No, I’m not talking a ‘romance’ here. This race was most certainly not that. I’m talking a race I was keen to do last year but missed out on a place as I wasn’t quick enough to enter.
Loch Leven Half Marathon is on (my friends) door step. It is the Loch I tried to cycle around 2 years ago and was beaten by Joe …… who was running…..
Says it all about my fitness levels at that time.
FYI – I can comfortably hammer round on my bike in under an hour now. In wind, rain, sleet, mud and midges!
So when it appeared on the Road Runners Championship I was all over it like a swarm of midges. (Which is rather apt given how small I am ha ha).
I needed under 1hr 48 to hit my club standards too so it really was a ‘big’ race in my eyes. The only negatives were it’s not really flat with just a couple slight uphill sections, it was a week before Stirling Marathon so any feeling of, well, anything, I would have to pull the pace back, and there was a report of the dreaded Scottish midge biggest swarm ever at the very location of the race.
Full face buff and glasses it is then!
Registration was at the campus and there was about a mile walk to the start which was a good warm up. Naturally I needed the loo as soon as I got there and therefore missed the team photo.
There will forever be a blank space in my scrap book now.
We started and there was quite a crowd so there was a bit of a shuffle before I crossed the start line. I had chosen to wear a top under my running vest as it had been a heavy downpour on the drive through. I quickly realised this was a mistake and I should always stick with my vest and shorts! I had eaten my porridge, banana and energy bar before hand so at least some lessons are sinking in.
First few miles were ok and I felt good. Kenny had told me if the midges were out they would be at mile 5 but as it was raining we should be ok. Also, there was a slight hill at about mile 7/8 and the last mile was on the trail. I had cycled the route with Frazer a few weeks back (in my Wonder Woman leggings – obviously) so I knew roughly where I was going.
*complete lie, I could have been running my regular lunch time route and still had no clue
I had joked with another from the club who was marshalling that I may quit when I see him to which he replied ‘I won’t let you!’. He was at mile 3. I could see his point ha ha.
No midges at mile 5 thankfully thanks to the weather and true to form, I knew I was just past mile 7 when the route started going uphill. Kenny was bang on the money again. I felt like I was running quite good and managed up the hill ok. My watch told me I had slowed a little but I had missed one of my splits so couldn’t work out if my pace was still on or not. I think for the marathon I might right some times on my arm so I don’t forget them.
It wasn’t a closed road race and at one point a maroon car was right next to me for a good few hundred metres. I thought this was Frazer and Joe so eventually turned with a huge smile to say how much I was loving running 13.1 miles only to discover it was a scowling older woman clearly annoyed she couldn’t get past.
I read this as ‘I’m faster than a car’. Ha ha ha.
On to the trail near the end and in to the midges. No where near as bad as reported thanks to the weather (although definitely too hot for 2 tops I mean seriously Ella) and not the biting kind so really it was more of an annoyance than anything. I had another road runner in my sites for the last few miles and made a plan to keep her there to help me keep going. Trying to keep her in sight was what kept me going through this bit to be honest. I glanced at my watch and it was going to need some push if I was to make the 1hr 48. What the hell, I’m going for it. I tried to pick up the pace and on the final straight felt someone just behind me so pushed even more.
Finishing time – 1hr 48m 38secs.
God damn it.
On reflection all I can think is maybe I lost focus during mid race. Forgot I was aiming for a time and I should be pushing. 38 seconds is a hard pill to swallow but, it was still a PB of a full minute and 29 seconds! I’m happy with that.
A good chat with some other Road Runners at the end and then we went back to Frazers for a cup of tea. Oh, and I loved the commentators remark of ‘and here’s more Perth Road Runners coming in, there’s more of you than the midges!’ Ha ha ha
A great race and definitely one I would do again. And hopefully faster!