Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Stonehaven Half Marathon 2010

Sunday was the Stonehaven Half Marathon. It is our local race, run by our club and marshalled by lots of folk I know. I really look forward to it as I feel like I'm saying hya all the way through and waving all the time! I spent an hour the day before helping to make up the goody bags. My job was to put a banana in each bag - 400 odd in total.

Last year's race was run in extreme heat, probably the hottest day of the year and I wilted. Ran it in 1:58. So this year my targets were to beat that time and enjoy the race. And get some points in the club championship. The weather had been hot leading up to the day but as Sunday dawned we had a storm brewing. It was raining, muggy, and very windy. Not good conditions for spectating. Or for meeting up with Fetchies unfortunately. Sorry glypta, RedSquirrel, and sheri3004. Everyone was queuing for their numbers then sheltering in the pavillion. We did see Ultracat before the race and Bousn Tony in the distance.

This year Neil Easton from our club did the pre-race chat and was very good at it. I lined up with Jo, Nicola, and Nina from my club. Iain, Jonathan, and Richard were behind us. The first 4 miles of the race have some brutal hills and the first climb is up Belmont Brae, just round the corner from the start. George was there with words of encouragement, which was great. On Evan Street the hill is known as Beefy Brae and I was already feeling puffed out and hot so I followed Nicola's example and stripped off my helly hansen layer and flashed my bra at everyone. Ran with it tied round my waist for the rest of the race. Pretty soon Jo and Nicola left me behind but I stayed with Nina. I expected to be beaten by all three of them so I wasn't concerned.

Here are my splits:

8.14 7.47 8.28 9.49 7.41 7.39 8.43 8.09 7.37 7.45 8.25 7.30 7.45 1.22

I was very pleased with my pace for the first three miles despite the braes I was going quite fast for me! The 4th mile you will notice is a lot slower but that involves the steepest hill which I had already decided to walk up. So Nina overtook me as I walked up the hill. In the club championship that meant I was looking at 17 points which is one more that I got last year for this race so :-)

Got to the top of the Swanley Hill and heard the piper. Great feeling at that point as I knew that was the worst of it over and it was mostly downhill for the next 9 miles. I speeded up and overtook Nina on the downhill. I was feeling really good now with the wind helping me on. 5th mile was 7.41! Shocker! I was looking forward to seeing Annie's Fetchpoint by now at mile 7. She had promised jelly babies and balloons with Laurie's face on them. Big cheer from Annie and a couple of jelly babies, but the Laurie balloons had all burst :-(
Another good moment was turning on to the Slug Road for the last few miles back in to town. I always get a boost when we turn and head for home and it's also downhill which suits me. Mile 9 came and I saw Jo in the distance. I must admit I was spurred on with the thought of perhaps overtaking Jo. I managed to catch up with her just before the last big hill. So of course I walked again and she ran past me! We had a wee chat and both said we were knackered. At the top of the hill I picked up the pace and managed to catch Jo up again and ran for a bit using her as a wind-break. I felt I had a bit left in me and at the next downhill I decided to go for it and put on a burst of speed to overtake Jo and try and go for the finish. Of course I felt totally sick and had to keep saying to myself "just keep the legs moving". The wind was very strong in my face and at times I felt like it was going to blow me over. I managed to keep it up and did the last two miles in 7.30 and 7.45 which is totally unheard of for me! I thought I might get a PB which was so unexpected. Was great to be shouted over the line by George and Annie among others and I didn't even collapse at the end or throw up. Finish time was 1:46:58 a PB by 3 minutes!!! The chairs were a nice touch and I sat down to take my chip off. My parents had come to see me finish which is unusual for them. I congratulated Nicola on an excellent time of 1:44:06. Next cheered Jo over the line in 1:48:34 which was a PB too. Many folk from our club PBd including Conor and Mike who took quarter of an hour off or something! I was looking out for Iain and watching the clock. He really wanted to beat the 2 hour mark, and the clock went past it :-(. But then I saw him come storming in, no octogenarians in sight and he finished strongly. Later on we found out his chip time was 1:59:56 so he beat the 2 hours! Saw Jonathan and Jane too, both ran great races. It turned out that Jane had won the prize for her age cat but left before the presentation. Also Nicola won first local female prize (I think I was 2nd local female) and Iain Steel from our club won his age catagory and came 21st overall.

We walked home in the torrential rain to relieve Iain's Auntie from babysitting duties. Then we dropped the youngest off at my folks so we could take the older two swimming in the outdoor pool as we got free entry with our race numbers. There was a thunderstorm while we were in the pool and the wind was a bit cold but still good fun.

Lovely take-away pizza for tea then we were off out to the Marine for a few drinkies. Met up with lots of club folk and drank far too much gin and wine. Made it home by 11:20pm as ordered by the babysitters. All in all a very good day.

Thanks to all the organisers and marshals and I can't wait til next year! And Dave, Maz, and Laurie book your hols for a different time next year!

Click here for photos:

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