hunter, and also ran into Claudia, who was going for a PB, and asked to run with Ronnie and myself. The three of us made our way outside as the bagpipers had already started to lead the runners to the start line. Last year I remember a cheesy warm up, but I think we were too far back this time around, because I didn’t hear or see anything.
Eventually we were off! I wasn’t too fussed about weaving in and out of people, and decided to just stick to everybody else’s pace until the runners became more spread out. Claudia was not thrilled with this, and, unbeknownst to be, slipped through a gap and charged onwards. Although Ronnie saw her, I did not, and after a few minutes realized Claudia was not longer behind us. She had been having a lot of knee pain recently, so I tried to slow the pace a little to see if she would catch up, and kept asking Ronnie if he could see her. I’ll admit, I was a little confused when he didn’t look behind him, but didn’t really question it, and we kept going. Considering it was a cold and wet day, I hoped her race wasn’t going to be too miserable (which obviously it wasn’t, since she was well on her way by this point).
I had told Ronnie that we would stick together, and I would be his motivator. There was a lot of “Keep it moving!” and “Charge up that hill!” and “Don’t be such a girl!” coming from my direction, and for the most part, he seemed thankful. At 6 miles, he mentioned that he was now on his longest run since the Forfar Multi-terrain half marathon in February, and I urged him to push through any pain, unless it was coming from his ankle (which is recovering from injury). Unfortunately, at about mile 8, he had a problem with his shoe, and every time I looked back, he was further and further behind. His face told me he wanted no more motivational ribbing from me, so I kept going, at this point ploughing through the rain.
I smiled for every photographer I saw, said thank you to all of the super enthusiastic spectators, and tried to chat with anyone that was still in good humour. Before I knew it, I was crossing the bridge again, and less than two miles from the finish. I kept a steady pace until, roughly half a mile from the finish, I spotted Leslie (one of the familiar faces from earlier on) up ahead. Unfortunately, this meant it was game on! I started accelerating until I was just behind her, then coasted until right before we entered the stadium for our ‘victory lap’. Like a complete bitch, I overtook her, and sped up conservatively for the finish (please note my St. Patrick’s Day effort):
After I finished, I waited for Leslie to come in and congratulated her, before grabbing my medal, goody bag, and some water, and moving out of the finishers’ area. This is when I saw Claudia, and because I thought she was behind us, I assumed she had DNF’d, and braced myself for some consolation chat. Happily, though, I was oblivious to her early surge, and she had smashed her PB by nearly 20 minutes. We were both freezing by this point, and she went inside, while I went to wait for Ronnie to finish.
Violently shivering, I cheered Ronnie in, and instead of hanging around, headed back to his car for some heat. Luckily, the gym chain we’re both members of has an Inverness branch, so we went there for a hot shower with no queues, indulged in a freshly squeezed orange juice, and headed back to Aberdeen.
And of course the sun and blue skies emerged once we were on the road. Because why wouldn’t it?