September saw the coming of my very first official half marathon. The Scottish Half is renowned for being fast and flat so I felt it was a good choice. It hindsight I guess I didn’t really consider the fact that because it was classed as fast, there would be a lot of widely experienced runners. I had a predicted time of just over 2hours and to be honest I was very surprised to be in the second last wave. But I guess that shows my inexperience at this.
It was a late start – 11am – and both my husband and I prefer a lot earlier. Still, given we are not well known for being early it gave us plenty time to get there. Impressively, we did actually get to the car park relatively punctual! We chose to park at the end and get the shuttle bus to the start as recommended. It was slowly getting warmer but we both had our meningitis race vests which are really thin and cooling. When we got to the start the queue for the toilets was huge so I joined straight away. I have absolutely no idea what was taking everyone so long to pee but the queue just wasn’t going down. I’ve read the same comments in several race reports too but no one seems to know the cause. This seemed to delay the start by a good 10 minutes.
We were both in the same wave as when I booked it the plan was my husband was going to stick with me and encourage me along. By the time the race came about I could comfortably run 13 miles and didn’t want to hold him back so off he went. What surprised me the most was the fact I wasn’t shaking, I wasn’t nervous, I genuinely felt fine. I think it was because he was there running too, it was a nice change.
1km in and my strava told me my split was 4m 59. Hold on that’s not right. My first split has always been around 4min. I didn’t feel I was going slower but clearly I was, ok, better focus a bit more. 3km in and, well there’s no other way to say it but, my pants started to fall down! How does that happen?? I kept pulling them up but they kept coming down. At one point they were as far down as they can go when wearing trousers so it must have looked like I had ‘pooped’ to everyone behind me! This made me really giggle though – what else could I do?!? I did think I would have to stop and remove them but a really hard yank had the situation corrected by 5km.
At about 8km the route turns back on itself so I kept to the side desperate to see the hubby go past. Thankfully he saw me and gave me a good wave – no point in shouting as we were both listening to music to keep us going.
I hadn’t looked at the route properly as I thought we were going down the promenade and had selected a play list to suit this. As it turned out my playlist was just awful. Another lesson learnt.
It was exhaustingly hot from 8km on and I have to admit I did struggle from about 10km onwards. I don’t know what it was but this race just didn’t feel right. It might have been the heat, it might have been my rubbish play list, I maybe even approached it just a little too cocky if I’m being honest, I just don’t know. What I do know is that my target of less than 2 hours was the hardest thing I’ve had to fight for in a long time. I barely made it. I even had to stop and seriously take a breath at the end. I did get the usual panic when I finished as I couldn’t find the husband so unfortunately that was still there, but in a way that actually felt good.
The aim was to raise funds and awareness for meningitis and I’m really pleased to say we did that! It felt good having my name on my top and strangers cheering me on – they honestly helped give me the push I needed. We had planned on doing the great Scottish run to see if I felt different on that one but I’m writing this from the side of my sons hospital bed. He has broken his leg so obviously I’m not going to leave him in 2 days time to run for 2 hours. He has, and always will, come first.
Next year though, Scottish Half, I will do better!