2013 – The year I did ALL the running…

And so another year draws to a close. For me it really has been the year of running so far. I hadn’t really thought about it until I started to think of ideas for this blog and then it dawned on me that this year I have:
– Smashed my half marathon time by 5 minutes
– Taken nearly 2 minutes off my 10k time
– Completed my first marathon
– Completed my first ultra marathon
– Finally got round to joining a running club
– Clocked up nearly 1150 miles in a year
– Met some of the most amazing and inspirational new friends

The list goes on and on. But if I listed everything there wouldn’t really be much point in the rest of this blog post!

I started the month with high hopes of completing my first Marcothon. All was going really well for the first 2 weeks with me managing to fit in lunchtime runs here and there, taking the dog out at the crack of dawn and even slipping in my daily 3 miles at 11pm after a trip to the cinema. But sods law had it that as soon as my last lesson had finished on the last day of term, I started burning up and was struck down with the dreaded winter lurgy. So that was me out of the game. I even attempted to get back into it after 2 days of bed rest, but my body quite firmly refused and I had to hang up my trainers for the next week. Once I felt better I got back out there, and I have clocked up my daily miles every day since, but I’ll need to wait until next year to give it another go. It’s a tough challenge and even though it’s only 3 miles (or 25 minutes of running, whichever comes first), it really takes its toll on your body. Some days I’ve really struggled and it has felt like such a chore to run the minimum of 3 miles, even though just a bit over a month ago I ran 33 miles! I think my body is trying to tell me it has clocked up enough miles for the year….

Marcothon aside, it has been a pretty quiet December. Term ended, Christmas came and went and now we’re a few days away from 2014. When I think back over the past 12 months, it amazes me to think how fast the year has passed. I’m looking at the race calender for next year and can’t believe entries are open for the 2014 version already. But what a year of running it was. One of the best things I could have done for my running happened this year – I finally joined a running club and what a difference it has made to both my running, my fitness and also my motivation. My new friends have both inspired and pushed me towards my goals and I don’t think you could find a nicer and more driven bunch of people, who not only want to improve their performances but want to push you along on the way as well. A few of my friends have now accompanied the WCH on our weekend adventures and they’ve all said the same thing – what a fantastic wee club!

I’ve already started entering some of my planned races for 2014 and so far my goals are as follows:

  •   A 45min 10k.  – Very achievable if I focus on my speed work and bring my distances back down. Hopefully by the summer I’ll achieve this one.
  • A 1 hour 45 minute half marathon. Also (possibly!) very achievable. This comes down to more mental rather than physical work. I know I can do it, I’m just scared of burning out so I pull back too early in the race. Hopefully achievable at the Alloa half in March which is where I knocked 5 minutes off my time this year.
  • To start going to Park runs on Saturdays. Now that I’m not working on Saturday mornings! I feel this will really benefit my speed work.
  • Run a sub 4 marathon. My ‘A’ goal for the year. If I can do this I will feel invincible. For a while.
  • Become a stronger Ultra runner. I’m hoping to run both the Clyde Stride and Glen Ogle this year as well and sweeping for the Highland Fling. Hopefully running all races very comfortably and not getting injured!
  • Get stronger. I get gym classes for free. I really have no excuse for not trying everything!!

My first race of 2014 will be the Devilla 15k  at the end of February. This is also the first event of my club Grand Prix which I have high hopes to make my mark in next year. Got to be positive!!

So that leaves me just to round-up this years races and events. It’s been an awesome year of training and racing and I go into 2014 with high hopes and big plans.

