Gun time: 2:01:24
Garmin time: 2:00:51
This is the first race where not only have I seriously considered DNS’ing, but I have also legitimately feared I would DNF. Regular readers may now be used to the fact that I don’t take rest and relaxation before a race seriously, but Sunday’s half marathon was something else. But hey, at least I learnt something, as I’m fairly sure I could cope with a half Iron Man without any further training. It just wouldn’t be pretty.
I started off my week with a 6.5 mile run on Monday, followed by an 8 mile run on Tuesday. Wednesday was a punishing spin and abs class, with a 30 minute warm up on the elliptical, and Thursday was my long run, 17.5 punishing miles. Considering I’m a city dweller, most of my runs are relatively flat, so Thursday was noteworthy:
Friday was a quick almost-four mile run up a hill and back down, and Saturday was a 60 mile cycle with Ian and our friend Dylan through Aberdeenshire hills. My quads were not impressed by this:
Yet we remained in good spirits, posing by a stone circle next to a farm:
After our cycle, Ian and I had an enormous dinner and felt hungover for the rest of the evening. Obviously we need to tweak how much water/fuel we take in during these longer rides. I reluctantly set my alarm for 6:30 am on Saturday night, and resigned myself to the fact that tomorrow was going to be unpleasant. I have only myself to blame.
Despite feeling like I got precisely 3.7 minutes sleep, several time keeping devices assured me that Sunday morning had arrived, and I needed to get dressed and make my way to Ronnie’s for a lift to Dundee. Sidenote: Ronnie has started his own running blog, and you could do worse things than click through on the link and have a read. I was first to arrive, followed shortly by Susan, and finally Lauren, and her mountain bike. You see, our lift was only one-way this time, as Lauren and Ronnie were heading off for mini-adventure straight after the race, so Susan and I were getting the train back to Aberdeen. After using my master Tetris skills to slot Lauren’s bike into the car, we were off.
An hour later, we had arrived at Camperdown Park, and we quickly got registered. The fact that it was a real effort to walk uphill to registration was not a good sign. Neither was the fact that Susan was suffering pretty badly from car-sickness. Ronnie was gunning for a good time, and while the half DRAM is ‘chip timed’, there are only timing mats at the end, so you essentially get a gun time. Susan and I were feeling like crap, so we eventually persuaded Ronnie that he would be better off leaving us behind. Turns out he was, because that’s the last we saw of him until the finish! We were, however, joined by Teri at the start, who was up for an ‘easy run’, which is why she obviously decided to run with me and Susan. Way to boost our ego. I jest. Kind of.
Before we had a chance to kill any last shred of enthusiasm, we were off. The first couple of miles are kind of uphill through trails, and, like last year, it was pretty congested. I knew this would be the case, but I also knew I would be hurting, so I actually didn’t mind the hold up (at one point we came to a complete stop). I was seemingly in decent enough spirits at this point, if photographs are anything to go by:
Teri and Susan are on either side of me in this photo, but obscured by people. How inconsiderate of them.
We eventually came out of the trails, and then started going downhill on what seemed like a cycle path. By this point the sun had come out, and I was feeling better. My companions seemed to appreciate this heat a lot less than I did, but we kept a remarkably alright pace. Strangely, it was even feeling effortless, and every time I glanced down at my watch, I was amazed to see that we were at least a mile further than I thought. I guess delirium will do that to you.
Around mile 7, Susan was beginning to struggle, and told us she was going to take a walk break, but urged us to go on. We decided we would take an extended walk break through the next water station to allow her to catch up, but she’d had a pretty shitty week that had caught up to her, and her race kind of fell apart here, we later found out. Teri and I went on together, and nothing noteworthy happened. At about mile 11, Teri decided she quite fancied a sub 2 finishing time, and tried to convince me to speed up. Her words of motivation fell of stubborn ears, and I told her the only way she would get sub 2 is if she left me behind. Which she did. At remarkable speed. She even caught Ronnie!
Just over two hours after I had started, I crossed the line feeling strong, and not sweating. Unlike my friends, which I found out, to my horror, when I had to touch them during our group photo at the finish:
After the race, we got on the next bus back to the start, and began the mad rush to transport me and Susan to the train station. We made our train with about four minutes to spare, and then finally had a chance to relax as we made our way back to Aberdeen.
15 half marathons, complete!