Sunday 13th March – the day of the Balloch to Clydebank half marathon. I’d been looking forward to it for a while. A chance to test out my pacing and energy plans for the marathon.
I slept maybe 8 hours before race day, and woke up half an hour earlier than I’d set my alarm. I got up and started to get ready.
Porridge, fresh orange for breakfast. Energy gels, caffeine (3) and normal (1), my water pack. My clothes to wear. My warm and dry clothes to change into. I wasn’t sure whether to take gloves but I decided since it was post snow / sleet and about 0-2’C I’d maybe wear them to start running with, then stow them somewhere.
About an hour before I drank a caffeine lucozade and half an hour before took a caffeine energy gel… Yehaa!! Shaking a little, I was raring to go.
I got a lift to Balloch and got there about 10 minutes before start time. Just enough time to nip in for a pee. I’d already been had numerous trips to the toilet, and this would be my final trip before the race started. Typical race nerves.
I did the usual, and somehow, managed to drop my gloves down the toilet pan!! Oops I thought! That’ll be the decision made as to whether I’ll be wearing gloves or not! Hopefully that would be the worst thing to happen to me today, and not a sign of what was to come during the race!
At the start I positioned myself quite far back, maybe in the middle somewhere, but not at the front. Mainly because it’s quite a small crowd of about 500 anyway so the faster ones would naturally pull away from me.
It was a little tight at the start but I still managed a good time for my first mile. I had my ipod in one ear, but kept the other ear to soak up the atmosphere and listen to anyone I might get chatting to.
Miles 1-7: 7.8 mph (7:40 min miles)
I was meant to be aiming for a paced start to the race.. 8:15 minute miles roughly…or maybe 8 minutes if I felt good. The first one (including the start) was 7:37. And they continued just like that around the 7:40 minute mile mark.
About mile 2 I noticed a girl who was going at a similar sort of pace as me. I ran behind her for a bit and noticed she was wearing the same trainers as me. I caugth up with her and complimented her on her nice trainers. She too had noticed I had the same trainers as her.
I ran with Kirsty for the first 7 miles or so. We had a good chat and got to know a bit about each other. She even had the same garmin as me, and is doing the migthy deerstalker next week so I let her know how bad it was for me and how she might make it bearable (have fun with others).
I took a caffeine gel at about 6 miles in, and ran comfortably with Kirsty and continued with 7:40 minute miles over the first hour. At 6.2 miles I noticed I was slightly ahead of where I had been last year at the same point.
I was a little put off as I was MEANT to be pacing this race and running the first part slower, but I thought maybe I still had enough in me to push and get a negative split. (last half faster than the first).
Miles 7-10: 8.0 mph (7:30 min miles)
At mile 7 I politely said to Kirsty that I was going to try and push the pace and she said she’d see me at the end. I powered on and for the next 3 miles managed between 7:23 – 7:35 minute miles. I felt comfortable and confident that I could hold the pace.
Becuase I’d held the pace back slightly, it so happened that I was steadily over taking people in the field who were not able to hold the pace they started out with.
That made me feel great. At about mile 9 I passed a girl I know who is a member of the Bellahouston Road Runners and a short while after I met a girl I ran with on the latter stages of the Glasgow Half Marathon when I was dressed as supergirl. I said hello, had a brief chat with her then powered on.
I tried to take an orange lucozade gel, with about 3 miles to go, but it tasted so horrible I put it in the nearest bin.
Miles 11 – 13: 8.0 mph (7:29 min miles)
Mile 11 is when you start to come into Clydebank and I still felt ok. I realised I would probably make a sub 1:40 half marathon the way I was going.
At just before the 12th mile you turn left off the main road and into a long road which ends up going through an industrial estate type thing. I remember the last mile lasting for ever last time.
And it did this time too. On and on and on and on…until finally you get to the bit where you turn right into the home straight. I was still running strong, but it was tough going.
I hadn’t crossed the finish line yet, but my garmin read 13.1 miles in 1:39:25.
With all of my slow marathon training my initial plan for this race was to just test out my pacing and energy, and not aim to beat my last years time.
At the end I met up with Kirsty again and congratulated her on a good run. I also met a guy, Paul who gave me his banana then realised that I was the author of this blog and he told me he writes skint running! It’s a small world and I’m sure I’ll see Paul again at the Lochaber Marathon in 4 weeks time!
It was a good day and a good run. After it I changed into warm dry clothes and came back home for a shower before lunch (baked potato and chilli) followed by a yummy strawberry milkshake – my reward (and protein) for beating my pb!
I’ll upload some Photos of me at the end later… (click the link for a facebook album)
Run: 13.1 miles, 1:39:25, Pace: 7:35, 7.9mph
Ave HR: 169 (89%), Max HR: 191 (101%)