First high of the year - a good 5 minutes off my half marathon time in Alloa.
March – First high of the year – a good 5 minutes off my half marathon time in Alloa.
Next high - a minute and a bit off my 10k time. Woooo!
March – Next high – a minute and a bit off my 10k time. Woooo!
The beautiful bling of the Edinburgh rock 'n' roll half. Only good thing about this wet and windy race!
April – The beautiful bling of the Edinburgh rock ‘n’ roll half. Only good thing about this wet and windy race!
Meeting Rhona, Ali and Kate at the race the train event in Aviemore. Fabby people who I hope to run with again in the near future!
May – Meeting Rhona, Ali and Kate at the race the train event in Aviemore. Fabby people who I hope to run with again in the near future!
Running up and down mountains!
May – Running up and down mountains!
Black rock 5 - my first club event after meeting these awesome and inspiring people. Fantastic night!
June -Black rock 5 – my first club event after meeting these awesome and inspiring people. Fantastic night!
September - 2nd 10k pb of the year coming in at 48:17
September – 2nd 10k pb of the year coming in at 48:17
September - completing my first marathon with my friend Catriona and a couple of huge smiles!
September – completing my first marathon with my friend Catriona and a couple of huge smiles!
October - Neil McCover half marathon a week after Loch Ness, again with my awesome running club.
October – Neil McCover half marathon a week after Loch Ness, again with my awesome running club.
October - My first attempt at cross country in over 15 years. Fun but drenched!
October – My first attempt at cross country in over 15 years. Fun but drenched!
October - training in the rain with these dafties!
October – training in the rain with these dafties!
November - my first ultra marathon. Glen Ogle 33 in the POURING rain.
November – my first ultra marathon. Glen Ogle 33 in the POURING rain.
November - Glen Ogle 33 with a smile!
November – Glen Ogle 33 with a smile!
November - Last race of the year - the Hartley Cup relays.
November – Last race of the year – the Hartley Cup relays.
The reason I got faster this year!
The reason I got faster this year!


Here’s to getting faster and loving running in 2014.

Neil McCover Half Marathon – RACE REPORT


Official time: 1 hour 50 minutes 36 seconds

Overall: 120 out of 168

Medal : No, but another technical tshirt. Same design as last year but different colours.


The Neil McCover Memorial half marathon is one of my favourite races and routes for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s right next to the village I grew up in, so it has a certain nostalgic element. It’s also a rather small event so I always feel more pressure on myself to do my best and try not to come last! And it’s also one of our club GP races, which means more points!! I’m not in the running for a prize this year, but next year… well, we’ll see!

The event unfortunately clashed with the Great Scottish run, so for a race that is already quite small this had quite a big impact on numbers. Not that it bothered any of us. We’d all much prefer to be running round the beautiful countryside compared to through the centre of Glasgow with thousands of others! And this route was challenging to say the least so I knew I’d really have to push myself to get round comfortably – it was exactly one week after the Loch Ness Marathon and my legs still hadn’t fully forgiven me. Taking this factor into consideration, along with the fact the course was quite undulating I decided to go out steady and hopefully return somewhere in the next 3 hours!! My only aim was to try for a course PB as I had run this race the previous year and it had been my first half marathon in over a year, so marathon pain and fatigue were put to one side and my one goal for this race had been set.

Race morning came and the weather looked promising. Slightly drizzly but not windy so by my standards, pretty much perfect. I dropped Craig off at work and made my way down to Kirkintilloch to check in for the race. I think I was one of the first to arrive as the helpers were still setting up their table and trying to separate safety pins. I collected my number and pins and looked around for my timing chip (which we had been issued with the previous year) but couldn’t see any. I assume that because race numbers were so low this year they decided just to go with gun time. My team mates started to arrive and when they time came, we braved the cold and left our layers behind to head over to the starting line.

Looking lost on our way to the start line. It was early!  Photo - Susan Furmage
Looking lost on our way to the start line. It was early!
Photo – Susan Furmage

The race is in memory of Neil McCover who was a member and chairman of the Kirkintilloch Olympians, and is now in its 3rd year. It starts in the town of Kirkintilloch, follows the main road out to the East side of the town before heading into the hills, taking in the villages of Milton of Campsie, Lennoxtown, Torrance and Lenzie on its way back into Kirkintilloch again. We all congregated at the start line/area and a few words were had about the race and how it was a shame numbers were down this year. At least the race got to go ahead though as a few other small events around the country had unfortunately been cancelled through low interest. Such a shame when the giant corporate events take over. I’d much rather run a smaller, local, cheaper race any day! After posing for a few more photos, someone shouted 3-2-1… and we were off!

