I don’t know what it was but I had a feeling the Inverness half marathon this year wouldn’t be as good as last years one. Be it less training by me, or me being in a bit of an uncertain time, or simply the weather conditions making it harder.
It was due to be cold and wet and windy… so I wasn’t really looking forward to it. But in an odd way, i wasn’t too nervous either. I took confidence that I’d done it before, and it was a good event and route and I really enjoyed it. Here’s what the weather forecast was the night before.
Sleet due after sun in the morning then cold and wind and rain. Lovely. I forgot to pack a buff and cap, so I knew that wasn’t the best prep but all of my other gear was spot on. Purple capris, a compression vest, yellow tshirt, yellow arms (like Mo Farah’s, but no where near as fast). My yellow nike gilet, and my water pack. I managed to borrow a buff from my friend and I needed it to shelter my face from the wind and rain and my neck from the wind and the cold.
I parked about a mile away and walked to the start. I’d had breakfast and a coffee, then just before I left, I had a small mars bar for energy and a sis caffeine shot (150mg caffeine). My water pack kept me nice and hydrated all the way through although I probably didn’t drink as much as I should have.
I got to the start line and heard the subtle tones of Bryan Burnett over the start line, along with the nice welcoming sound of the pipes playing. I got to the start line with about 5-10 minutes to spare, but the fast walk there warmed me up.
I spoke with they guy on the right of me in this picture, then before we knew it, we were off. Wind behind us for the first wee bit, j probably went off a bit fast, and noticed in the first mile or so that my heart rate went up pretty high compared to when I run races. I try to be a bit more conservative, HR 150-155, but it w as quickly up to 165.
I possibly started further forward than I should have, and I spent the first 4-5 miles being overtaken mostly. After a mile or so we were running into the wind and I was trying to use tall / wide men as wind breakers, or just men. It sometimes worked, and took my mind off how hard it was anyway.
This was me before the start, just getting there, then I didn’t take many photos on the run. Another thing that isn’t like me is that I didn’t talk to any other runners along the way. I find this tends to make the whole thing more enjoyable, but today I just wasn’t up for it.
I remembered the route from last year and my time in Inverness. I usually aim to have my heart rate average 165 in races and today I got it bang on, on average… and it leaking at 176. That’s working at average 95% of my max and peaking at 97% – 6 beats under my max… at the end.
Up to about mile 6, you’ll see from the numbers above that I was working pretty hard, but trying to ease off on the hills. 160-171… about 2 miles in I was wondering why the hell I’d entered. But by about 5 miles I was in it for the long haul.
Then the course went down a bit and flat, with a few more ups before doing down again to the river and leisure centre. The wind was pretty relentless, up until we got down the big hill at mile 9 and into mile 10 where the wind was behind us for a couple of miles.
At about mile 6 I felt strong, 10k in about 56 or 58 minutes, then I think the downhill and the wind behind me helped me get a negative split. About mile 8 I think I saw a nice wee old lady standing on her doorstep cheering everyone on very enthusiastically. I gave her a big wave and carried on. Past a school, it felt like the wind was never ending.
I’d had the caffeine shot an hour before I started, then a double espresso sis energy gel at the start line, and a cherry sis caffeine Energy gel about 6 miles in. 150 + 125 + 75mg caffeine = 300mg and I’d had enough.
11 miles in and about 2 miles to go, I was feeling good again. I ran next to a woman in orange who was clipping along at a nice pace, with a strong fast cadence. We silently ran together for about 1.5 miles. Usually I would chat and get her name, but I knew I wasn’t up to it.
With about a mile to go I knew I would probably finish in about 1:54… I kept running strong across the bridge, then ran back into the bl%$dy wind for the last mile or so. Aaahhhh. I’d over taken a few people, and then they over took me back. Half a mile to go and I was nearly there. Dire straits came on my headphones and I thought of my dad.
A quarter of a mile and my right hand started to go numb. The cold, plus tense arms…ouch. I moved my fingers a bit and focused on finishing strong. In the last wee bit I pushed strongly and overtook a couple of people before going onto the track to finish.
The Australian lady in my Garmin was telling me that my heart rate was 176 and I was glad I was about to finish. Some people flew
past me and I ran past a few others. Average heart rate on the last stretch was 175. 😳
Then I crossed the line in about 1:54:22, or 1:54:18 chip time. About 4 minutes slower than last year, but so much harder due to the weather, and maybe because of less training for it by me. It’s amazing how the conditions can change a run so much. All good anyway. I stuck with it and worked hard to do it and to finish.
When I stopped I felt a bit of a thing in my hamstring, but it was maybe just cold and a bit worn out. I stopped and said hello tot he woman in orange. She was called carol and she’d travelled from edinburgh. It was good to run the last couple of miles with her, even though it was silent. I also said hello to Bryan when he noticed me gubbed at the end.
My hair was a riot when I finished. Great fun, and next time I won’t forget my cap to keep the rain out of my eyes.
I got back to my friends house and got warmed up with a hot chocolate. I was feeling a bit sick after the run. It was about 4’c the whole way and it was probably a side effect of the cold. And my body working at 95% for almost 2 hours. Running can be hard work!
I do love how I can nail it exactly to my race plan – run on average with my heart rate at 165 and see what the result is.
I came in 890th overall, and 233rd woman. 134th in my category (918th overall) based on my chip time. A bit of a difference to last year where it was 650th / 135th / 75th / 654th.
I finally felt much better after that, I’d finally warmed up and felt a bit more recovered. T was an orange medal and T-shirt last year and this year it was a green medal and T-shirt. Here’s me at the end. Smiling, but not my happiest at the end of a race. We can’t win em all. 😉
Tonight my body doesn’t feel too sore. I oddly have a sore elbow and not so oddly a sore second toe. My neck and shoulders feel quite tense too. I’ll wait and see what happens tomorrow.
I’d really recommend this race to anyone, it’s a good, well organised race with just under 3,000 runners. A small but not too big field of runners and a good challenging route. 🙂
I’m away for a big sleep.