Great Scottish Run 2019

I wasn’t totally sure how the Great Scottish Run half marathon would go for me… for a couple of reasons…

1. I’d just had about 10 days off running… detraining as a result of being on holiday to Boston for 9 nights, and getting over jet lag at the start of the week. 2. I had run before that, and in the week leading up to the run, but I hadn’t often run on my own – so I had no idea what my natural pace was.

My Garmin was telling me I was ‘detrained’ when we were away, then with 4 runs last week, I was ‘maintaining’ and finally ‘productive’ up to race day. (Then yesterday’s effort tells me I pushed hard!).

I felt ok on my runs last week, and felt ready for the race… although my feet were a bit sore from walking between 20-24k a day in Boston. A good rest day on Saturday (and more or less rest on Wednesday), and before we knew it, it was race day.

We walked into town – just under 2 miles and put my bag onto the baggage bus. My 7th time doing the race, and it really is very well organised. Here’s me in my warm gear before walking in.

I went into the white section and Fit Girl went into the green section. Then the half hour wait for the start… I had a foil blanket to keep me warm, and I was in my shorts, black vest and black arm sleeves.

I chose to stand about in the middle of the white section…maybe I was a bit far forward, but anyone faster than me could over take me if they wanted. The warm up started, and as usual i didn’t really join in. I don’t know if it’s nerves or what… or like the old guy standing next to me (refusing to join in too) said to me – ‘I don’t see the point in wasting the energy, I need it all for the run’. Ha ha. I’ll use that from now on.

As I was standing waiting, a nice Garscube Harrier called Claire stood next to me and spoke to me. She recognised my name from the BBC run group… and we had a nice chat. She was aiming for 1:40 and I admitted I wasn’t sure what I’d do, but it wouldn’t be near that. I noted that the water stations were at 3,5,10 and 11.5 ish with a clif station at 8 miles.

Minutes before the start, as the elites were being announced, I realised my trekz headphones weren’t connected to my Garmin. A quick fiddle, and it was sorted. I was glad, as it’s good to get the heart rate and pace feedback from the watch as you go. I benefited from it the whole way around… keeping me on track with my race strategy… I go by heart rate and see what happens.

Up St VIncent Street and I unconsciously sort of kept pace with Claire… until she and her mate…. steadily pulled away from me. My heart rate was around 155 or so…and it was then that I decided I’d try to get it to 165 – 170, keep it there the whole way and see what happened. This is my way of pushing myself, but being careful not to push myself too much. It did go up to 175 near the end, but I tried to keep it between 165-170 for the most part.

I know the route well by now, and before I knew it I was running over the M8 flyover and feeling good… 5k in and I was about 23-24 minutes…and on and up towards St Andrews Drive. I took on some water, and kept the bottle to put in a bin. I’d taken a caffeine shot (175mg before we started) and I decided now would be a good time for a cherry caffeine gel…

4 miles in and I was doing well… up towards Pollok Park… the mile splits were ticking off under 8 min miles and my heart rate was as planned. Into Pollok Park and I got into a bit of banter with a guy in a blue top called Kevin… we’d started roughly together… and I could hear him making noises about the effort he was putting in. I joked with him that he had got cheered on along the route, and he retorted by saying he knew the hill was coming… I said something about it mostly being downhill apart from that. Two waters at the next stop.

4 miles in I thought I’d split it down to – 4 miles, 7 miles, 10 miles, 13.1 miles…

The forecast rain didn’t materialise and it was a pretty warm run the whole way. i usually run with a water pack as a safety blanket to make sure I drink enough, but I just made sure I drank along the way instead.

We got to half way in Pollok Park (going up the hill) and I clocked my time of about 52 mins. A quick calculation and I could be on for a (sort of unexpected) 1:44 half marathon. I figured the last half would be a bit slower, but I’d try to hang on in there. I took on a SIS pineapple gel (very tasty) and managed to throw it into a bin in Bella Park and get it in. I cheered my success at Kevin and then continued to have a conversation about him and I both having a good run.

About Bella, i noticed a runner, in black shorts and a vest that was camouflaged colours. She would be running on ahead of me, and then would walk… repeatedly. I clocked her name, and from then, I encouraged Maria to get running again. This happened repeatedly right until about a mile before the end… and it seemed to work. I’d catch her, and she was grateful for me giving her the nod to start running again.

In Bella I was handed to Clif gels…thick raspberry ones… I’d have preferred the bloks, but missed them. And i missed the water…as I didn’t realise it would be there. I tried the gel, but it was a bit thick, especially without water, so I threw them in a bin. (Pity I got two as I heard they ran out for runners at the back of the pack). On to 9 miles in and although my heart was feeling ok, ticking along at 165-170 beats… my legs and feet were starting to feel it.

9 miles into 10 along Paisley Road West and my calves were tightening up with slight cramp starting. I was still feeling good though, a bit like I was on autopilot cruising along. I saw a girl who looked like she was about to bonk, weaving along the road and notified a steward to help her.