I think the WCH made up about 1/8 of the race numbers. Go us! Photo - Susan Furmage
I think the WCH made up about 1/8 of the race numbers. Go us!
Photo – Susan Furmage

The route is undulating throughout and my splits for the first few miles were as follows:
Mile 1 – 7:25
Mile 2 – 8:04
Mile 3 – 8:03
Mile 4 – 8:31

The roads out from Kirkintilloch take you up towards the Campsie hills and it is just stunning. My parents live just a bit further along the Campsies, so I told them I’d probably be passing through the nearest village to them at about 10am. I got the mile markers wrong in my head so actually passed through just before quarter to and unfortunately they weren’t there. Never mind, the marshals and local support the whole way around was fantastic! Even though we were well and truly into the hills I still felt pretty good. I kept reminding myself there was a nasty hill near 9 miles, so I had to keep something in the tank for then. I also kept thinking back to how I felt at this stage in the course last time round. What a difference a year makes, not just to fitness but also to my mental state of running. Last year I’d see a hill and convince myself there would be no way on earth I’d be able to run the whole thing, so I’d walk most of it instead. This year, even though my whole body was still drained from the week before, I wouldn’t let myself slow to a walk at all.

Mile 5 – 8:44
Mile 6 – 8:31
Mile 7 – 8:41
Mile 8 – 8:41

I was keeping a steady and comfortable race after setting off a bit too fast. I always seem to start way too quickly as I get swept along with the crowds and I need to learn to hold back for the first few miles. I knew from last year that this was a fast race for some, but I wasn’t letting that bother me or thinking that I’d have to keep up with anyone. This was just a race for myself and my enjoyment!
At 7 miles my mp3 player ran out of batteries. I knew I should have charged it the day before but I stupidly thought it’d have enough life left in it to last a couple of hours. From now until the finish line it was just my breathing and the sound of my feet hitting the tarmac that would get me round. That and the person who was running right behind me – I was determined not to let them overtake me!

Mile 9 – 8:41
Mile 10 – 9:20 (after the hill!)
Mile 11 – 8:36
Mile 12 – 8:54
Mile 13 – 8:20

As you reach the top of the hill, the road is long and flat and you have to cross over to the other side, but unfortunately it’s still open to traffic and quite busy. I kept looking back over my shoulder to try and see if it was clear, but it never was when I wanted to cross. I eventually had to slow down and cross in stages which made it hard to get going again. However, as I got to the end of the road and rounded the corner I almost ran straight into my parents who had driven up the road to try and find me at another point in the race. It was lovely to see them, even if for a split second and it made the next mile or so fly by. For some reason, I remember the road through Lenzie back into Kirkintilloch as flat and downhill. I used to run it all the time for school cross country and I do not remember it being so hilly in the middle! I struggled a lot at this point. I also nearly ran straight through and old woman as she walked right out in front of me at a bus stop and stopped in the middle of the pavement. I had the options of face planting into a bus stop, her or the back of the car she was walking over to. My arm caught the bus stop as I dodged round her at great speed and at this point I could have cried. I have no idea where the last of my energy had gone and I just wanted the race to be over. I came over the top of the last hill and caught sight of my coach Gordon who had sped round the race and got a P.B of 1:27 and was now coming back to cheer the rest of us in. All I could give back as he cheered me on was a feeble thumbs up and I trundled down the hill to the finish line.



I finished in a time of 1:50:36 which is just over 2 minutes outside my personal best and considering how tired I was and how hilly the course is, I’m pretty happy. I received my goody bag, which had a spot prize in it – a lovely aluminium drinking bottle. 2nd spot prize in 2 years. Not too shabby!

And now on to the Ultra. Which is in less than 3 weeks by the way……. :-/

Spring? Summer? Where are you?!

Busy, busy, busy. Work is really kicking me up the backside as I try to get yet another block of swimming lessons sorted in a very short period of time. However, after today we trudge on through the last 8 weeks of yet another block….. and then it’ll be the summer holidays?? Nah, that can’t be right. The trees aren’t even green yet! What’s going on this year?

