Where to even start!!
It’s been a crazy week. The first of a fortnight off work (finally. It’s been AGES) but hectic none the less. I had a birthday (mine and other half’s) and a half marathon and cake-dates and a new bike.
Let’s start with the bike.
Built by Brian and his dad, my Dedacciai carbon framed beauty would’ve cost around £2k new. They have worked to build this absolute beast. And she weighs less than one of my cats.
Then the half marathon happened. Loch Leven half was my nemesis, this year. Last year I shouldn’t have done it. 2 weeks out from Edinburgh and properly injured, I forced myself to walk/run it in 2:27.
This year is a different story.
The plan was consistency and no injuries. I’ll probably know more in the morning but so far the only aches and pains are standard post-endurance niggles.
My splits are pretty even. Although I did set out pretty quick by the looks of things. And I managed new PBs over 10k, 15k, 10miles and 20k. My final time for the half was (I think) around 2:16. I’m so proud. I didn’t walk. Apart from when taking on water. So all of 2 minutes walking in 2 hours is huge progress.
The race itself is brilliantly organised. It’s a very “clubby” event though, so even at my relatively not-shit pace I was still quite far back in the pack. Because it’s such a popular race for experienced and fast 1/2 marathoners and marathoners, they all beast it in under 90 minutes.
I smiled the whole way. I took a gel on around 10k in where there was a water station to wash it down. That was sensible. I got a boost before I started to flag and I really felt the benefit. At one point, I passed my buddy Michelle (another of Coach’s clients) who was in a bit of trouble. I checked she was ok and she waved me on. I managed to shout and wave at a Marshall further up to tell them to go find her. I know she’s fine now and took the tough decision to withdraw (she needs to save herself for Edinburgh in a few weeks). She took the most amazing finisher pic of me which I’ll show you in a bit.
Oh. It was HOT! It rained a bit and was quite cool at the start, but as we turned a corner onto the flat ‘moss road’ on the way to Scotlandwell (where mum, dad and Lissie were all waiting) the wind went away completely and it was MELTING. Short-shorts and t shirt combo was the best choice. Even with SPF30 I think I have sunburn. Oops.
I love this pic dad took of me. Mum shouted “bloody hell she’s not crying this time” and I got the giggles.
Around 11km there’s a not-terribly-steep-but-terribly-steep-after-11km hill. I overtook a lot of walkers and this became the theme of the second half of the race.
Having been in their shoes last year, I seized the opportunity to encourage and try to motivate each runner I passed. I know the route so was able to give those unfamiliar with it, a brief summary of how little they had left. I made some people smile, dished out some fist-bumps and high fives and continued on my journey. That was nice.
I’d had a stitch on and off for a few miles and knew it was because of my quicker-than-normal pace. So I used breathing techniques and sipping water at water stations to make it fuck off and, for once, it worked.
By 12 miles, my head was starting to question itself. “Walk. Just a bit. Go on.” But my legs kept going. I’d been feeling pretty worried about my shins coming into this race but they’d stopped niggling around 4 miles. By 10 miles, the IT bands were starting to ping a bit. And the old hip problems were causing some minor stiffness. But I just kept the pace slower and pushed on.
Once I passed the “one mile to go” marker and ran into the housing estate before the school, I started feeling a bit anxious about the finish. I’ve no idea why I get this. It’s bizarre. I could have honestly stopped here and walked the rest.
But I didn’t.
Suddenly; I burst into a cacophany of bagpipes, cheers and neon Lycra and there was the finishing chute.
I picked up my knees, high fived my buddy as I passed, waved for dad’s camera and sped over the line in 2:16.
That’s 11 minutes faster than last year. And I’m not (so far) broken.
So there we go. And the medal? A cowbell. Odd. And I’m not sure what the link is, but there must be an in-joke in there somewhere between the clubs.
Today I have mostly eaten everything in sight. And legs permitting, I hope to give Stella her first flight tomorrow.
It’s a very exciting time for this budding triathlete.
Huge well done to my future bro-in-law too, who finished in under 2:10. Go Sean!!!