I gratefully took a 500ml bottle of water from a small boy who seemed to be providing it from his parent’s shop… it was a bit hot, and I poured water on myself as well as drinking it. Left towards Festival Park… and I was grateful to see Susan with her bike, cheering me on. She said I was looking good… but I felt a bit like my legs were about to stop working or fall off… (I didn’t say that to her… but smiled and thanked her for being there anyway).

Along to the end of that road and I knew I had about 2 miles to go… one final push and I might make 1:45. I came across Maria again, outside the Village… encouraged her by saying, come on Maria, let’s go.. and she did. She got my name and thanked me again for the push, and I told her then that I expected her to beat me to the end.

I missed the shower just before the Squinty Bridge… but didn’t know it was there and didn’t have the energy to move over to it. Up and over the Squinty Bridge and I was counting down how far it was to go in my head. A quick bit of concentration to smile for the cameras at the end, and to take in the crowds there… before the last 1.5 miles to the end.

By this point my calves were screaming and give it another half mile and my right quad started to cease up a bit too. From about half way, my pace did drop, but my heart rate was still where I wanted it to be.

I went down to about 8:20 min miles, then pushed it and kept steady around 8:10 minute miles to the end. I chatted to a few more runners… and could see Kevin just ahead in blue. I was thinking I could maybe push it to get to him… but realised he was just too far ahead for me to push at this stage.

Then along the Broomielaw I passed Maria for the last time, as she stopped to stretch… I said I’d maybe see her at the end… under the bridge and through the smoke and loud music (who’s idea was smoke on a run?)… along the final stretch. I looked for messages of encouragement on the big wall, but none were there…:-(…

0.3 miles to go on my watch and I realised my Garmin was ahead of the route… pushing that last bit… I ran under the arch in Glasgow Green and my Garmin ticked off 13.1 in 1:45:27… that was me done… now I just needed to finish the race. Chip time was 1:46:52…

2024th across the line…
239th female across the line..
50th 35-39 female across the line.
Pleased with that effort.

I tried to smile for the cameras, but I doubt I mustered much of a smile… I crossed the finish line and kept walking slowly. Grateful it was over, and pleased I’d managed to keep going strong to the end.

Walking through the finisher bit I met the lovely Tania the Bella Harrier and had a good chat with her, and not so long after I met the amazing VIP Sandra Beattie, who was through from Edinburgh. We had a good chat and got some pics as we walked gingerly to the baggage buses to get our bags.

I went over to the P sign in the meet up stations…where I’d arranged to meet Fit Girl, and started my recovery. A recovery milkshake, and a tasty clif bar from the goody bag… I stretched, drank water and slowly put on more layers to keep warm.

When I was waiting there, Maria came up to meet her parents. And we had a little chat. She said it’s just how she runs…. she needs to walk, then run, but she really appreciated me getting her going again. Each to their own, and she got a great time considering she walked – at around 1:46 too.

Afterwards, Fit Girl and I walked (slowly) home and then went for a burger… this was a double American burger and chips (for me…soup for her)… but I was feeling a little nauseous by then… and that stayed the rest of the night. We had a wee hour nap to get over it… then a small dinner before an early night.

The next day and my calves are sore enough to impede walking… and my quads, abs, back and shoulders and neck are sore. I had RUNger most of the day, even with a steak and eggs breakfast… I’m going to take some rest after this. I know I need it.

I ran with my heart rate on average 165 or about 91% of max… and 175 max (97%). I noticed that I ran the Scottish Run last year, a second faster, but my heart rate then was 174 on average, and 199 max. So perhaps I’m fitter this year, perhaps the route was easier, or I nailed my strategy this year.

Whatever, I felt good throughout the run this year, and felt like I pushed it just right to get the best I could on the day. I’m pleased with how it went, my splits and how i felt up to the end. I’m not so pleased with the DOMs and after effects today, but it’s probably worth it. I’m just glad I had the day off work on Monday!

And… in other news… I helped coach some people to do the Berlin Marathon… Camilla and Fiona did their first marathon there on Sunday and Audrey and Nicola did it together yesterday too. (I hadn’t coached Audrey and Nicola this time around but kept in touch with them to see how their training was going.) They all did very well indeed. (As did LIv from work, well done Liv).

That’s me done three half marathons this year:
– Inverness in 1:54 (avg HR 165, max 176),
– Alloa in 1:48 (avg HR 162, max 178),
– Great Scottish Run in 1:45 (avg HR 165, max 175).

And I managed to run 70 miles in September… 710 miles for the year so far. If I want to get to 1,000 miles for the year I’ll need to do about 100 miles a month in October November and December and see if I get there … or not. At the moment my legs and feet are saying no way… but perhaps some rest will do them good.

Well done to everyone who was racing at the weekend. I hope you had fun and your legs aren’t as sore as my legs and body are today. Ha.

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