Yet again, time is flying by and I was shocked to look at my calendar in work and see that April had whizzed past and we were into the second week of May already. I seem to have blinked and lost 3 whole weeks, yet in that time I have been unbelievably busy with work, running, family and everything else in between. Life really does seem to be in constant fast forward just now and this year has been the fastest so far. I think one of the main reasons I want time to slow down is because I’m heading for the big 3-0 this summer, but the less said about that the better thank you very much!

One of my big accomplishments in the past week, and something that can now be ticked off my to do list, was finally joining a running club. Something that I have wanted to do for many years but has always been put on the back burner with various excuses of working late, being knackered and mainly just being overly shy. But I did it! I went along on a lovely, if a bit windy, Tuesday night for my first session with The Wee County Harriers. Which just happened to be hill reps – oh joy! But I felt great and the people who I had been in contact with through facebook and email made me feel so welcome there. I really look forward to attending training after a hard day of working with screaming kids and to run off all the stresses of the day, and I can’t wait to go to my first race with them as part of a team. It’s the little things!

Speaking of running off the stresses of a hard day, it’s amazing how running can make you feel. It’s a release and an escape from all things that wind you up, get on your nerves or just make you want to scream. A long run with a beautiful backdrop can make you smile and forget anything that made you want to headbutt a brick wall. Last month marked the anniversary of a year of running ‘properly’ for me and as I look back I feel really proud of what I have achieved. Not only have I brought my 10k time down by near enough 10 minutes but I can now easily bash out a half marathon in a pretty respectable time and I have my sights set on bigger and better things. This time last year if you had asked me if I ever fancied running a marathon I would have laughed and said no chance. I had sworn off half marathons after my first attempt at Alloa in 2011 which killed my knees and made me ache all over and now a couple of years down the line I am happily considering running a marathon and then who knows what after that! A year of commitment and hard training for something I love and am really passionate about is paying off and after every run I feel stronger, and more determined to smash PB’s and set new goals for myself. This time a year ago I was happily entering races, just for the fun of entering them. I wasn’t expecting to beat anyone and was happily plodding along near the back of the pack. I can now happily place myself in the middle of a group of runners and know that I won’t be overtaken by near enough everyone within the first 10 minutes of a race. I don’t ever see myself being an amazing runner as I’m just not built that way, but for now I will do what I can to run to the best of my ability.

Saturday long run in the Scottish wilderness. Yes please!!
Saturday long run in the Scottish wilderness. Yes please!!

Speaking of runs that help you relax and release, I came across the most amazing trail run on Saturday. I went back up to Callander, where we ran the X 10K last month and set off from the woods along a single track road. The road was lovely and quiet and took me right along the shores of Loch Venachar. With very little traffic, I happily plodded along the side of the road one with ear phone in, hoping that no maniacs would fly down this road and have me jumping into a ditch.
It was beautiful and sunny to begin with but typical Scotland, a few miles in the heavens opened and I was drenched within minutes. Not that I was complaining, it was actually really refreshing. It was one of those runs where I had to stop to open and close gates, climb over stiles and hop over cattle grids to run through fields of Highland cows. It was glorious.

Loch Venachar
Loch Venachar
My hilly backdrop. One day I'll tackle hill running.... but not today...
My hilly backdrop. One day I’ll tackle hill running…. but not today…

And a couple of hours later I was back at my car having clocked up just over 15 miles. As I said earlier, once upon a time a marathon was something that not only did I never think I could manage, but never really appealed to me. I thought I’d get bored running for that length of time! But after 15 miles of scenic Scottish countryside, I could have gone further and my opinion of what I am capable of of may be changing….

15 miles and still more in my legs?? Nice one....
15 miles and still more in my legs?? Nice one….

We’ll see…. we will see….

