Monday, 6 April 2009

Sir Chris Hoy Half Marathon

Strongish SW wind. Felt pretty good before the Sir Chris Hoy half marathon. Organisation felt a bit ropey at the beginning as we pushed our way with rising anxiety through crowds and crowds of people to find where the baggage was to be handed in. Despite the flyer saying that the baggage handover was on the map of Meadowbank it wasn't. Out on the track 2.15 runners were stood next to 1.30 runners, everyone was pointing in different directions. There were things being announced over the tannoy system but they weren't audible. Rumour spread through the crowd that we were to start off 15 minutes late. This was almost a relief as it wasn't clear how in god's name we could possibly get started from where we were. Nerves turned to shivers as the chill set in. We were piped off the track like haggises and the start order was in no way preserved, so despite having promised myself I was going to worm my way forward so as not to be unduly penalised by chip time vs. gun time I was well over a minute back. The start spread to me by rumour rather than through my senses so there was some delay in getting the Garmin on.

After that it was okay. Setting sail on a half marathon, wanting a pb with no real reason to expect one other than my endurance should be okay. I made up for a slow first mile (because I had to walk for a minute up to the line), with a couple of fasties...7.09, 7.13, well you never know, maybe a miracle had happened, oh it hadn't, 7.23, 7.29...and the race became increasingly hard going - the hardest part being that I knew at 10 miles we were going to turn into the wind and the real work was about to begin. Emily from club went by me and I tried to hang on to her but she was going well and I was now in more of a 7.30 groove and felt I'd be lucky to hang onto that (I would have been).

It was just as hard as I thought it might be turning into that wind at 10 miles. I tried to find a big back to hide behind but there seemed to be no middle ground between people who had slowed up and stopped trying and people who were running too quick for me. I found myself, as usual, in a windy no-man's-land. A man from Fife AC (looking at the results, could have been Grant Laycock, who I've often noticed in results runs similarly to me) was going at a workable pace and I sheltered behind him for a while and then thought I should take a turn ahead for a while, but when I did this he melted away. I oscillated between feeling good again ("Come on Mary, a quick last 3 miles and we're there") and feeling terrible (oops, 8.08 mile). I saw the Loch Ness Monster - I think a three man fancy dress effort - was well behind me, which reminded me that Richard had said at the beginning "make sure and beat the monster" which sounded a bit crude and I had tittered immaturely. I had beaten the monster anyway, could I do a new pb?, I couldn't. 1.39.12, not bad, 3rd fastest ever, died a death towards the end...

And then it was all over. Somewhat surprised to find I'd beaten my baggage so pulled on my new NB t-shirt to try and keep warm. A lot of Porties had done very well.

Peter had gone under 1.20 for the very first time. He was ebullient. The gloss came off this when he found on the results that he, with a good number of other people that we know, was not given a chip time separate from his gun time. It cost him 5 seconds and his sub 1.20 status and he felt sorely cheated.

We saw Chris Hoy hand out the prizes to some thin people ( he looked smaller in real life) and then walked to Portobello from Musselburgh to stretch our aching legs.

Today I'm thinking half marathons are just a fitness trial, they are not fun. Last night I couldn't get off to sleep and so I started to count half marathons I've done and I could think of 30. There are probably more...Looking forwards to Clachnaben at the weekend. Never done this one but its on the way up to my mum's. In a way its a pity its a championship race.

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