Running on empty…

I have been meaning to update for a over a week now but things just keep getting in the way. The Easter holidays flew by and I was snowed under at work, stressing and worrying about the organising and planning of the new block of lessons, and now here we are, 2 weeks into the new block and time is just going too damn fast! My working days usually fly by from the minute I clock in to the minute I clock back out and by the time I get home and have my dinner I am already planning on going to bed! I am really appreciating the lighter evenings and they are really giving me the boost I need to get back out and clock up some miles but I have recently felt like it’s a real struggle to find the motivation and energy I need to get out there. Since the Edinburgh half two weeks ago I haven’t managed a run longer than 8 miles. By the time I finish teaching at 6pm I can’t describe how hungry I am, so dinner is always a priority as soon as I get in. I wait for a bit for dinner to digest and by the time I’m ready to head out for my run it’s pushing 8pm and I don’t want to head too far from home with the light fading…

Whining aside, it has been a great month for racing. The Edinburgh race really made me up my game and made me realise I was tougher than I thought when it comes to running in horrific weather conditions. And I think horizontal rain and 37mph winds count as slightly horrific!! Last weekend brought us the Callander X 10K and it was fabulous. Easily one of the most scenic races I have completed and a good challenging run too. It started at the bottom of a hill and after a minute or so of road running we turned sharply and started our ascent up a rather steep trail. It wasn’t a busy race but the trail was very narrow to begin with, so there was a bit of darting about through people trying to find a comfortable position in the pack. The race was described as 40% tarmac and 60% trails, and the first 2.5 kilometres were all off road, quite muddy and rather steep. I was glad I had swayed towards trail shoes for this particular race! I pushed really hard for the first section to try and get past people that by the time the second section of hills came I just felt useless. My run became a bit of a shuffle as the hills got steeper but before I knew it I could hear the piper at the summit of the hill and I was fast approaching 5km. The descent was amazing, I suddenly had the wind in my sails and I used the downwards slopes to make up for lost time on the way up. The trails were absolutely wonderful and with a snow capped Ben Ledi as a back drop I couldn’t help but smile as I speedily made my way back downhill and onto the roads. The road took us back up some serious hills and I could see the fast runners in the distance at the top of the hill and sighed as I realised I had to dig deep and push once more to get up to the top of this one. I was running low on energy by now as I’d really pushed to get my splits back down into single numbers after the last lot of hills so this next lot of hills wasn’t a welcome feature! By now we were about 7.5km in and I could see the trail leading back down into Callander so I just let my legs go and flew down the last lot of hills. I kept glancing back and could see Jemma in her bright Alloa half t shirt not far behind me and she is FAST coming down hills, so that also gave me the final push I needed to speed up. The last 2km were lovely and flat, following an old railway path back in Callander, crossing and old metal bridge and down a final slope back to the finish line. Done. The race wasn’t chip timed so going with my garmin I got 52:40 but my official race time was 53:04. However my garmin only registered 6.09miles, so not quite sure what happened there. But under 55 minutes for a tricky hill race will do me just fine!

Sunny 10k hill run, bbq and mugs. I'm happy!
Sunny 10k hill run, bbq and mugs. I’m happy!

My little brother had come along with Jemma so it was nice to have some support at the finish line and then once Jemma finished we all trotted off for a lovely burger from the BBQ the event organisers had put on for us. The weather was gorgeous throughout and I would highly recommend this race to anyone who loves trail running or just wants to give it a go! We got a goodie bag filled with tasty treats and also an amazing mug – as much as I love a medal, a mug is just as good as you  get to use it daily and with the amount of coffee I drink, this is definitely useful.

An awesome race memento.
An awesome race memento.

Although I feel like I have been running on empty, I have been working hard in the gym during my lunch break. When you finish work for the day, the last thing you want to do (well, me personally) is return to said place until the following day. I work in a sports centre and get the gym and classes for free, but I find myself unable to go back after I finish as 9 hours a day there is long enough!! I go to classes at weekends and I’m desperate to try out Metafit which has just been introduced to our timetable, so we’ll see how I get on with that along with my circuits on a Tuesday. During my lunch break I’m completing a weights circuit 2 days a week and a cardio/abs set on the other 2 days. I wish I could fit in a swim as well (seeing as I’m already in the pool for about 6 hours a day!) but there just aren’t enough hours in a day. Where does time go?! I’m also looking into joining my local running club, The Wee County Harriers. They train 2 evenings a week, starting from my workplace and also at the weekends so I just need a little confidence boost to go along and join them. That’s my one of my goals for this year, along with a 46:xx 10k time and a 1:45:xx half time. I think that’s just about feasible.

I ran another 2 races this weekend which were both awesome. Race reports will follow later this week!

Edinburgh Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon – RACE REPORT!

Official time: 1:53:49

Overall: 1181 out of 4361

Division: 51 out of 393

Gender: 273 out of 2269

It's glittery!!
It’s glittery!!

I had been looking forward to this event for months for a few reasons. I cannot lie, the main reason being the awesome medal, but also because it’s a much bigger and more structured event compared to the others I have taken part in this year. However from the minute I woke up and heard the wind howling outside I knew I was going to be in for a hard slog. I awoke before my alarm at 5am and after a bit of tossing and turning, trying to get back to sleep I eventually gave in and got up. Clearly it was even too early for my dog to as she was snoring away merrily and I had to prod her to get her up!! We went out for a short walk and by the time we got home we were both drenched. Not a good outlook for the upcoming race. Hoping it would clear by the time I got through to Edinburgh, I set about making my usual pre-race breakfast of porridge with banana and a few cups of strong coffee and I was ready to go.

I left slightly earlier than was necessary as I was worried about parking in Edinburgh due to all the road closures. However as I was so early I easily found a space in back road with time to spare for a quick trip to Tesco to stock up on bananas and Lucozade. Sitting in the car as I waited to head down to the start area, I started to worry a little about the race. The car physically shook with the strong winds and the rain was battering off the windscreen. I have had much more pleasant runs this year so far and I have always chosen to wear either long sleeves or a t-shirt, but idiot Iona chooses this one to debut her vest wearing for the year. Eeeek, this could have been a bad choice! But it was too late to worry now, so I packed what I needed in my backpack, braved the cold and took off my tracksuit bottoms, put my hood up and joined the hundreds of other runners making their way down to the starting area at Holyrood Park. I had plenty of layers on for now, but it was only a matter of time before I had to ditch them at the bag drop and make my way to the start line. The wind was fierce and the rain was driving into our faces but I was trying  not to let it get to me – I still had a good few hours of this by the looks of things! A few portaloos had already been blown over by this point which added to the already huge queues of people waiting to go one last time before the race and I needed to join them, not looking forward to the long wait, but luckily I found a short queue. It was then time to brave the cold and get ready so I dropped off my stuff at the bag drop and went to meet Jemma who had got the bus through from Glasgow. As we stood shivering at the starting area we once again wished we had remembered bin bags to wear up until we started – next time for sure! The race was delayed a few minutes at the start due to the weather causing problems on the course that had to be sorted, but not long after 9.15am the first wave were off! We were at the back of the third wave and soon as we were over the line we began to dodge people and try and get a good fast start. The road is pretty narrow for the first mile or so and we found ourselves dodging in and out of people to try and get through the crowds and set a sensible pace. By the time we rounded a corner and came up to 2 miles people had spaced out a bit and we were finally moving!

Soaked through and not even started. :(
Soaked through and not even started. 🙁

The first few miles flew by. The weather had eased up a bit but it was still pretty windy however this wasn’t dampening anyone’s spirits! There were live bands dotted about the course and despite the weather they carried on and boosted morale. The course was flat and fast until we got down to Portobello where side winds hit us hard for a shirt period of time. As we rounded a corner and progressed down to the promenade we had a sudden boost with tail winds and it was greatly appreciated! Miles 4, 5 & 6 saw us running through residential areas and back up towards the other side of Holyrood Park. The rain was still horrific and my feet were absolutely soaking but I wasn’t going to let this weather beat me.

Mile 1 – 8:16

Mile 2 – 7.48

Mile 3 – 8:06

Mile 4 – 8:20

Mile 5 – 8:45

Mile 6 – 9:01

At mile 6 we met the first of the hills. Not too steep, but it was a long one and my legs screamed at me. I took a gel about 6 miles in and instantly felt it in my legs – just the boost I needed. This is the first race in a long time I have completed without listening to music at all and it was really nice to have a chat with Jemma on the way around as well as listen to the bands and cheer on other runners! Miles 7 and 8 saw us coming into Holyrood Park and hitting another hill. With side winds. And rain that felt like it was stabbing me. Ouch. However what goes up must come down and we absolutely flew back down the other side! A combination of a descent and tail winds took our split down to a pace time of 7:06 at one point and we had to laugh – that was slower than some runners pace for the entire race!! As we headed out of Holyrood Park and back into the centre of Edinburgh I could hear the P.A on the other side of the park congratulating the runners who were just coming in to finish – Uhhh, I still had 4 and a bit miles to go!! Those people are crazy fast!! The next few miles were an uphill slog through the Cannongate and looping round past the Meadows and back past the University of Edinburgh. This was the toughest part of the race for me where my legs just wanted to give up on me. My breathing felt good, I felt strong on top and in my head I was desperate to push up that hill, but my legs were aching and my foot was giving me grief again. For a while the arch on my left foot has started to get sore after long road runs, (which is probably due to my crazy flat feet!) so I’m guessing it’s time to go and see someone about it. I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to things like that but if it’s going to affect my running, I’ll get to it pronto!

At the top of the hill we took a sharp right where a sudden gust of wind caught me and nearly took my feet out from under me. This seriously was the toughest race I have ever taken part in. I knew I wasn’t getting a pb from about 5 miles in, but I could probably get back in about 1:55 if I kept up my pace, which I’d still be really happy with! At mile 10 we were on a long flat road going through the Meadows and an American man on the pavement suddenly shouted loudly “3 miles to go, you’re 3 miles away from that pint!”. Unfortunately I had the car with me, so I couldn’t indulge after the race, but this comment really spurred me on again and I caught back up with Jemma, who had got away from me a little. I took another gel at 11 miles to get me up to the top of the last hill and then I was finish line bound! The course took another well appreciated down hill route and I used this as my launch pad to speed up for the last few miles. Through Princes Street Gardens, past Waverly station and plenty of cheering tourists and back down the Royal Mile towards the finish line. There were a couple of guys on microphones shouting everyone on at 12.4 miles and them reminding me I had less than a mile to go made me dig deep. Another amazing downhill stretch gave me another boost right to the final 0.1 of a mile where I pulled everything I had left together and tried for a sprint finish. It wasn’t the fastest but I did manage to get past a few people right up the line where I put on my biggest smile for my finishers photo.

Mile 7 –  9:23

Mile 8 – 8:44

Mile 9 – 9:06

Mile 10 – 9:23 (where my legs just said no!)

Mile 11 – 9:05

Mile 12 – 8:42

Mile 13 – 8:07

0.1 – .49.1

As I shuffled through the finishers area to collect my medal I suddenly felt elated. It wasn’t a pb and it wasn’t a comfortable run by any means, but I felt brilliant and it was another half marathon in the bag!

Then came the downside to the race. During the race the staff had to move all the bags due to high winds and the tents where we were meant to pick up our t-shirts had been taken down through fear of them blowing away. This meant instead of a very quick bag pick up and t-shirt grab we had to queue for our bags as very few staff ran in and out of the tents to get them. The queue was massive, no one quite knew where they should be standing and this lead to many people skipping the queue and others just being left baffled while trying their hardest not to blow away in their amazing silver space capes. I think if it hadn’t been for these capes my hands might have fallen off as after half an hour or so of waiting and shivering my finger tips turned completely white and lost all feeling. Not good! I had somehow come away with 2 space blankets, so I used the spare one to make a snazzy silver hand warmer and kept myself amused by jumping up and down and talking to people around me. EVENTUALLY (over an hour later!) we got our bags back, headed for the t-shirt queue and went to find somewhere to get a hot drink. I think that was the best cup of tea I have ever had.

The feeling has finally come back to my fingers.
The feeling has finally come back to my fingers.
Jemma and her fly away space cape!!! I was so thankful for these.
Jemma and her fly away space cape!!! I was so thankful for these.

All in all, I did enjoy this race. The weather put a bit of a downer on the event but you can’t help these things and I’m sure I’ll run other races in similar conditions – I do live in Scotland after all!